Last Sunday#8217;s front page announced your inaugural #8220;New-View#8221; #8220;Op-Ed#8221; column. However, when I turned to the Editorial Page, I could find nothing new. Even your new columnist#82
Where do you find them n the newly-arrived members of the “Suffolk Can Do No Wrong Club”??? Those of us who have been Suffolk residents and taxpayers for more years than your New-View columnist has been alive know whereof we speak when we criticize the current tax and spend city government administration. And when we have to write our semi-annual ransom checks (otherwise known as real estate and personal property tax payments) to remain in our homes and continue to use our vehicles, etc. for another six months, it hurts like hell. (My wife of these 52 years and I had to pay more than $30,000 for 2005 n not counting city taxes we paid for natural gas, phone, electricity, and other essential utilities.) Are our choices to “Sit Down and Shut Up”, or “Love Suffolk or Leave It” as suggested by another writer some months ago?
Your New-View columnist also admonishes us not to believe all that we read in the newspapers n which is good advice n but then that columnist makes unsupported statements about the “great success” of the Hilton Garden Inn, which he says is “exceeding projections.” Again, without sharing the factual support for his statements, your New-View columnist asserts that “anyone n and everyone n had an opportunity to submit a response to the Request for Proposal” for the Thomas Jefferson School. While that may well be true, providing the “Request for Proposal” was widely distributed for an adequate period of time. Without knowing the history of that project, Suffolk’s taxpayers have only the word of your columnist that all was on the up-and-up for that transaction.
Additionally, your columnist did not share with your readers the source of his apparently extensive knowledge about the long list of “other ventures” of the Jefferson School’s developer enumerated in Sundays’ New-View column. If that knowledge was gained by your columnist through work his law firm has done for that developer on any of such “ventures” n which I do not suggest is the case n we ought to be told. (By the way, is your columnist a “Suffolk resident” as stated in your paper?)
The closing paragraph of last week’s New-View column expresses the hope that “folks” (apparently meaning Suffolk citizens and taxpayers) “will stand up for themselves and their community and demand truth and veracity from the local press.” I endorse that hope, but I also hope that the rights of Suffolk’s citizenry to express their personal opinions will also continue to be honored by your newspaper.
On that note, I miss the columns written by Roger Leonard. While I never met Mr. Leonard, I looked forward to his lucid, usually well written, and certainly informative, reporting of the internal workings (often un-reported by the press) of our city government. The Suffolk News-Herald has written that it will decline to print Mr. Leonard’s opinions while he exercises his right to seek redress from the court for what he perceives as wrongful treatment by the Suffolk city government. It is difficult to reconcile the newspaper’s decision with the right of the free press, which we hold so dear in this country.
Did Mr. Leonard lose his right to free speech because he availed himself of his right to have his day in court? Was there any external pressure to still his voice? I hope Robert Pocklington is not next on the list.
Being a long-standing member of the “Suffolk Naysayer’s Club,” I suppose that my firm belief that all is not right in Suffolk qualifies me for the “Nattering Nabobs of Negativity Club.”
It might be informative to address the individual meanings of those words as set out in the American Heritage Dictionary and other treatises, but I leave that to others. It might also be interesting to borrow another catch phrase from a posting on an Internet BLOG n “Prattling Prophets of Positivity” n and let your readers decide if any of those are in our midst. But that too, I leave to others.
Finally, I wonder if we should heed your New-View columnist’s advice and refrain from believing all that we read in the newspapers. What about the statements in the inaugural New-View column?
C. L. Willis, P. E.