Editor's note: the following letter was addressed to the Piedmont Post, and the author also supplied a copy to Piedmont Patch.
Journalism 101 teaches that reporter’s opinions belong in the Op Ed section of a newspaper and that news articles should be factual.
Case in point: the August 29th issue lead article (“Parcel Tax Arguments and rebuttals argue its necessity”) by Paisley Strellis contains this statement: “In reading them one significant difference of opinions becomes clear: those in favor of the tax believe it is essential to Piedmont maintaining its current level of services. Those opposed to the tax believe it is not essential.” Ms. Strellis interjected her personal opinion into what was supposed to be a news article.
Her claim is an opinion and not objective reporting. I read the Parcel Tax ballot argument (buried on page 34 of a 36-page newspaper) and found nothing in the opposition’s arguments that support the statement that they “believe it (maintaining current level of services) is not essential.” The No on Y proponents’ key position is this: “The Council has so far ignored the most serious recommendations presented. Ill-advised spending continues on its upward trend …. We are not opposed in principle to parcel taxes. If the Council takes needed actions to control costs, we will support one for essential purposes in the future.” Please show me and rest of your readers how those statements can be judged to be saying that the No on Y proponents do not believe it essential to maintain a current level of services.
The last paragraph of Ms. Strellis’ article states: “While those opposed to the tax claims that the city has done little to curtail expenses, several members of the City Council asserted at their July 2 meeting that the city has made significant progress in reining in finances.” The factual silence after that was deafening!
There have been two letters to The Post (mine was one) requesting that the City Council inform the public of their “Plan B” in the event that Measure Y does not pass. An informed citizenry needs facts in order to make an intelligent voting decision. The silence on any Plan B (certainly the City Council has discussed something along that line --- hasn’t it?) is also deafening.
The voters and citizens of Piedmont deserve more transparency in city government. When may we expect it?