The times are tough now, just getting tougher
This old world is rough, its just getting rougher
Cover me, come on baby, cover me
~Bruce Springsteen, Cover Me
A local school committee member who started a blog called My School Committee Blog has become the source of controversy over an entry where she advocates closing one of the elementary schools. Truth be told the rest of the blog appears to be rather benign, but when blogger Catherine Sanderson chose to express an opinion in her blog, she became a flash point in our town budget battle.
My home town is no different than any other these days, facing massive budget short falls, town officials are forced to make hard choices, and as always seems the case when times get bad, people start looking for somebody to blame. The letters to the editor in my town weekly are full of frustrated and angry people who don't want their favorite program cut. And who can blame them.
If I recall correctly we are on year 3 of massive cuts and the schools, the biggest part of the budget bear the largest brunt. One proposal this year has called for the closing of one of the elementary schools, which as expected doesn't sit well with the parents, teachers and school officials who call it home. So when Sanderson wrote a blog entry suggesting closing this school was the most sensible choice of all the hard choices, people got angry. She responded in her blog and a debate began about blogging officials.
Sanderson has a right to blog. She makes it clear up front in the blog why she blogs and what she will and won't write about. She has a right to an opinion and a blog is actually providing more unfiltered insight into the thoughts of town officials than we are likely to get through the local town weekly.
I don't think this is really about her blogging. I think it's about frustration with the funding system. It's the same everywhere I look, but suggesting an official can't blog (express their first amendment rights) to me is just silly. You might not like what she has to say, but she has a right to say it and you are probably getting a deeper understanding of her views and decision-making process than you would otherwise.
Photo by bjorndv on Flickr