Monday, May 5, 2008

Unintentional Error

From: Baird, Michael (Mike dot mikebaird dot com)
Sent: Sat 5/03/08 8:36 PM
To: William Yates (

The danger of Ruark asking someone like me to popularize her anonymous blog on my is that I'll disclose who she is and her e-mail, at least if not asked to keep it confidential otherwise.

From: William Yates [] Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2008 7:26 PMTo: Baird, Michael

You published her name, but it's not on her blog. You know how I feel about anonymity from my latest entry. Who's Diogenes anyway? (That's a rhetorical question; I do know who he was.)”

First, having never blogged before, I was not aware my name would not appear. Therefore, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cathleen Ruark. Additional information about me is available in my profile. I hope that clears that matter up.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Like Diogenes, I am “searching for an honest man”. An honest man will present all available information so those reading may make a fair, informed and balanced judgment. It is more popular however, to present partial truths and slanted views as fact. My purpose is to present unbiased fact, where available, for clarity without bitterness or agenda. I am not a candidate for office in Morro Bay nor have I ever held public office. I am, by trade, an historian and a former journalist.

In his April 29, 2008, Bill Yates talks about “five star hotels” without mentioning which rating system he is referencing as if there were only one. He also does not mention that rating systems are subjective. . National consumer travel organizations and guidebooks assign star ratings to hotels, but each one uses its own set of criteria to determine the rating. Additionally, travel websites, consolidators and reservation services often rate hotels as well. Most U.S. websites and organizations that rate hotels provide an explanation of their rating system so that consumers can decode the rating. The bottom line, however, is that a hotel may be given different ratings from different organizations, so it is important to inquire about what the rating means. Mr. Yates is citing the Mobile rating system in his blog. Another highly regarded and similar rating system is the AAA rating system; Mobile uses stars, AAA uses diamonds. Mobile does only have 41 five star hotels in the United States; AAA has 84 five diamond hotels (this includes five hotels in Las Vegas: The Venetian, Bellagio, Four Season Hotel Las Vegas, Wynn Las Vegas and Skylofts at the MGM Grand). Is Mobile’s rating system better than AAA’s rating system? No. Both awards recognize the best lodgings in North America and both are prestigious, prized by the industry, and trusted by the traveling public. Neither system is perfect, but they are credible. Both organizations base the ultimate rating on an unscheduled and anonymous overnight experience and detailed evaluation of the property. AAA’s inspection staff is comprised of approximately 60 full-time “Tourism Editors” who inspect and rate all AAA approved lodgings. The Mobil Five Star decision makers are a much smaller group and tend to focus on current Five Star recipients and those with aspirations and potential for the top rating, while a field staff visits and inspects the lower rated properties.

Does a hotel have to be on a Wynn Las Vegas scale to be awarded this prestigious designation? No. For example, in Santa Barbara, California, a 15-room luxury bed and breakfast, The Simpson House, has a five diamond rating as does the ten room Chateau du Sureau in Oakhurst, California (population 2,686 in 2000). Bigger does not always equal better.