Take Back Enterprise held a community forum on Monday night, 8/24/15, attended by over 100 folks where the vision and purpose of the organization was shared and questions were asked and answered. Since the meeting was pretty well covered by local news media from Dothan and Enterprise I had not planned on writing about it.
Pretty well covered
Some in the media chose to actually report on the meeting while some didn’t. Some chose to report on it before they decided to un-report on it and post an opinion piece instead. Some chose not to attend because the media wasn’t invited. It was a community forum, not a press conference so press invitations were not sent to anyone.
See and hear what was said for yourself
There is no need for me to repeat any more about the content of this meeting. You can see the slides and hear the entire presentation at the Take Back Enterprise YouTube channel at TBE Presentation 2015 08 24. You can also learn more at their web site takebackenterprise.com or their Facebook page where the Likes are growing every day.
News Media Coverage
However the media coverage of this forum was interesting and provides an indication to me this group has already struck a nerve and it is going to be an interesting election year between now and next August. Because of that, I decided I would share a few thoughts on what I have observed.
Valencia Jones from WDHN covered the forum Monday night and then followed up with an interview with the mayor on Tuesday to get his response. Both stories can be seen at their web site at DothanFirst.com. The links to those specific stories are below. It’s refreshing when any story is covered this way. It’s sad this is now an exception in news reporting as editorial decisions are made based on what has the greatest shock value, will generate the most advertising dollars, and the ideological preference of the editor.
From her interview with Turner Townsend he said, “We’re not saying the City of Enterprise has burned to the ground, we’re not saying our garbage is not getting picked up. We’re saying we need access to information, and they need to present it in a way that it can be easily accessed.”
From her interview with Mayor Boswell Valencia Jones said, “Boswell said, as the old saying goes, you can’t please everyone. In terms of the next steps in further addressing the group’s concerns, he said there are no next steps on his part, stating it is up to those with concerns to come and be heard before city council to discuss the possibility of a formal meeting.”
Cassie Gibbs from The Southeast Sun covered the meeting in the article, Take Back Enterprise aims to educate citizens.
I did not see any coverage of the meeting in The Enterprise Ledger or on WTVY.
Opinions – Everyone has one
There were a couple of opinion pieces published on Sunday, 8/30/15. Curious they both came out on the same day. Hmm… Neither of the opinion writers attended the community forum. Neither of their articles were very well researched. Both took shots at a group just asking legitimate questions of public officials and trying to create more open government in Enterprise.
One was in The Enterprise Ledger by Kyle Mooty and the other was on a web site called RickeyStokesNews.com and written by Rickey Stokes. I have read and agreed with many of Kyle Mooty’s articles and thought some were well done but this was not one of his better efforts. He has done better. I am not a regular reader of Rickey Stokes News. A friend told me he had mentioned me in one of his articles the week before the meeting and then another friend told me he had mentioned me again in the most recent one below so I thought I would take a look and see if he had anything meaningful to say. I did not find much.
Here are links to the above-referenced articles, if they are both still up.
Things that make me go hmm…
Over the past two years I have been to as many, probably more, Enterprise City Council and School Board meetings as anyone other than the board, council members, mayor and those they require to attend. I have a pretty good idea of what goes on in these meetings and what doesn’t. I have rarely seen either Mr. Mooty or Mr. Stokes at either. The Ledger does normally have a reporter there, just not Mr. Mooty. I did notice Mr. Stokes at a city council meeting recently though. I didn’t see any article posted on his site about that meeting and didn’t think much about it until he started writing about Take Back Enterprise shortly after that meeting. Hmm…
Reported, then unreported
Mr. Stokes did have one of his people, Matt Boster, attend the community forum. He recorded it and wrote and published a pretty straightforward article about the meeting, including a couple of videos. However, that was all pulled down from his web site for some reason within a couple of hours after it was posted on the night of the meeting. Then, this opinion piece, written by Mr. Stokes, was published six days later on Sunday. Hmm…
Who are these so-called “bitter people”?
I know Mr. Mooty has been in the news business long enough to know there are at least two sides to every story. It seems to me as a journalist he would welcome more open government or ask more questions himself instead of simply viewing everything through rose colored glasses. Sometimes an apple is beautiful and glossy on the outside but when you cut it open you find a worm.
I do understand opinion columns are normally one-sided and are just opinions. This one fit that pattern. This blog is where I share my opinion.
I wonder if he has made any attempt to talk to these so-called “bitter people” he keeps referring to and listen to their side of the story or if he is just repeating references he is hearing from “someone else”. Who are these bitter people? Hmm…
The mayor referenced an old saying in his interview, “You can’t please everyone.” I do agree with and understand that saying and believe it is true; just don’t think it was appropriate in this context.
There is another old saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln I do believe is appropriate here, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” I guess everyone has to determine which group of people you belong to.
It was reported in both the Enterprise Ledger and Southeast Sun and the Take Back Enterprise website that they did take the next step the mayor mentioned and did appear before the council in the council meeting on 9/1/15 and made several formal requests. Here is a link to the letter they read and presented to the council members and mayor. The next step now is up to the mayor and city council. I am interested to see how they choose to respond.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 09/04/2015