Town Crier Co-Founder Ernie Maxwell died in 1994. He was an editor, an artist and, truly, an activist. When someone throws Emax in my face as producing the kind of newspaper Idyllwild needs to return to, I can see and hear him giving a chortle. Usually that someone never knew Ernie nor lived here during his newspaper ownership, which ended in the 1970s.

After the most recent Pine Cove Water District meeting where hypocrisy prevailed (read your own conflicts of interest policy, PCWD officials and customers), it’s time to remind people again about the newspaperman Ernie Maxwell. 

This was published in the TC on Nov. 21, 2013, the year Jack and I bought the TC. (And for those of you who don’t know, I had retired from the TC as publisher-editor in November 2009 after working under three ownerships for more than 20 years):

Some folk feel the Town Crier should not report or discuss any controversies that might present anything other than a purely positive image. We’ve even heard some say, essentially, “Why report on negative stuff? Ernie Maxwell didn’t do that when he owned the paper. Why do you think you have to?”

Well, just for the record, here’s an interesting piece written by the great man himself:

“When TOWN CRIER was a toddler his world was pleasant. Folks seemed happy to encourage his growth and forward his community purpose. As time went on, and he began to assume more mature responsibility, some folks became restless and displeased. He soon discovered that taking a stand FOR anything was interpreted as a strictly personal issue by those who were agin it. But at whatever cost, he has gone to bat for those issues that seemed in the best interests of ALL the people of the community. He has lost support among those who believe safety lies in the Eternal Neutral — but he has gained the more substantial support of property owners whose interest in community welfare reaches beyond personal benefit. For these he is grateful.

“Despite these high-sounding phrases, TOWN CRIER makes mistakes just like everybody else — and expects to continue to ‘err’ his share as time goes on. One thing his readers can count on is a candid appraisal and presentation of the projects he reports.

“And that’s the story to date. What 1949 holds is anybody’s guess, but TOWN CRIER starts out on his third year, grateful for his friends, strengthened by his adversaries, and thankful that in this topsy-turvy world, he is at least still able to navigate.” (Ernie Maxwell, Idyllwild Town Crier, Oct. 30, 1948.)

Thank you, Ernie.