Timing is everything
I've always been annoyed by the print world's habit of dating publications in a way that didn't seem to be in synch with the real world. I understand that you're writing in advance of publication dates, but the science and business of publishing makes it possible to hit the newsstands on the same date listed on your front page. Our local paper consistently shows up on Wednesday, but has a Thursday publication date. Until now it was only an annoyance to a pretty pedantic fellow (your truly), but in this case it made them look downright silly.
The paper with the Thursday date gave an update on Don's legal case on Wednesday, only a few hours before the case was closed. I have to assume that the editor and publisher didn't want to look like asses, so they obviously didn't know about that court date. The last court date was well over a month ago. Why did they run a story when they did?
Drawing the line between public and private
When his case first hit the news, Don Kerr claimed that elected officials have no expectation of privacy. I would say that's true to some extent - if it's said in public or in the public record then no, no privacy. Whatever the editorial decision drove the comical timing of the original article, covering the story was fair game. In fact, I would have to say that it's appropriate to cover the publicly- available portion of any relevant court case pertaining to an elected official. Probably not divorces, estates and the like, but cases which are relevant. Don was accused of using a substance disallowed by the district he represents, so it's relevant. Edgar Rodriguez was suing the district he represents, so it was also relevant. Why one was covered and the other not is quite beyond my understanding. I can guess, but you can be sure that the guess foremost on my mind would be considered libelous by the owner of Ulster Publishing.
Hypocrisy and outrage
I've been watching my Facebook feed and I've seen a lot of outrage over the Kerr case. One person in particular was quite strident, so I reached out to her. She had privately taken me to task for covering the Rodriguez case when That Paper would not, because she believed I was being overly intrusive by obtaining publicly-available court documents in that case. I'm afraid my message to her (redacted below to remove personally-identifying information) was a bit strongly-worded:
I believe you're a hypocrite and I'd like to give you the chance to prove me wrong.
I would like to invite you to make a guest post on the New Paltz Gadfly regarding your feelings about Don Kerr. Be aware that I will be commenting to compare and contrast your reaction to this case with your reaction to my posts about Edgar Rodriguez.
I welcome the opportunity to a lively and public debate with someone who sees things differently than I, and I expect that the local court of public opinion will weigh in heartily.
How about it? Care to take a more visible stab at the Kerr situation?Not surprisingly, she declined the challenge. Apparently when Edgar is in court suing the district it's none of our business, but when Don gets pulled over for doing something that could send a mixed message it is. I'd still like to invite someone to post on Don's situation and how they feel about it - even if that person isn't actually a hypocrite. Agree or disagree, I will treat you with courtesy and only attack your ideas, not you personally. I know that asking people not to resort to name-calling renders a lot of people ineligible, but I'm hoping someone can find intelligent ways to debate the topic, rather than taking cheap shots like calling Don a "lovable oaf." Violence may be the first refuge of the incompetent, but name-calling is the first refuge of the incompetent pacifist.
Positive signs on the School Board
Edgar Rodriguez voted against Don Kerr's presidency because he thinks Don's approach to drug problems doesn't acknowledge the realities of addiction. I didn't see that it made it to That Paper, but Don is also interested in addressing the over-the-top zero tolerance policy. I like this; the current code of conduct rewards students for bad behavior by sending them home. This means kids with drug problems and criminal proclivities have plenty of free time to pursue those interests, and the district washes its hands of the problem.
I fully support Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Kerr in their fight to create a rational disciplinary policy for the New Paltz Central School District.