For over three years I have typed away on my keyboard to share my thoughts and my observations with those of you who have found your way to my site. My intention was to offer up a viewpoint and hopefully stimulate some conversation. Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to speak with many of our local bloggers and those who choose to comment on various online venues and have found that their motivation is fueled by a deep passion for Fall River. How disappointing to learn that several of our elected leaders instead view this concern for our community as poisoning the atmosphere. The following is a letter, sent by email to school committee member, Marilyn Roderick who expressed just such an opinion at a recent forum this past Monday.
Dear Mrs. Roderick,
I am deeply concerned by comments attributed to you during a forum held last night, August 10, 2009, at Government Center. It has been said to me that you were deeply critical of some of the questions and concerns shared by Fall River residents at last night’s forum. It has been said to me that you (and other elected officials) criticized local bloggers for negative comments.
I certainly hope this isn't true. The people who attended and asked questions last night were taking part in their city’s government. They were showing their deep concern, and yes, outrage. Still, even if you personally do not agree with their statements they should be complimented for taking part, not criticized for sharing their beliefs.
I also wish you and other elected officials would stop referring to every online blurb you read as a blog or its author as a blogger. A blogger is someone who owns a blog, maintains a blog or writes original content for a blog. If the people you refer to do not fit into that definition, they are more accurately a commentor. It may seem a trivial complaint but I resent that you make no distinction.
Regardless if your issue is with local blogs and bloggers, or with the comments left on blogs and the Herald News website, the sentiments that you take issue with are the opinions of “the people” and we’re entitled to them. And while you are entitled to disagree, as an elected official you are not entitled to dismiss them While I would agree that such sentiments should be expressed civilly and with courtesy, they should not be sugarcoated. I believe I have always been fair and objective but if you should disagree please feel free to let me know. You can always comment on a particular post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org