The Claremont Courier's story about the arrest of Moun Chau, the donut shop owner accused of violating the federal Endangered Species Act, brought some sharp words from Courier reader Hal Hargrave in a letter published in last Wednesday's Courier. (Sorry, the letter is stuck behind the Courier's new pay wall, so no link. You'll have to get a subscription if you want to read it online.)
Hargrave felt that the Courier coverage unfairly singled out Chau's business, Pixie Donuts, which, aside from accepting some ivory shipments three years ago, seems to be a fairly average mom-and-pop business. Hargrave wrote:
Pixie is poetry in motion every morning as June and her staff know the orders of most and work in harmony to move the masses through their small, simple donut shop. They are a Claremont family with their kids going through Claremont schools. They support us and I know I will continue to support them despite the twisted article written about something that took place in 2006. You should have stuck to reporting on “Storm Watch Twenty Ten!”
As I read your description of the all-powerful Department of Fish and game and their aid on Pixie in 2006, all I could picture was the TSA finding a shampoo bottle. Whew, I feel so protected by these almighty governmental agencies.
This all prompted Courier reporter Tony Krick, who wrote the article about Chau, to defend his naming the Pixie Donut Shop in the article. On his COURIER City Beat blog, Krickl argues for the newsworthiness of including the business' name in his news piece. He says:
I am not doubting that Pixies has good doughnuts or the owners are friendly to their customers. But the fact remains that federal agents found dozens of pieces of ivory in the business as well as tools to carve them into decorative products, likely to be sold on to collectors.
While we don't see anything wrong with naming the business in the article - it is, after all, the place that took delivery of the shipments. However, we also don't see the need to boycott the business. The federal indictment didn't name the business or Chau's family as additional defendants, so the implication is that the alleged crime was Chau's alone.
The feds have had over three years to put a case together, so if they had any reason to go after the business itself, they would have. So, in from our vantage, we don't see anything wrong with continuing to patronize Pixie. As we've said before, they do make the best donuts around - at least their weekday fare is very good - not too doughy or greasy, and just the right amount of stuff on top. And, Hargrave is right, the family does seem like good people, whatever personal shortcomings Moun Chau may have had.