You've got to admit, the name sounds good. And the subheading is even better - "News and opinion from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania." There's definitely room for something like that, staffed by citizen journalists. Maybe I could find an article about the Lehigh Valley's homeless problem or how recent LANTA rate increases will hurt the disabled. Most LEPOCO members are brilliant and well-spoken, so we could look forward to articles promoting light rail or condemning the way undocumented workers are scapegoated in this area.
But guess what? There's practically nothing about the Lehigh Valley in The Lehigh Valley Independent!
This goofy production is mainly a chronicle of neverending trips to El Salvador. Last time I checked, that was outside the Lehigh Valley. And the reporters who make up this strange online publication look for their Lehigh Valley news in places like FOR Colombia Program and Nicaragua Network. Articles are undated, and there's no way to publish a comment, something local newspapers and blogs allow.
Its "news gallery" is an essay about Catholic priests murdered in El Salvador in 1977 and 1980.
Earth to LEPOCO! That's not news! It's history, and it's not Lehigh Valley history. It's not even American history.
Although it asserts independence, it sure has a strange way of showing it. A section, "Letters That Should be Read," is an unsorted catalogue of letters already published in the mainstream media. I guess that gives these letters more credibility, but it doesn't do much for LEPOCO'S online journal.
Sadly, The Lehigh Valley Independent News is neither independent nor focused on the Lehigh Valley. It's just another vanity project without any real commitment or attempt at citizen journalism.
About the only thing local about this "news" source is an entire section dedicated to slamming local Congressman Charlie Dent. Anti-Dent articles, penned by Joe DeRaymond, contain this pious disclosure. "It should be noted that Charles Dent did have me arrested (with 8 others) for reading the names of the Iraqi and US dead in his office, after closing hours."
That's not exactly true. DeRaymond was arrested, but not by Dent. Nor did Dent have him arrested. Nor was DeRaymond arrested for reading the names of Iraqi war dead. He was arrested because he was a trespasser. And he was convicted, too, something he conveniently fails to mention. Maybe he forgot. Joe's group, which had already met twice with Dent, barged into the office one day when Dent was absent, and demanded to see him. Joe's arrest was the decision of the Bethlehem police department.
Other than its name, this latest attempt at relevance by LEPOCO is an abysmal failure. LEPOCO has so many brilliant members that it could easily maintain a daily blog that focuses on local, state, national, international and interplanetary matters. It's got the interplanetary aspect down. Now when the hell is LEPOCO going to start thinking and acting locally?. Until it does, it should call its online chronicle "Tilting at Windmills."