Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Reviewed

Some major developments happened in the last part of the preceding year. Political and some non-government offices changed hands. Local media outlets, due to low circulation numbers, are desperately attempting to connect with readers and create long term subscribers.

The first part of the year started with some appointed politicians trying to run for full terms, in their appointed capacities. For the most part, the major media outlet continued to beat the drums on a reduced road lanes, dense condo/apt housing, and marijuana distribution. Critics, were more concerned about road construction management, park ramp & sidewalk ADA compliance, and the abuses of the county prosecutor's office. The government responded by allowing city, county, and affiliated organizations employees to target critics, with their blessings.

Let's reflect on that. That's people paid by citizens and membership dues to target people with dissenting opinions. We could begin with email communications where these people made all sorts of demeaning remarks about people asking for documents under public disclosure requests. That would follow with city employees attempting to silence people, while acting out of order, in many official public meetings. The standout instances included a city council member throwing his weight around, a city clerk making racial slurs/and threatining attending voters, and a business organization leader using member resources to conduct an anonymous campaign against dissenting opinions, on local news media websites.

However, when enough people started to complain, through document requests, both the councilman and clerk have not been as threatening as before. Once unmasked and exposed for not maintaining a website, an NGO official resigned his position, and retreated from anonymous attacks on social media and news media outlets.

Starting a few years back, online forum members (anonymous and of public stature) have nurtured discussions, which have directly impacted many former office holders. That's one mayor, some city employees, two county commissioners (resignation, appointed lost election), and a prosecutor finally removed by election, by the voters, or organizational membership.

Perhaps, it's starting to sink in that voters will, at some point, vote out and remove people who have repeatedly attempted to stifle public scrutiny and attack those with a dissenting viewpoint.

So here's to the departed folks, like Mike Strube, Josh Brown, Linda Streissguth, and Russ Hauge. You're out. And maybe it's time to look at reconfiguring local news media editorial boards. Because these people were repeatedly endorsed, and yet recalled by the voters, and organizational members.

As Charlie Daniels is fond of posting this daily on Facebook, let's all make every day count!

Happy New Year!!!