WALLA WALLA — What is the “Walla Walla Sweet Onion Burger”?
Started last summer, the Facebook page features a mix of real-time posts from police scanner dispatches, opinions from the moderator or moderators (who largely remained anonymous), gossip and appeals for reader participation for various causes, such as aiding fire victims.
Police have identified one of those moderators as David N. Polk, 55, of 427 S.E. Eighth St., College Place, Polk was arrested Thursday for investigation of nine counts of child pornography.
After its debut, the Sweet Onion page posted steady gains in the number of “likes” from Facebook subscribers. As of Thursday morning, the number stood at 6,978 “likes”, but as news of Polk’s arrest spread, the number began dropping. By 8 a.m. today, about 464 followers had removed their “like” designation.
Comments posted on the page showed many readers applauded the site’s posting of real-time dispatches and getting what they felt was news they didn’t get from other sources. But other readers objected, saying just posting information without making any effort to verify its truth or accuracy was irresponsible. Others also objected to the anonymous nature of moderators and some of the opinions expressed.
On the “what we do, who we are and what we are not” section of the Sweet Onion Burger page, the moderator said this, in part, about his refusal to identify himself:
“I’m a nobody really. But if people knew how well I can do, what you are following, is because I am anonymous. I learned at a young age that people frequently didn’t listen to what I had to say because of who was saying it.
“In the last 6 months I have found that thousands listen because what I can tell them. The value of my communication. Not my name. I daily get tips of inside information from people that don’t know me.
“I have done some things for very grateful people that I know and they would probably know me. But because they don’t, I can do a lot more.”
Hours after Polk was arrested, one of the moderators posted that she and others plan to continue the page.