Friday, August 15, 2008

Two City Leaders Squared Off this Morning

Councilman Doug Burlison Defended City Council's Choice of New City Manager Greg Burris; Vincent David Jericho Defended the Legitimate Arguments of the City Council's Critics; Real Discussion Ensued

Hey, I'm a fan of both of these guys and I recognize good, healthy discussion when I hear it. Good, healthy discussion is what I heard on the Vincent David Jericho Program, on KSGF this morning. The podcast is listed as a "must listen," and for good reason.

I've suffered a few snide remarks from different quarters just like Jericho has because I expose information that sometimes, I think, the executive branch of the City of Springfield might not like exposed or discussed. It takes a strong stomach to take that sort of comment and remain focused on the main thing, the important thing. That important, main thing is what we got this morning on the Jericho program. We got what started out as a contentious argument but in the end became a real discussion.

We got two men defending their positions and, while they continued to disagree, the listeners of the Vincent David Jericho Program were treated to both sides of the argument and got insight into a government process that they might not have gotten otherwise. That, my friends, whether you agree with Jericho or you agree with Burlison, is valuable to the community.

So, my thanks to Vince for offering the platform and my thanks to Councilman Burlison for knocking on his door and giving voice to his reasons for voting for Burris. Listeners can make their own decisions about whether they liked, agreed with, or felt Burlison's argument was valid, I'm just impressed he stood up and made it.

The critics of the Council's choice for City Manager deserve to have legitimate complaints and questions addressed, and they should not be put down as if the word "critic" was a derogatory term.

When did being a critic, or a government "watch dog" group, or a questioning journalist become something of which to be ashamed? Too often people who have legitimate complaints in this community are written off instead of responded to and are treated as though they are an enemy of progress and an enemy of what is good for the community in which they all live and are invested.

To quote Mayor Tom Carlson:

"Any day of the week, I'll bet on people that have got real money at risk, time, money and effort to spend as opposed to the people from the peanut gallery" ~ Mayor Tom Carlson, October 16, 2007


Where I differ from Carlson is the distinction between "people that have got real money at risk," and "the people from the peanut gallery."

There should be no distinction.

Every single citizen of this city has real money at risk here, every single one of us. We all pay taxes into the city coffers and that tax money pays for core city services, economic development and the salaries of city employees and whether it comes from our money in the form of property taxes, sales taxes, federal taxes or state taxes it comes from the taxpayers, and the taxpayers ARE the people with the real money at risk.

Listen to the podcast, truly a "must listen." Get involved in your city and hold your elected officials accountable, however you feel directed. Sometimes that means holding them accountable for the good they do for your city, sometimes that means holding them accountable for the bad decisions they make and we all have an opinion about whether choices were, or are, good or bad. Without the sort of contentious dialog we heard this morning on the radio, forming those opinions about whether choices made on your behalf, by your elected officials were good choices or bad choices would be more difficult.

Mayor Carlson recently complained, ""It's not like it used to be, there's not the depth, there's not the scope, there's not the understanding on the part of the media, on the topics that they're covering." That understanding on the part of the media comes with discussion and that is what Vincent David Jericho offers to this community. Often, he can only offer one side of any given issue because there is no one from the city who will give their side of the issue. Today that was not the case. Councilman Doug Burlison knocked on the door and talked to the people who have real money at risk in this city, the taxpayers.

Thank you, Vince. Thank you Doug.

Note to Mayor Carlson: If you want understanding on the part of the media and therefore the citizens of Springfield, it takes hard work, it takes discussion, it takes real dialog, it takes Council members like Doug Burlison and, yes, it can sometimes get heated and be a bit unpleasant along the way.

If you are looking for sanitized, one-sided public information releases, you have an entire public information office working for you, isn't that enough?

The taxpayers want more than sanitized, one-sided public information releases and in the end, isn't that what is required for depth, scope and understanding? They get that other side from the media, the radio, the print media, other sources besides the city and City Utilities printing presses.

This morning the taxpayers got a chance for more depth, scope and understanding but it took some effort and discomfort on the part of a City Councilman who was willing to walk into an unfriendly atmosphere. The Council might not get paid for that but if the Council and Mayor want more understanding that is what it will take.

Great radio. A real public service!

43 comments:

Jason said...

"Great radio. A real public service!"

We obviously weren't listening to the same thing.

Jackie Melton said...

Really?

The link is right here on the blog. Everyone is welcome to listen and form their own opinion regarding the discussion between Jericho and Burlison and the listeners and Burlison.

To me, a two-sided, or multi-faceted discussion is great radio and a real public service. I can't imagine why such discussion wouldn't be considered a good thing but, whatever, you're as welcome to your own opinion as the next guy or girl.

acline said...

re: "When did being a critic, or a government "watch dog" group, or a questioning journalist become something of which to be ashamed?"

Jacke... Well, that depends upon whom you ask. It would be nice to be able to answer this question: never! But the sad fact of the matter is that all it takes is a political agenda or willfully ignorant media literacy skills to answer: always!

I'm glad you asked this rhetorical question. I like what it says about you and your work.

Jason said...

There was no evidence presented to Councilman Burlison to back up any of the allegations thrown against him and excuses used by people to say he's going to be thrown out of office.

A real discussion would have had the critics present their case to Councilman Burlison and have him respond to actual proof that the "fix was in" or that there were back door deals. Councilman Burlison certainly would have done that. As it was, the critics once again showed no proof to back up their assertions.

You wrote: "The critics of the Council's choice for City Manager deserve to have legitimate complaints and questions addressed, and they should not be put down as if the word "critic" was a derogatory term."

You're making the assumption that the complaints and questions are legitimate when no evidence has been presented anywhere that the allegations of the process being rigged is true. Critic is not a derogatory term in itself. It's when people present criticism as fact without any evidence to prove those allegations that the term begins to take on a derogatory impression.

Or do you see someone asking a critic for proof of their allegations as putting them down?

(If you have proof to back up the claims of these critics that justifies their concerns being called legitimate, I'd love to see them as would many other people.)

No person on that show other than Councilman Burlison was in on the process. He saw what went on and probably shared more than he should have done considering most of the back and forth was in closed session. Who are any of us to stay the guy isn't telling the truth about what happened?

That's why we need proof.

Jackie Melton said...

Thank you, Andy!

That means a lot to me. :)

Jackie Melton said...

"You're making the assumption that the complaints and questions are legitimate when no evidence has been presented anywhere that the allegations of the process being rigged is true."

Jason, public perception appears to be that there was some pressure applied to selecting Burris. Whether that is true or not I haven't endeavored to comment upon but the very public perception that the process was rigged or questionable needs to be addressed, in my opinion, simply because it exists and without being addressed the rumor, if that is what it is, gets legs and grows.

If I knew everything in the world that no one seems to know about this topic then I'd tell you. I don't and so I chose not to give an opinion on issues you have raised, I don't know that I have all the facts and therefore, I am reluctant to come down on one side or the other.

I have not written that you must agree with Vince's opinion or Burlison's opinion. My point is simply that discussion is a good thing.

Opinions cannot generally be proven. They certainly can be based on good foundations or bad foundations. There are foundations here to the ideas that Burris was both qualified and unqualified to become our new city manager. I respect that. You aren't required to, no one is required to, it's up to the individual whether he or she chooses to respect another person's opinion or not.

I think you are trying to make this about something other than what I blogged about. If I wanted to offer my opinion about something else, I certainly, could have chosen to do that. I chose the topic I wanted to address, Jason. If you want to address the subject from another angle or direction, you are more than welcome to do so, but here, I chose my own topic and I am quite happy sticking to it. To me, good, healthy discussion was the important topic. I'm sorry if you didn't like my topic but this is my blog and it was my choice.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to stop by.

Jason said...

"To me, good, healthy discussion was the important topic."

Well, Mrs. Melton, your blog was about the show and that it was a great discussion. I pointed out why I felt it was not a great discussion. As much as you would like to claim that is not on your topic, it's squarely on topic.

"Whether that is true or not I haven't endeavored to comment upon but the very public perception that the process was rigged or questionable needs to be addressed, in my opinion, simply because it exists and without being addressed the rumor, if that is what it is, gets legs and grows."

Shouldn't a reporter like yourself care if it's true or not? Isn't asking the people making these allegations to back up their claims with fact addressing the rumor? Isn't your posting of these innuendos without any proof to back the claims adding the growth of those legs? Why does the burden fall on council to prove it's untrue rather than the critics to prove it's true?

These are issues you've raised through your posting, Mrs. Melton, in calling today's broadcast "a good, healthy discussion." If you don't want to respond to them, that's your right, but it's certainly not off the topic.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, you are the BEST Blogger/Reporter in town...by far. Stop worrying over children.

Undeveloped minds lack the maturity to understand adult concepts and nuances. Children need only be told to do. When they gain some maturity you can explain the whys.

STOP WASTING YOUR TIME ON THOSE WITH UNDEVELOPED MINDS!!!!

It is obvious to us all, Jason is obsessed with both you and Vince.

Frankly he creeps me out.

Jackie Melton said...

Straw men.

Jason, I've told you that you are welcome to your opinion, as is every listener and reader, about whether it was a good discussion and good radio or not. In my opinion, it was good radio and a community service. You are not required to agree.

"Shouldn't a reporter like yourself care if it's true or not?"

I did not say I didn't care if it was true or not.

I have quoted what the City Charter says about how the Council is to determine the qualifications of a City Manager.

I have quoted what the job description, published by Arcus Public, claimed would identify the "ideal candidate."

Those are factual foundations from which citizens can form opinions.

I have not posted any "innuendos." Your characterizing my blog as such is your opinion, not a fact.

You posted at your blog the other day asking for proof that the "fix was in." I have never claimed that "the fix was in," ever. I don't know why you are asking me for proof of something that I have never claimed, please feel free to carry on that discussion where you started it.

It is my opinion that Vince's program offered a platform to both sides of the issue and I consider that good, healthy discussion, Jason. That is my opinion and I see no point in repeating it a hundred different ways.

Jason said...

Thank you for your honest, transparent discussion of the issue Mrs. Melton.

acline said...

Clarification and context (responding publicly to an e-mailer): My comment to Jackie is not meant to declare that I'm taking sides in the issues involved here. She asks a good rhetorical question regardless of the context.

PS: I'm 99% sure "anonymous" is VDJ. He made a very similar statement toward the end of his radio show today. I agree that Jackie is a good blogger. But what I mean by that has no political intentions whatsoever. I'm also a fan of Jason's. I disagree with both of them about a lot of things. So what? But, best blogger? Sorry. That would be me ;-)

Jackie Melton said...

"best blogger? Sorry. That would be me."

Andy, I would hope that you can prove that statement. ;)

acline said...

Jackie.. Haha! No, that would be my opinion :-)

Anonymous said...

Andy you have not a clue who I am. Mooohawawahahahahaha.

Not opinion, fact: Jackie is best blogger and reporter, VDJ is loud and Jason is.....weird!

Jackie Melton said...

Oh, come on now, play nice.

acline said...

Anonymous: I'm quite comfortable with the idea that Jackie, or any other blogger in Springfield, is "best" or even just better than I. But in order for this to be a "fact," one must assert criteria by which we all may judge.

State your criteria, and then let's put your assertion to the test.

Anonymous said...

Cute, cuddly and smart. You loose on at least two of the three...your choice.

Must be off.

tata

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this Jason guy is always 'here', and always 'there', basically to draw attention to himself . . . right or wrong, like a bad neighbor, Jason is there. In this case, he deflects attention from Jackehammer's well thought out piece to his foolish and time-wasting tantrums: "Pay attention to ME."

He frequently does not comprehend what he reads or sees, or grasp that his own opinions are rarely based on 'evidence'. More often than not, he is guilty of the charges he makes against others who actually think before they write. Frankly, I wish this glogster/poster would get out of the way of the more succinct and time-worthy contributors.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this Jason guy is always 'here', and always 'there', basically to draw attention to himself . . . right or wrong, like a bad neighbor, Jason is there. In this case, he deflects attention from Jackehammer's well thought out piece to his foolish and time-wasting tantrums: "Pay attention to ME."

He frequently does not comprehend what he reads or sees, or grasp that his own opinions are rarely based on 'evidence'. More often than not, he is guilty of the charges he makes against others who actually think before they write. Frankly, I wish this glogster/poster would get out of the way of the more succinct and time-worthy contributors.

Jackie Melton said...

Anon 2:29, 2:30 PM

I don't feel that such a comment was a "succinct and time-worthy" contribution, using your own terms. It had nothing to do with the topic.

Jason is as welcome to comment here as anyone and he has one advantage over you, he didn't post anonymously.

I would appreciate it if people would refrain from personally insulting other commenters to this blog.

I really, greatly enjoy offering this place for anonymous commenters to leave comments but, honestly, sometimes I question my own wisdom in standing by that decision.

As one who likes to have my opinion respected to another who, I suspect, likes to have his or her opinion respected, let's all try to refrain from making such insulting comments, please.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this Jason guy is always 'here', and always 'there', basically to draw attention to himself . .


Is this the same JASON from the JASON movies ?? He would always come back.


Doug B. did very well to show up this morning, even if he voted the other way, the City Manager outcome would be the same.

Thank you for being on the show Doug. A few others should show up and take some heat. You took more than your share today.

VDJ could buy you a Coke and patch things up a bit.

There will be many more places for Doug to take a stand. However, If he somehow feels threatend by the other Council or past CM's he should state what the problem is...

The new CM will get a truckful in the next few months, but at least he has a vision... just ending the stupidity since Finnie came to town would be a great start.

Anonymous said...

Did someone said Jacke was
'transparent'?

Does that mean she doesn't weigh in with a heavy agenda?

I too wish Jacke would take sides more often -- MY side, of course.

But Jackehammer is not about that. It is about edification. It is about defining the issues and asking the right questions. It is about finding the lacunae and the contradictions. It is about routing it out and laying it out. And my favorite part -- uncovering the cover-ups.

If she pokes holes now and again . . . well, that's Jackhammer.

Jacke is relentless in her investigation and she is honest and fair. The REAL honest and fair, not the 'modern' version of it, which is the rampage against 'honest and fair'.

What's with journalists today? Where have all the flowers gone? Who seeketh the truth, and who prefers to slide down that yellow road?

Amidst the blather, the obfuscations, the moral chaos, and the intellectual no-man's-land, stands Jacke the journalist.

First-hand, I don't know nuttin' about nuttin' -- all I have is my opinion after the facts -- and that's why I read Jackehammer and no longer read the blowhardy blogs.

So Jacke, don't be goin' all OPAQUE on us now. Unless, of course, you want to take my opinion as the gospel .. .

tom said...

Jacke,

You haven't anything to worry about as others try to read into your opinion. I didn't listen to the actual airing of the show but listened to the podcast and sometimes shouting out indifferences makes for great ratings as well as getting your point across.

Anonymous said...

Is fair Jacke actually saying that the opinions of people who use their 'real' names are worth more more other posters'?

What about 'fake names' or those made-up monikers -- how do you feel about them? Are these more worthy, or less worthy, to you than those who simply sign 'anonymous'?

Maybe you could give us your hierarchy of whose posts count the most to you.

And please, be clear: What 'advantage' do you think Jason has over the legions of us Anonymouses?

I realize I'm not addressing the 'right topic' just now but I guess I, just another anonymous guy, might like to know whether I'm welcome or legitimate enough in your eyes to post one.

tom said...

In the years I have known Jacke I don't ever recall her stating that one opinion over the another to be more worthy.
I believe she responds to Jason because at times he has pressured his ideas into areas where there was only opinions stated not actualities of fact.

Anonymous said...

"Jason . . has one advantage over you, he didn't post anonymously."

Really!!! And what advantage would that be?

Anonymous said...

"Jason . . . has one advantage over you, he didn't post anonymously."

In reviewing this long list of emails only Jackie Melton has used her 'real name' . . . or is it?

There's a 'Jason' and there's a 'Tom', but who are they, really? Lots Jasons and Toms out there . . .

Jackie Melton said...

I don't think ANY one person's opinion is worth more than another's(and actually, I've liked some of my anonymous posters comments better than some of those who attach their *real* names)

A good point was raised in that having a name doesn't necessarily mean the name one uses is that person's real name.

The real issue is that we ALL try to be respectful of other people's opinions. I have never treated anonymous posters ANY differently than any other poster in the past but if people are going to anonymously start saying unnecessary and mean things about other commenters, well, I just REALLY want to discourage that.

Please respect my wishes.

If you have hate mail you feel you MUST send, send it directly to my email address, you can find it under my profile, just click on my name. Just, please, don't post it publicly here.

Anonymous said...

"A good point was raised in that having a name doesn't necessarily mean the name one uses is that person's real name."

Jacke, you're beginning to sound like Louise Whall!

You're avoiding answering the real question put to you:

What 'advantage' does Jason possess over an anonymous poster?

You said it. Now explain it.

Jackie Melton said...

"What 'advantage' does Jason possess over an anonymous poster?

You said it. Now explain it."

I was waiting for someone to ask me again. :)

It doesn't happen very often because I'd wager I'm as careful as Louise Whall is to say exactly what I mean, but I misspoke in this case. I didn't really mean that. Jason has no advantage over an anonymous commenter and neither do I.

Now, that's not to say that by what we say, or write, any of us, can either increase or decrease the value of our opinion. It is my opinion that by making unnecessarily mean comments about another commenter it undermines the value of a person's opinion. That is, to me. No one else may feel that way.

We all know negative things about other people but most of the time we keep those negative comments to ourselves, or we share them with a spouse or a friend, privately. It makes me uncomfortable to see it here, in public, and since I am the primary administrator of this blog I think I OUGHT to have the right to ask people to respect that.

You know, Jason is welcome to comment here and you are welcome to comment here, since Jason has no advantage over you, would it be fair to say that you have no advantage over Jason?

Anonymous said...

Some, if not many, people who post here work for the City of Springfield.

You can't expect real names, just some respectfully provided wisdom when it can be offered.

Someday, maybey Vince can sell print his favorite 500 e mails and retire with a small fortune.

Jackie Melton said...

Apparently, I'm going to have to write some disclaimers disassociating myself from the comments found at my blog (other than my own) because it certainly isn't my intention to cause anyone to feel stifled.

I don't have any control over what anyone else says and I really don't want to have and I certainly don't always agree with commenters anymore than I always disagree with commenters.

I don't like profanity and ask people to refrain from it and I really wish everyone could be respectful of everyone else, on the other hand, I understand that there are some people undeserving of respect (and I'm not meaning anyone in particular).

Some of you would like to see more of my opinions while I am becoming more and more reluctant to give them. I don't want to influence other people with my opinions. If I have influence, I want it to be with facts. I worry that sharing my opinion too much will cause people to view my reporting for CFP as biased based on the opinions they've read here. It's an ongoing question for me. I LOVE to share my opinion, I just don't know if it's in my best interest to do it often or not and I think it is very important that my opinions are based on fact and not just pulled out of thin air or based on half of the information really needed to form an informed opinion.

Understand?

Anonymous said...

"The real issue is that we ALL try to be respectful of other people's opinions."

We can try,and we can fail.

What is it in Jason's several entries that actually furthered your topic today?

Is it really your topic he is interested in, or pushing his own?

It looks like Jason is trying to steal your topic; you are carefully unraveling his twisty logic; and you don't appreciate some Anonymous coming in and stealing your mouse in this stealthy cat-and-mouse game.

At least you're the cat here, and to some extent stymie his attempts to steal your cheese.

Whatever, "Jason", or whoever he is, took up a lot of your 'room' today for little of worth.

Little worth except that you successfully trap him into revealing his intellectual dishonesty (am I allowed to say that? is that 'hate"?) -- and do so more subtly, and probably more effectively, than Anonymous does.

None of this was 'on topic.' But, kudos to you, it sure was fun.

Jackie Melton said...

Yeah, it was fun and I don't mind other people having a shot at my "mice," or me, for that matter.

I try really hard to accept that everyone has their own way of dealing with things, my way isn't like yours, yours isn't like mine. So, my apologies for giving you the impression that anonymous commenters aren't welcome here or less welcome here than others. I've always welcomed anonymous commenters.

I think the best thing to do is write a disclaimer that I'm only responsible for what I post. Then people can say what they want and I don't have to worry about it.

I'll get on that as soon as I can.

I enjoyed the dialog. Thanks! Stop by any time.

Anonymous said...

" . . . since Jason has no advantage over you, would it be fair to say that you have no advantage over Jason?"

My advantage over Jason is . . . I'm Anonymous, and he's not!

Jackie Melton said...

"My advantage over Jason is . . . I'm Anonymous, and he's not!"

Ha ha, good point.

Momma Twoop said...

Excellent blog, Jacke, as always, and great comments, too! It's been a blast to read 'em.

Busplunge said...

This exchange of comments has been great.

You all are welcome to come over and ride the Bus anytime.

Busplunge said...

This exchange of comments has been great.

You all are welcome to come over and ride the Bus anytime.

tom said...

"To quote Mayor Tom Carlson:

"Any day of the week, I'll bet on people that have got real money at risk, time, money and effort to spend as opposed to the people from the peanut gallery" ~ Mayor Tom Carlson, October 16, 2007"

How would Mayor Carlson know about this, he uses the taxpayers money to benefit his corporation and his business partners.

Granted Low Income Housing Tax Credits are legal but when you use them on many of your projects just to benefit yourself one must wonder who is really benefiting.

Anonymous said...

"Any day of the week, I'll bet on people that have got real money at risk, Tommy c

Most poverty programs are actually designed to make large amounts of money for those who provide the program.

Seems the term "poverty pimps" comes to mind. Tommy c should someday try to be a "slip and fall, call me guy" on TV.

Anonymous said...

Is there a Mrs. Burris ???

We never see the first lady of Springfield, Mrs. Carlson ...

or Mrs. Finnie..

tom said...

Yes and there was a picture of her during this whole selection process in the News Leader.