Friday, October 12, 2007

In response to Tony Messenger's "Can't we all just get along?"

It seems, to me, that Vincent David Jericho did nothing but break the news of the BC Development letter written by Richard Baier, the principal, and offer Becky Spence a platform to tell her side of the story. Because of very real past actions on the part of the city having to do with other developments that didn't turn out well, the trust level toward City government among some members of the community is not at a high point. Has Vince fed into that by discussing some issues that have come up that haven't been discussed anywhere else? Sure, I think so.

Turns out that Spence may not have been a credible source, this is a discredit to Spence but is it a discredit to Vince that he believed a citizen was telling him the truth and in public, and in an open forum we found out that it wasn't true that city government departments told BC Development it was a done deal?

I suppose the entire media could have been very, very quiet about what Spence had to say, not reported on it at all and then this wouldn't have been an issue? No, it was going to be an issue for the simple reason that BC Development's Richard Baier wrote that letter in the first place and the News-Leader ended up publishing that letter (because it was news) and the HCW Evergreen letter as well, both letters are public records and both letters are news. So, is it better that it all got purged in public and the people know what happened here or would it have been better had it been kept quiet, the BC Development letter left to sit and simmer in the imaginations of the public and Becky Spence to have never been exposed as less than credible, leaving room for gossip, speculation and suspicion?

Sarah Overstreet of the News-Leader fairly reported here:

"As Spence addressed the council and council members then asked her questions and made comments about them, some spectators in the audience started to grumble, and you could hear them talking to each other.

The meeting went on fairly peacefully, until Councilman Ralph Manley decided to issue a scolding."

Sarah went on to give the city's

"statute defining "decorum" in a city council meeting:

"No person shall make personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or otherwise disturb the order and decorum of any council meeting. The sergeant-at-arms, at the direction of the mayor, shall remove any person violating the provisions of this subsection (b)."

So, it is fair to ask that people follow the law, and people could have waited, though frustrated that night, to see what Vincent David Jericho had to say on the radio the next day, they could have waited to see what local bloggers and the News-Leader reported on it later and held their tongues during the Council meeting, but as for Tony Messenger's rant at his blog? It seems disingenuous, it seems he's talking out of both sides of his mouth when he wrote in his blog entry Can't we all just get along?:

"...The topic's been on my mind a lot this week after Monday's show at the city council where Becky Spence and Vincent David Jericho and various followers filled the council chambers and blasted council members and city staff with no grounds whatsoever. Turns out that Spence's allegations were and are totally unfounded, and the show that a group of citizens put on was nothing but a distraction from the real story, and that's what's so disappointing about such displays. There are real issues to discuss, issues that reasonable people will disagree about, but why can't we do so respectfully?"

Why do I say disingenuous and talking out of both sides of his mouth? Because not so long ago Tony wrote Good debates can sometimes get rowdy :

Roger Chance was the editor and publisher of a small town weekly newspaper that had been in his family for decades.

He drank Old Crow whiskey and Pepsi in a white styrofoam cup. You could tell what time of day it was by the whiff of Roger as he walked by. The more Old Crow, the later it was. Roger kept a bottle in his desk, another one in the press room, one in the darkroom, and others, I'm guessing, in hiding places I never found.

Roger is the kind of guy who would have enjoyed the Springfield City Council meeting last week.The council's been getting beaten up a fair amount lately, but Roger would say that's not a bad thing....

"...On Tuesday night, Roger would leave the offices of the Yuma Pioneer as I stayed behind to put the weekly newspaper to bed, leaving room for a council story — and a righteous editorial, if Roger felt, well, righteous. Roger would take his styrofoam cup with him, and walk the couple of blocks down Main Street to City Hall. And then the fun would begin.

As I hear it (remember, I was back at the office), Roger wouldn't so much take notes as he would get into arguments with various council members over the issues of the day. Sometimes he'd be downright belligerent. Then he'd come back to the office, tell me what happened — his version, at least — and direct me to write a story. Occasionally, he'd sit down at his manual Remington typewriter and pound out an indignant editorial, leaving me to guess how drunk he was when editing out the cuss words the next morning. Sometimes they stayed.

The council put up with this not because Roger bought his ink by the barrel, but because he cared. He was as invested as they were. A little fiery debate was good for the process...."

"...This is serious business," Carlson said, "not something like a ballgame where people cheer and boo."

Roger Chance would disagree. Not that the business is serious, but that cheering and booing is uncalled for. (For the record, I wasn't at the meeting, but unlike my days working for Roger, the wonders of technology allowed me to watch it on tape.)...

"...The best roads laid by government, in my book, are bumpy ones with lots of twists and turns. But we drive there together, like a big family squeezed into a station wagon going on a long summer vacation.

Sure, we'll fight and squirm and lash out at each other every now and then, but that's just part of the fun.

Of course, that might just be the whiskey talking."

Apparently, if you are a friend and collegue of Tony Messenger's your "rowdiness" at a Council meeting is to be treated with sympathy and sentimentality, one gets the impression that not only did Roger Chance, his editor and publisher, disagree but the flavor that Tony sprinkled this blog entry with appears to support Roger Chance's, if you are Vincent David Jericho, a local radio talk show host for which Tony seems to have lost no love, then City Council should be a more "serious" affair and the "rowdy" debate is less than acceptable.


Sarah made a fair point, Tony made a fair point as well, that is if one didn't know the history and hadn't seen him call proponents of tax credits for private or homeschooled children "liars" because they denied the scholarship monies offered by individuals and offset by tax credits were "vouchers." That is if one hadn't taken a ride on "the short bus" with him in the past. So, Tony...I don't know, tell me where you stand on this issue. I'm a bit confused.

My advice would be you take your own:

"Focus on the issues, people. Leave the name-calling to children on the playground."


Jason said...

Hang on Jackie...if one does it then it's OK for the other side?

I don't see you taking Jericho to task for his behavior...just Messenger for an apparent hypocrisy. (I'm going back to read his columns on it.)

Jericho said this morning that those who disagreed with his behavior in regards to yelling at council members are flaming liberals. Do you agree with that?

Jacke M. said...

I wrote that Sarah Overstreet had a fair point that citizens should follow the law and that's exactly what I meant.

I didn't hear Jericho say "that those who disagreed with his behavior in regards to yelling at council members are flaming liberals," this morning. I would have to listen to it in context before I commented.

That shouldn't be a problem for you.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Cumley is now wanting an apology as his feelings were hurt Monday.

The paper said the Expo Center is losing 300,000 to $500,000 a year ??

This was the "Finnie economic engine" for downtown, so they are just spending more...

go figure...

Shak El said...

Anyone who disagrees with VDJ is a PC Liberal even if you have been a life long member of the Republican party and support the Iraq war happened to a friend of mine who made the mistake of calling in on his show.

Anonymous said...

Awww... is Cumwey's feewings hurt? Does him mommy need'um kiss boo-boos?