Use it or lose it

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Empire Publisher Don Smith's editorial in Sunday's paper introduced the paper's Citizens Advisory Board members by name.

In one way or another we all know these folks and perhaps even how they might think.

Smith reports members of this board have expressed their diverse opinions as to what are the real issues facing our little community - rather grand sounding issues "such as tourism growth, quality of life, economic diversity, the capital move, transportation and the road top the list." (Hmmm, that road to nowhere always seems to make the list no matter how huge are other issues.)

Smith goes on to say: "While board members were in general agreement that Juneau is a special place possessing a high quality of life, on the central issue of sustaining Juneau's quality of life, opinions strengthened and diverged widely."

Stated more directly, there are obviously some pretty strong disagreements, as one should know.

A useful editorial and it ends with reasonably good karma: "And as always, readers are encouraged to participate ... through letters to the editor ..."

Right next to the publisher's editorial was one from the paper's managing editor, Steve Reed.

He says a lot of interesting things but mostly, I think, he suggests reader participation and active involvement in all the various and controversial things that face Juneau. Real big issues like the advisory board has identified above.

Meanwhile, he defends the basic tenets of letters to the editor, the functions he and the publisher believe are truly vital for the vigorous health of the paper, and, more importantly, for the general balance and good health of our dynamic little community.

Reed explores the frequency of an individual's published letters to the editor, mentioning rare past complaints about this particular issue.

Reed goes on to say: "But the frequency issue has returned - very much the result of one individual's recent submission of several letters per week and the reaction to their publication."

Hmmm, now I haven't a clue as to whom he might be referring to or who might be complaining, but if I were to venture a wild guess I might be able to come up with some sort of list.

I conclude with a quote and a fact: "Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword." Use it or lose it

Alan R. Munro


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