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Feb. 29, 2020

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One’s history will never be forgotten when it comes to the public

By , Columbian Editor
Published:
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Lou Brancaccio
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“It ain’t over till it’s over”

— Yogi Berra

I sometimes ponder if this wonderful quote from the former Yankee catcher applies — in any way — to the newspaper business. And in a way, it does.

But the quote would have to be altered.

“It ain’t ever over.”

Let’s examine a couple of recent news events:

On Friday the internationally infamous Bethany Storro was sentenced.

Storro’s story actually began eight months ago. The Columbian had a little item tucked inside our Clark County section about someone who apparently had some type of acid thrown in her face.

As is often the case, the initial information was sketchy. But it didn’t take long before our community was in an uproar because we believed some crazy person was throwing acid in people’s faces.

Later we questioned — in print — if she might have done it to herself. We were banged around pretty good for printing that story, but eventually Storro admitted to just that.

The stories continued — it was our view the public was very interested — but we began hearing from some readers that enough was enough.

So does today’s sentencing story end it? On Sunday, we’ll have a large package on the Storro case, including a huge amount of public records we obtained that you can see on our website. Will that be it?

• o o

A couple of weeks ago, state Rep. Jim Jacks suddenly resigned from his 49th District seat. No two-week notice, no “I ain’t running next time.”

He was just … gone.

Pretty strange. Citing personal reasons, he quickly clammed up.

Conservative commenters on our website and bloggers immediately began flinging around rumors as to why he quit. And for good measure — because The Columbian could not confirm why he had quit — they figured we were part of some conspiracy.

It’s silly talk, of course, but that’s what you sometimes get on the Web.

Conservative blogger Lew Waters was determined to show some sort of double standard by The Columbian when it comes to politicians doing stupid stuff.

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So Waters drags up a name from the past: former Republican state Rep. Richard Curtis.

Back in 2007, it was revealed that he dressed up in women’s clothing, had sex with some guy while he was on a business trip and … well, you get the picture. Eventually Curtis says his sex partner tried to shake him down, so he went to the police.

We reported all this, of course. And Waters essentially says “Hey, you did all this gunk on Curtis, dig up some gunk on Jacks.”

One small problem. There was a huge paper trail to support our stories on Curtis. There is no paper trail — not yet, at least — on anything untoward about Jacks’ sudden resignation.

And let’s not forget another little point. It was Curtis who filed the police report that began that paper trail!

And what’s all this mean? In case Curtis thought he had his little mess behind him … well, there’s always someone who is willing to bring the gunk back up again.

It ain’t ever over.

I should say that folks have a better shot at getting it closer to being over if they come out and talk to the public (most often through the press.)

So the more open Storro and Jacks are now, the better chance they’ll have of leading a normal life. Storro’s decision to give The Columbian an interview will help in this regard. Still, no one will ever outrun their history. Eventually, it will be ancient. But it ain’t going away.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.

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