Troubling Issues Raised by SFV JACL

November 20, 2015 • Columnists, Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Troubling Issues Raised by Pacific Citizen Articles, Oct. 16-19, 2015

After reading the several articles describing plans for a roll out of digital versions of the Pacific Citizen, some unresolved issues and questions came to my mind.  I’ve summarized my understanding of the issues and my thoughts below. At the risk of losing friends, I have deliberately used some provocative language in order to draw the attention that this subject deserves.

The roll-out of the digital version in May 2016 is apparently set in stone, although many chapters have problems with the delivering of issues to members without access to email.

  • An 8.5” x 11” layout is the most obvious layout choice for the new digital format of the P.C.  The digital version of the P.C. cannot be simply a PDF version of the 11” x 14” current P.C. layout, as that would be very difficult to read on a computer screen, much less on smaller devices.
  • According to the P.C. article, any need for hard copies of chapter members will be the responsibility of the chapter. In the page 4 article called “A Paper No More” by the P.C. staff, it states: Outlined procedures on delivering issues to members without access to email or the Internet will be discussed at a future time. At this time, it is understood that resources and expenses to print and mail PDF copies will be taken care of by individual JACL chapters. 
  • The words “. . . will be discussed at a future time” is an indication that no viable solution might be known at this time. Also, the tell-tale words of “it is understood” says to me that no one is to be held accountable for that onerous decision.
  • Furthermore, that statement “… At this time, it is understood that resources and expenses to print and mail PDF copies will be taken care of by individual JACL chapters” is the most inflammatory of all statements. I foresee this statement being the cause of a lot of frustration, anger and loss of membership if chapters have to find the manpower and labor and huge financial resources to take on this burden. In addition to the loss of membership, loss of board members and chapter leaders willing to serve might result.
  • A possible way out to prevent a revolt of chapter leaders and members might be to print the necessary hard copies for elders on 8.5” x 11” newsprint. The cost of printing on newsprint using new digital presses could be surprisingly low. These copies would then be mailed at bulk mail rates.
  • Because the digitizing project of the Pacific Citizen was done without transparency, nor consultation of the P.C. Editorial Board, and without consulting chapter presidents, it has the possibility on being noted in JACL history as the project that marred an otherwise proud list of accomplishments of the National Board under the astute leadership of President David Lin.
  • I propose that the issue of “hard copies for elder members” be entrusted upon a small team of three people, one from Southern California and others from the Midwest and East Coast. This team would study tradeoffs on how best to minimize needs for hard copies, how best to provide the hard copies needed and how best to eventually eliminate the need for the hard copies.

    Sincerely,
    Harold Kameya,
    SFV JACL President

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