Oct 29, 2018

We also wrote a Letter to the Editor which was not published

1 comment

Mary Helen and I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Garrett County Republican newspaper (Joe Hauger) asking him to please cover the local political campaigns. It was never published, which we found most irritating. The only reason we subscribe to the Republican is to get the local political news which we cannot get on TV or from the national press. And the question of who governs us is certainly important to all of us. Here is a verbatim transcript of our unpublished LTE:

 

 

To the Editor of the Garrett County Republican,

 

As Garrett Countians and Marylanders, we are upset at the lack of political news concerning Garrett County and local Maryland state candidates available to local citizens during this important political season. Whether you receive COMCAST/Infinity or DirecTV, your television news sources are limited to the local Pittsburgh stations, and even the national news stations (CNN, MSNBC, and Fox) carry Pennsylvania campaign ads. Where do we get news about the candidates and issues most important to us here in Garrett County?

 

We could subscribe to Baltimore or Cumberland newspapers for political news statewide – but where is the news about our Garrett County commissioner race between Judy Carbone and Larry Tichnell? Where is the news about the other locally-contested race for state delegate between Mike Dreisbach and Wendell Beitzel?

 

The only public resource for political news is you, our local newspaper. You have an obligation to inform your readers.

 

We encourage you to begin covering our local and state political campaigns in earnest, in depth, and every week. Cover the candidates’ biographies and positions. Interview each candidate and ask them in-depth questions about the issues. Write about them and invite public comment. Cover campaign events, both before they occur (to encourage citizens to attend) and afterward (to tell us what happened).

 

An informed electorate, as stated by statesmen since Thomas Jefferson, is our best protection against tyranny. And, as Jefferson also stated, a free press is critical. But to make this work, the free press must engage in the political process.

 

--Bob and Mary Helen Spear

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  • I submitted a letter to the editor (LTE) at the Garrett County Republican in response to Carol Gnegy's letter I saw two weeks ago. My rebuttal was not published because I was told it did not meet the "guidelines" for a submission. I've written numerous LTEs over the years to the Republican News but it is under new management now. I rewrote and submitted a new letter with a request that it be published before the November 6 General Election. This issue is time-sensitive. If you've been unable to get something published in the Garrett County Republican, you can post it to the Engage Forum. SEE MY LETTER BELOW I’ve known Judy Carbone, Candidate for County Commissioner, for many years.  We haven’t always agreed on issues facing our community, but I am certain that her belief in citizen engagement and her practice of engaging others have always been respectful.  It’s clear from a Letter to the Editor published by you two weeks, “No respectful engagement”, that the letter writer doesn’t know Judy as a candidate nor as an individual. Judy’s career as an educator, counselor, leader and activist has benefited from her skills in listening, understanding different viewpoints, building consensus, and creating plans built on common vision. The very foundation of her robust public engagement platform is the belief that no single person nor isolated group of people have all the answers. We need to capitalize on the vast wealth of talent and wisdom in our community in planning for the County’s future.  Criticizing a candidate for asking for more inclusive engagement is contrary to democracy itself. I would encourage voters to make their assessment about the level of Judy’s “respectful engagement” by asking her directly about her platform and ideas.  In Judy’s many meetings with citizens, as a participant in community forums, and on her interactive Facebook page she has answered questions posed to her with specificity.  Part of her insistence on hearing from others in addition to advocating her own ideas is her belief in building upon citizen input and citizen identified solutions in citizen-guided governance.  Judy has a definite platform and has been very clear on her ideas on how to make local government more accessible, transparent and inclusive; on economic development that focuses on small business development, supporting existing businesses, and creating a vision that guides proactive targeting of growth markets instead reacting to opportunities that may one day appear; on improving workforce development by creating a culture of experiential career education at all levels; and on strong advocacy for our young people and creating a culture of inclusion, acceptance and less division. To answer the questions posed in the letter of two weeks ago, from my many conversations with Judy I know that she does understand…she understands the job of County Commissioner and the function of a representative government.  She understands the complex and often divisive issues facing our community such as property rights, zoning, and the county budget.  Judy understands because she listens to those with a stake in these issues, especially when there are varying interests, perspectives and desired outcomes.  She understands precisely because she listens and engages respectfully. No respectful engagement?  The title of this letter must be speaking of the letter writer’s choice to not engage with the candidate personally for a meaningful conversation about the issues.  I hope she will contact Judy directly and learn for herself what I already know to be true…that Judy is a well-qualified candidate for Commissioner.
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We encourage open and honest communication without censorship, however, we ask that there be no use of foul or threatening language. Respectful banter can be a useful tool to learn and promote positive outcomes. Thank you for lending your voice to the community

 

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