Kevin and Lydia Moore’s letter to the editor of the San Jose Mercury News is in Thursday’s edition regarding their displeasure of being included in columnist Scott Herhold’s contest for blight in Silicon Valley. Cupertino Patch ran two articles ( and ) on the matter and received a slew of response from readers, most in support of the Moores.
Here are some of the comments about Herhold’s inclusion of the Moore family home that went up in flames on May 23, 2011, and his response to the family’s explanation of why the scorched remains of the house had not been demolished and a new home built in its place.
These comments are in reaction to the about Herhold’s column and contest:
“Boo to Scott Herhold! Hang in there Moores! It's unfair to pick on individual homeowners in tucked away neighborhoods, rather than sticking to business or government sites in prominent locations.” —Pam Marino
“But after 16 months of some effort by the owners, the city and the insurance company it still translates to a ‘blight’ for everyone else in the community. I hope the city is doing it's part to expedite the process where it gets involved but the owner and the insurance company are probably the gaiting people. After all, 16 months? A blight is a blight until it is no longer a blight. That said, I am not a fan of Scott Herhold and do not read his column.” —BobM
“I agree with you up to a point, Bob. I think when there's extenuating circumstances with a family the neighbors need to have a little more patience and compassion for fellow neighbors. I live near two homes that I began to refer to as "Winchester Mystery Houses" for how long they took to complete. I would have preferred they hurry up, but it's possible the homeowners were experiencing financial difficulties during this economic downturn. That aside, I certainly don't think private citizens should be picked on publicly by someone with a big bullhorn like a metropolitan newspaper column. Which is why I said he should stick to businesses or government agencies with blighted sites in prominent areas in full view of the community. And I include in ‘businesses’ out-of-town landlords who let homes slide because they won't spend the money to fix a place up.” —Pam Marino
“Perhaps if Mr. Herhold's column had been more about the challenges this family and others face when dealing with slow moving cities/companies, as well as personally while they wait to get resettled and deal with the personal losses, it would have been a more productive column in many ways.” —Robin
“There were two things in particular that stuck out for me; the photo was misleading. When you travel past the house you see the rooftop over the green fence, you do NOT see what was plastered on the front page. Second, he referred to the neighborhood as "upscale" which tells me he never saw the neighborhood. It's a perfectly lovely neighborhood, but compared to the others this neighborhood is modest.
And there was absolutely nothing that the Moore family hasn't tried to do to get this moving along faster. Wouldn't you do everything in your power to get back into your home after such a nightmare?” —Anne Ernst
“Anne, a couple of comments. First, someone had to nominate this property. You mention that ‘when you travel past’ the house you mostly see the green fence but it's neighbors are probably on a higher level, more in line with the original site level, and may well have a view over the fence, every day.
Second, you cannot judge his use of "upscale" because we don't know what kind of neighborhood he lives in and uses as a gauge.
And, I know some of the homes in the San Bruno fire are still in the process of rebuilding and that most of the delay has been with the insurance companies and PG&E' coverage. Having done a couple of remodeling projects in Cupertino (personal, not a contractor) I have found the city is seldom the gating party.” —BobM
“I'm with you, Anne. I don't think he visited the site, nor even performed a simple Google search. ‘Rose Blossom Drive Cupertino’ yields one of the first Patch stories about the fire and the family.” —Pam Marino
“Mr. Herhold should get into his car or get on a bus and come to Sunnyvale and checkout our great Town Center. We've been dealing with that far longer than one year.” —Nancy
(To see all the comments click .)
The following comments are in reaction to the Herhold’s response to the Moore’s email to him with their explanation:
“Lame. That is my response to Herhold's response. ‘Sorry, 16 months is an awfully long time.’ The insensitivity is astounding.” —Pam Marino
“I agree. It is not very believable apology. I don't get the sense that he really understands the insult to injury that he has placed on this family. It may have not been his intention to kick them when they were down, but he did! Yes, 16 months is a long time. It is even longer when you are the one without a home!” —Gail Nordby
“Gail, I think you hit the nail on the head when you say "It is even longer when you are the one without a home!" The Moores would have liked to be back in their own home long before now. I think their question to Herhold about putting a San Bruno house on his list was a good point, too. Nobody would think of doing that.” —Anne Ernst
“The San Bruno point was excellent.” —Pam Marino
“This was a real miss by Scott Herhold and the Mercury News. I wonder, has Scott suffered a loss as severe as this and if he did, how would he have felt if someone had printed his suffering as playful fodder for others entertainment.
Besides, assuming that you have any idea what is going on it someone else's life and that you can sit in judgment AND publish their life without their input.
I was subscribing to the San Jose Mercury News online and reading it with my iPad. This has finally but me over the edge. I will now subscribe to the Post or the Times and get my local news from Patch.” —Susanne Millar
“This kind of journalism seems to indicate that the Mercury is desperately struggling to create more news due to the lack of noteworthy local news they can report. What Scott Herhold failed to do as a journalist is to verify the accuracy of his story? This would have been as simple as contacting and talking to the Moores first. To accuse a family, who has had a string of bad luck and is doing the best they can to deal with the situation, of being a blight to their community without investigating the story behind his claim is irresponsible. Scott should know better. So what does this say about the Mercury News? Shouldn't they be responsible for the quality or lack of journalistic quality coming from their employees.” —Frank Geefay
“Good points, Frank. It's disingenuous for Herhold to say that he wasn't trying to blame anyone. If you accuse someone's property of being one of the top blights in the community, you are assigning blame to the owners for either creating or allowing the blight to go on. "You let it go on for 16 months, but I'm not blaming anyone." —Pam Marino
“It's very hard to retract or correct a story once it has been published. The Moores have been unjustly vilified and the Mercury News has not even attempted to detract this story. Scott Herhold’s explanation of this mistake is much more than lame; it's a justification of his irresponsibility actions. There is not a hint of apology or regret… embarrassment perhaps?” —Frank Geefay”
“The Mercury News' subscribers need to be made aware of this ham-handed story. I hope the Moores submit their letter and Herhold's dimwitted response to the Letters to the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.” —Susan
“Susan, the Moores did submit that letter to the Merc. They were told it would run in Thursday's paper. They also received an apology from someone other than Herhold I was told.” —Anne Ernst
“Thanks, Anne. I'm glad someone over there had the decency to apologize. Sounds like the contest might be ending with a loser (Herhold) instead of a winner.” —Susan
“Well, at ONE time Herhold may have been a columnist that I would have been interested or cared about what he had to say, but now that I know that he's insensitive, has poor judgment, lacks common sense, integrity and humanity, I honestly don't care what he has to say. Any byline from Herhold will definitely be passed up by me as I already know it's not worthy reading.” —ElaineY
“Herhold's reply is pathetic and insufficient—it makes me almost as angry as his initial article. He was so off-base to begin with—how dare he right about a family's home in the way he did? I'm so glad Lydia and Kevin wrote back to him—but then to get THAT reply? I am beyond disappointed in the SJ Mercury News for allowing this to unfold. I'm glad someone apologized to the Moores and I hope the paper holds Herhold responsible for his extremely irresponsible article and that a genuine public apology from the paper is provided for all to read.” —Paula
(To see all the comments click .)
Editor’s note: Minor editing to correct for typos was done to the comments.