Saturday, October 31, 2009

Letter: Election snafus frustrate council member

There are a couple of interesting inside-baseball aspects to this letter from Councilwoman Lopas.

Lora sent this to Courierwatch as a comment on The Katan Saga on Oct 17, so I have a clear comparison. I presume that she sent it to the Courier on the same day, and, since the text is the same but for editorial changes, that she sent it electronically, so there was no mail delay or typing time involved.

Despite the high profile of Ms Lopas, the timely nature of what she had to say and the importance of the issue, it took the editors fully two weeks to get her letter into print, and then not as a Talk of the Town or other column, but as a simple letter. That looks a lot like disrespect to me.

I also notice that the editor knocked down Lora's consistent (and perfectly correct) capitalization of "Council," "Charter," "City" and "Mayor," but left "City Manager" and "City Attorney" capitalized. Even if the editor chooses to argue this on the basis of house style, it was clearly applied inconsistently, and in a way that favors the staff with more respect.

Once again, my position on this is that editors can and should maintain a hands-off policy regarding letters, comments and bylined outside columns wherever possible. If it has someone's name on it, the reader should be able to trust that the person wrote it. Fiddling around of this sort is nothing short of arbitrary control of the message, and must not be tolerated.