Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bound to lose

A real estate agent called who was upset about Roger Clawson's column on the possibility of fire in the Emerald Hills. That's fine. I wasn't too crazy about the tone of the column myself, but Roger gets a lot of rope in my shop. She acknowledged that the fire danger is real but said that the column should have taken a positive and constructive approach.

Here's what bugged me: She said she would urge other real estate agents not to advertise in the Outpost. She herself has never, to my knowledge, run an ad in the Outpost, and she also said that she doesn't normally read it.

The Outpost, of course, runs many positive and constructive articles. To cite just one example, we run a weekly Calendar of Events, typically 4,000 to 6,000 words long, that is chock full of fund-raisers, benefits and nonprofit events. And we don't charge a nickel for it.

So here's a woman who ignores the Outpost when it publishes positive news. She reads it only when she can find something to be angry about, and she uses that anger to try to hurt our business.

So if we're positive, we lose. If we're negative, we lose. No wonder newspapers are in trouble.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

KILL THE MESSENGER! Good grief. I can't imagine anyone getting that hostile about a simple column! And the comments that followed! Sheesh! But Roger is dead on. Sure, you can live any damn place you please. But for cryin' out loud, don't come beggin at the public trough when you get burned out!...as is happening more and more as more outsiders move to Montana. People JUST DON'T GET IT! Recently, a guy who moved to Lincoln from California got ALL upset because a grizzly wandered through his yard. He was actually MAD at the Forest Service for not keeping their bears "under control". And how many pet Chihuahuas have been gobbled up by mountain lions! Hey, it's Montana. Nature happens! And as Roger rightly points out, sometimes nature takes a very unusual turn for the worse. The bad thing is that more and more firefighters are being hurt and killed trying to friggin' PROTECT these morons that build where they shouldn't! When I saw the pictures of the Storm King fire that killed a number of firefighters, I couldn't believe what I was seeing! This was not a "forest" fire that they were fighting! There was no forest in sight! It was trash! Scrub oak or some such! These firefighters were simply trying to protect the homes of some dumd rich morons who chose to build in scrub oak! It was not worth ONE life! Pretty damn sad, I'd say. They should'a just let that damn crap burn! These morons is Emerald Hills need to know that they are INDEED hillbillies, for they very well could be endangering the lives of people trying to save their homes where they never should have been built in the FIRST place! I say let'er burn! Try to stop it somewhere on the other side of the hills rather than risk someone's life! Hey, nature happens. And some of the respondents to Roger's column are full of "nature'! But please, NEVER silence Roger. When he's at the top of his game, he's the best!

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

Eric said...

I'm not sure what to think on this one.

First, I think you have little to lose there if the realtor doesn't advertise anyhow.

Second, if they don't advertise in your paper, it's their loss, since I've experimented with advertising, and I do sell product from the ads in the OUTPOST.

You don't get as good of results as brand X across the street, but you get results.

Third, I think your paper would be better off without Clawson. When I say I don't read his column, I mean it. I really don't.

Anonymous said...

OUCH! That hurt! Eric doesn't read Roger's column. That's kinda like Darrow's famous question to Bryan, "Do you think about the things that you DO think about"? But I forgot to mention that Roger's point about those propane tanks. I have seen the smaller version of those babies go, and buddy let me tell ya, if them thousand gallon tanks go up, it'll make Osama jealous! I can't even imagine. One time, I saw one blow when it was being used to fill hot air ballons. It was an incredible explosion!

LK

Mark T said...

I'm not talking about the Outpost, though I would be surprised if you were not intuitively aware of the attitudes of your major advertisers. But advertising does influence content. Time won't write about lung cancer and tobacco, newspapers won't write about used car salespeople, and I boubt very much teh Gazette would ever put up a piece critical of the real estate profession. And that's only the tip of the iceberg ... enjoy that metaphor while we still have icebergs!

Anonymous said...

Real Estate agents only care about their 6%. They are a leach on society.


Roger is right, Emerald Hills could go up like a roman candle anytime.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to wager that none of these real estate guys will tell prospective suckers...I mean, buyers, that they'll have to pay sky-high fire insurance rates to live in places like Emerald Hills.

Here in AZ, real estate agents aren't even required by law to tell buyers whether a gasoline pipeline runs through the property they want to buy. One such pipeline -- which was in the middle of nowhere when it was installed 40 years ago -- sprung a major leak a few years back. Right in the middle of a new luxury housing development just north of Tucson. Fortunately, the leak was caused by age, and not by a construction guy hitting it with a backhoe. The developer had no idea the pipeline was there either -- nobody had bothered to tell him before they sold the land to him for several times more than it was worth. But then, real estate scams here happen just about every day. Arizona's motto should be either "Caveat Emptor" ("Let the Buyer Beware") or "Carpe per Diem" ("Sieze the Meal Money").

Kirk Dooley, Mesa AZ

Anonymous said...

I ALWAYS read Mr. Clawson's column. He's a great writer; readers don't have to agree with him.

Chuck Rightmire said...

Sheeze, David, don't take realtors seriously. They think their job is to make money. If people want to live in Emerald Hills they do need to be warned. That place could be death trap in a minor fire for people whose homes are at the end of narrow roads winding through timber, even if they keep the timber away from their houses, and most don't cut enough. You've gotten rid of the only columnists not worth reading. Now if you would do something about some of your letter writers....

Anonymous said...

I really don't care about the realator and what she said. I do however care about what is said about the Emerald Hills residents. Sure, there is extreme fire danger, even at this very moment, but I will guarantee that they know this and don't walk around as if they don't. They even bought their houses knowing this....oh my gosh, they did have a clue when they did this. Most of the residents have taken as many precautions as they can, including cutting back dead timber, removing trees from the perimeters of their homes, installing the correct roofing materials, cutting grasses, installing extra water tanks and sprinkler systems to protect their property and others. Also, the fire department has had many meetings regarding fire safety and how to protect these wonderful homes. You complainers could only be so lucky to live in these homes. These people are not hillbillies. Many of them are prominent business owners and wonderful people that you should get to know before you label them. Or maybe you should just be labeled as an ignorant redneck if name calling is the idea of the day. Many of the Emerald Hills residents have far more education that many of the people in the Billings area and took this risk knowingly, just like everyone takes calculated risks just by getting in a car, flying in a plane, and walking across the street. If you think your house is safe just because you live in a horrible subdivision with your next door neighbor peering in your window because the house is built six feet from yours, you are mistaken. One lousy cigarette, a towel left on the stove, an oilcan in the garage, or careless kid with matches could take out your house as well. Your house is also at more risk of crime than any of theirs. At least the Emerald Hills residents have a great view, a low crime rate and great neighbors (that are not living on top of one another). Can you say that about your neighborhood? The people in Emerald Hills are not idiots and do not need to be thought of as such. If that is the case, Indian Cliffs and several subdivisions west of Billings need to be thought of in that same way. I don't see anyone calling them out. And by the way, if you smoke out in any of these areas or flick your ashes carelessly out of your car, you are the idiot that will be responsible for the ruining of many lives, not the residents themselves. They care about their homes and do everything they can to protect their livelyhoods.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should suggest she read this article.
http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/08/25/news/local/20-emerald_g.txt

Anonymous said...

The problem is that it's not just the Emerald Hills residents taking the risk. We all take the risk for them because we underwrite the risk they're taking through the insurance rates we pay. It's well known that people living in fire-prone areas do not pay the full cost of covering their own risk; rather, they pay a reduced rate courtesy of the larger insurance pool we all pay into. So when a big fire burns people out, as it just did in Emerald Hills, we all pay to rebuild their home in the same flammable area, so it can burn again, and we can foot the bill again.