I am enclosing a copy of my letter to the Assembly Judiciary Committee generally in opposition to AB 642 now before that committee. AB 642 would allow an exclusively web-based publication, with a staff of one spending time in Idyllwild, to qualify as a newspaper of general circulation in competition with you.
I have always appreciated the convenience of local newspapers for publication of notices and the many benefits they have provided. I am particularly mindful of the work [that] your staff did to locate your old obituary notice regarding Kurt Fast, pulished in 1971 by your newspaper. Finding that notice saved the Estate of Marie Fast, who died in December 2005 after many years of residency in Idyllwild, a signifcant amount of time and effort to establish the date and place of Kurt Fast’s death.
Though it seems that written work is migrating to Internet medium and storage, nothing will ever match the power of the paper-printed word.
Editor’s note: Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Bell) introduced AB 642 during this session of the California legislature. It would permit an online-only publication to become an adjudicated newspaper of general circulation, allowing it to publish public and legal notices.
Patterned after existing law which sets forth the standards for printed newspapers to become adjudicated, AB 642 omits essential criteria required for printed newspapers that, taken together, certify that a newspaper is established as a trusted source of news and information in the community.
Rendon has withdrawn his proposal for this year, but it can be reconsidered in January 2014.
Mr. Wickham’s letter to the Assembly Judiciary Committee can be read by clicking here.