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Update: Castro Valley Forum Discontinues Facebook Page After Reader's Complaint to Editor

An uproar of upset Castro Valley Forum fans react to the local paper's Facebook page being discontinued after a reader complained to the editor about content posted on the site.

Updated Thursday Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Castro Valley Forum announced on its Facebook page that it would discontinue the site due to a complaint a reader made to the editor regarding its content.

Within an hour of the posting, more than 100 upset users commented. Many said they were shocked over editor Fred Zehnder's decision to take down the site due to the complaint made by one person.

It was also announced that reporter Robert Souza "would continue to feature the same hometown themes, discussions, topics and photos" on a new Facebook page unaffiliated with the Castro Valley Forum.

Readers immediately fired their questions, comments and concerns on the new page, Castro Valley News.

Souza responded by saying "a fan objected to a post regarding the gentleman on the segueway—and felt compelled to complain to our editor—who requested the site be pulled."

Zehnder was unavailable for comment.

Rochelle Doss, the reader who e-mailed her complaint to Zehnder, had never commented on the Castro Valley Forum page before, according to Souza's Facebook response.

In effort to try and resurrect the former Castro Valley Forum Facebook page, readers created the Occupy the CV Forum: Save the CV Forum FB Page!.

Doss posted a comment on the page in response to the whole situation:

Nobody has heard back from the Editor. Including the person who made the complaint that caused all of this. I should know because I wrote "the letter". If anybody is interested in reading my "all powerful" complaint to the editor, I am happy to share. Frankly, I don't care for the fact that the CV forum editor is using me and my letter as his scapegoat. I wrote a letter because I saw content posted by the Forum I disagreed with, so I said something! I also wrote a complaint letter to Waste Management that night (I haven't heard back from them either). I didn't make any demands or threats,I exercised my right to free speech and made a complaint. I think removing the FB page was an inappropriate response by the editor. There is one person who had the power to pull the plug on the page, and it was not the person who had one complaint! I am not a community activist, but I am very active in my community. I love living in Castro Valley and am really sad and "dislike" that all of this has happened.

She shared the e-mail she had sent to Zehnder on Occupy the CV Forum: Save the CV Forum FB Page! a few posts later.

She told Patch on Thursday that she made no threats about taking legal action against the publication. Doss said she also did not intend to shut the site down with her complaint.

"Honestly, I thought it would go ignored," she said. "I am quite disappointed they pulled the page."

However, she said she stands by her opinion about the "segway post." Doss interpreted it as a form of gossip for singling out an individual "without him knowing what was being said about him — good or bad," she said.

The former Castro Valley Forum Facebook site had more than 1,800 user "likes," as of Wednesday afternoon before shutting down.

By 1 p.m., users no longer could access the Facebook page, despite the announcement saying it would be discontinued in a few days.

Castro Valley Patch will update this story as more information is made available.

Catalina Garcia Quick December 13, 2011 at 11:14 PM
to be clear - from what I understand from the site moderator - it was a FAN - singular - not fanS.
Rachel Bradley-Gomez December 13, 2011 at 11:36 PM
That must have been one squeaky wheel of a fan to drown out the other 1000+ voices. Perhaps there was money at stake in the form of litigious whisperings. Either way, I cannot endorse nor lend my eyes to such a publication which clearly lacks spinal fortitude. The Forum is trapped in an Orwell novel where news can never be raw or compelling, but must only be delivered, finely manipulated, and edited with the purpose of being delicate and non-offensive to the sensibilities.... of an almighty one.
Gale Rhoades December 13, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Do I understand correctly: a single person complained about content on the CV Forum's Facebook site so the editor of the CV Forum ordered it closed down???? To comments (questions) from me: 1. What gives a single visitor the right to force closure of the site? ONE person's opinion overrules the opinions of several HUNDRED people -- in a democracy? 2. Have we lost yet another Constitutionally granted right -- that of free speech?
Alex McMurray December 14, 2011 at 12:14 AM
I also commented on the FB page. The article was about a guy who rides a Segway (not segue - hello!) and how he's been spotted "ripping down garage sale signs" in town. Turns out he's a well-liked math teacher at Moreau and the reader questioned the posting as being gossipy instead of newsworthy. Others objected to her characterizing the posting as gossip, but in her defense, the Forum never addressed their allegation that this individual is "ripping down garage sale signs." So that's what I posted. The fact that 8 hours later the site is down is hilarious if you ask me. Anyhow, to the comment you received about "What gives a single visitor the right to force closure of the site?" I would simply say that the visitor could not have the site closed down. The site administrator chose to shut the site down. It would be better to find out why the Forum chose to shut down its 1,800-people "liked" page. Clearly there is more to the story. In any event, the story would have been cool, probably, if it were just about who this guy riding the Segway in town is. When it became about how he is "ripping down signs" it took a turn in the wrong direction. That was in poor taste, if you ask me. Maybe put someone else in charge of the Forum's FB page. Later!
David Ross December 14, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Unfortunately, in today's world it takes only a very small number of people, even just 1 as in this case, to ruin it for everybody else. Who do we have to blame for this? Lawyers! People such as politicians, company presidents, and the CV Forum editor are afraid of suits by people who are offended and take their pettiness to lawyers. Another source of blame? People who are easily offended.It's that selfish "it's all about me" that many people have. Look at the occupy Oakland fools. Because they (a very small minority) don't like something they say it is okay for them to force their well on others. Look at all of the truckers who lost a day of pay because of these selfish people.
Ken Martin December 14, 2011 at 01:05 AM
One of the reasons that I quit writing "CV Sidetrips" is that Fred Zender wussed out and refused to print the last two columns I submitted. One was critical of the care that I received in the hospital emergency room and the other was very complimentary to a local restaurant. Both were based on my personal experiences and were factual. Apparently he was afraid they would offend some one. Something changed, because in the past he published some of my columns that were critical of situations in Castro Valley. He must have gotten his fingers burned somewhere. Eliminating a feature because one (1) person complains is the ultimate wussiness. Shame on Fred!!
Ken Martin December 14, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Sorry for the misspelling. Fred's last name is Zehnder.
Ken Martin December 14, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Sorry for the misspelling. Fred's last name is Zehnder.
David Ross December 14, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Why don't you post those articles, even if they are older, here on the Patch. To be brutally honest, the CV Forum went down the hill when it was purchased by the San Leandro paper (Times?). I read the most of the first page articles, glace through the rest of it until I get to the letters section and the (often missing) question of the week.
Norma Kvool December 14, 2011 at 02:28 AM
I agree with all the above comments: One person should not have the power to "shut down" a public forum as well as have that much infulence over the CASTRO VALLEY Forum. I've always enjoyed our local paper, but had noticed lately that it was thinner and lacks enough interesting articles to spend more than 10 minutes "reading" it. Mr. Martin, it also disturbs me that your articles were sensored because "they might offend SOMEONE". Almost everything you read now days could offend someone if you want to interpret it that way. If someone doesn't like the tone of an article...stop reading it and turn the page. What has happened to freedom of speech?
Heather Mellon December 14, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Ken, I agree with David, those articles would make great blog posts!
Ron Bronstein December 14, 2011 at 06:31 AM
Sounds like the editor was getting tired of the job.
Ken Martin December 14, 2011 at 06:35 AM
Fred Zehnder, the owner, is the editor.
Ron Bronstein December 14, 2011 at 06:56 AM
Could be he didn't have the time to put into something he wasn't getting a thrill out of. (Speculative for sure).
Thomas December 14, 2011 at 11:56 AM
ALL of the COMMENTS on this blog, truth-cv.blogspot.com were promulgated by a reporter for the Castro Valley Forum who masqueraded as cvprotector, Emma, Jeff and anonymous. This impostor has never commented using his real identity. Are not reporters obligated to present facts? truth-cv.blogspot.com
Norma Kvool December 14, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Yes, it would have been a "cool story" if it only focused on "a man riding a Segway", but I'm curious if he was "ripping down garage sale signs". Was he cleaning up OLD signs or new ones prior to garage sale dates? To the best of my knowledge there is no ordinance against posting temporary signs in CV. I have had several garage/block sales...post the signs and take them down as soon as the sale is over as do MOST CV residents. We take pride in our community. Which was it? Cleaning up clutter or destroying others property? I guess the owner/editor of the Forum does have the right to cancel a Facebook page, but to do it because of the complaint of one person is pretty cowardly. What did that person threaten to do to the editor if he didn't stay off Facebook? If a posting on Facebook is inappropriate, it can be reported to Facebook and they will remove it.
Rob Phillips December 14, 2011 at 05:29 PM
I am dismayed that it finally took a comment from Alex McMurry for me to be able to understand what this story was about. Analisa, please don't assume that everybody here reads the CV Forum and follows it on Facebook. Don't start a story in the middle without the proper backround and context for us all to understand what's going on. That being said, there are a lot of garage sale signs left up after the weekend that people don't bother to take down once their sale is over. They are an eyesore and I applaud anyone who takes the time and effort to remove them, regardless of the method of transportation they use to get around town. This story is textbook "local news" and could be used as an example in any dictionary that lists "local news" as a word or phrase. Fred Zehnder can do what he pleases. Until you have walked in the shoes of a local paper editor, you can't appreciate what he deals with. But his missteps are the Patch's gain, and the Patch is the future.
David Ross December 14, 2011 at 07:23 PM
Except for politicians during certain periods, the posting of signs, including garage sales, on public property such as poles, fences, etc., is illegal. Personally, I have no problem with the posting of the signs. I do not like them to be posted and then left there forever.
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) December 14, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Robert, appreciate your input.
Ken Martin December 15, 2011 at 12:29 AM
I submitted a blog a few months ago regarding garage sale signs that were not removed after the sale is over. I'm sure it is still accessible in Patch somewhere. If the signs have addresses on them, I have a delivery service. I take them right to the owner. David, if you're interested in reading them, all of my "CV Sidetrips" columns can be found at www.cvsidetrips.com., including the ones that were refused. There is over 100 of them in there. Oddly, even though Fred Zehnder once told me that my columns were among the most widely read items in the paper, he eventually seemed rekuctant to publish them. Equally odd is the fact that I haven't written a column in almost two years, I constantly still have people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoy reading my stuff. I guess even minor fame is enduring!
David Ross December 15, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Thanks, Ken. I've already started reading them. Are you going to give us more information about you and the sidetrips? I'm sorry but I don't read lorem curabitur felis erat, tempus :)
Mary December 15, 2011 at 02:12 AM
That is sad. I loved reading your columns!
Mary December 15, 2011 at 02:13 AM
Motive for this message ?????
Ken Martin December 15, 2011 at 02:27 AM
My son is in the process of translating everything to English. Should be OK soon. Thanks for your interest.
Ken Martin December 15, 2011 at 02:27 AM
My son is in the process of translating everything to English. Should be OK soon. Thanks for your interest.
Mac McCarthy December 15, 2011 at 05:30 AM
First, this would have been a better article if it actually explained what the article had been about, and what the complainer complained about. Second, it looks to me like the editor has gotten tired of being shot at, and just took down the FB page as an overreaction. (The complaining letter-writer says she didn't expect that or ask for that or want that.)
Thomas December 16, 2011 at 05:12 AM
Note: I posted this at ““Castro Valley News” prior this post. As predicted, it was deleted and I was blocked from posting again. This in answer to a question by ‘Mary’ who asked me why I posted a comment associated with the CV Patch’s story about the CV Forum’s Facebook page being taken down. Mary, have you perused truth-cv.blogspot.com and read the words and posts of Robert Souza, who is a reporter for the CV Forum? I have a strong opinion that I was responsible for him being fired for a short time as a reporter for the CV Forum. I notified the owners of the CV Forum of the content on his Myspace page, content unbecoming of a member of the Fourth Estate. All documented at truth-cv.blogspot.com in Mr. Souza’s own words. I could go on forever about the lies and perfidy he undertook to distance himself from his own folly. Mr. Souza undertook damage control in the most despicable manner possible. He disavowed he had anything to do with HIS Myspace page AND put the blame on a co-worker. He posted a comment, as Emma, the person he accused of all the posts that HE made at HIS Myspace page. In the comment, Emma/ Actually Mr. Souza, made this comment: Why can't you respond to any of these comments? Do you fear exposure to the truth that you've tried to destroy the community paper and the reputation of a good reporter? Shame on you! Due to space limitations: End of Part One.
Thomas December 16, 2011 at 05:16 AM
Part Two, beginning: Mr. Souza unequivocally stated, that Emma Krasov, a reporter and co-worker at the Castro Valley Forum concocted my blog, http://truth-cv.blogspot.com/ Mr. Souza also referred to Emma Krasov as a 'hack "ARTS" writer' and referred to Jeff Torres as, 'an even worse former "SPORTS" writer.' Mr. Souza concluded his unfounded tirade by stating that, Ms. Krasov and Mr. Torres, "combined could not write their way out of a wet paper bag!" It is my opinion that Mr. Souza made all of the comments at my blog to divert public opinion of him as a liar, fraud and phony because he really feared he would lose his job at the CV Forum. What Mr. Souza did not know then and will only find out when he reads this, is that I had no intention of making my blog at truth-cv.blogspot.com public or notifying other than those he worked with and the owners of the CV forum. Mary, you asked my motive. I did not appreciate being branded a liar by Mr. Souza when all I did was put up what he had written or posted on his Myspace page. Instead of asking me why, ask Mr. Souza why he won’t admit his lies and own up to what he posted on his Myspace page, and apologize to me and Emma Krasov and the others he maligned on his Myspace page. May we hear from you, Mr. Souza? Today, December 15, 2011, is the anniversary of the First Amendment to the Constitution. I find it fitting that on this day I am able to use this forum to speak freely and not be censored. End of part two
Jodie December 22, 2011 at 06:49 PM
If she wasn't asking for that to happen, then why complain? She expected it to be ignored?!? Why complain. People complain just to complain. All she simply had to do was unfollow the page. I think the forum over reacted but he probably gets nonsense complaints constantly by people with nothing better to do. Anybody would be frustrated after awhile.
Jeff Torres June 05, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Excuse me.... I think there were a number of very well written articles after the paper was purchased by Fred Zehnder

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