Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I recently had someone attempt to post an anonymous comment. While the comment in and of itself was certainly not provocative, it was not consistent with my stated policy of no anonymous comments.

In the "Welcome" post I state my policy with respect to comments to this blog. First, I will be honest in saying I reserve the right to post or reject any comment for any reason. My blog, my prerogative. Second, I will not ever publish an anonymous comment. I put my name out there on the line and so should you. If you are not willing to state it publicly, then I have a hard time accepting it as legitimate. Third, my standards for publishing are accuracy, civility and relevancy. I recognize these rules and criteria may be stricter than you wish or think appropriate. With all due respect, feel free to start your own blog or post your comments in one of the other town blogs such as The Patch or NewCastleNOW.

This is all new to me so I reserve the right to change the entire process as well. I am also considering having any comments only made through email and I will then post those comments (and responses if appropriate) as inline blog posts. Sort of a mailbag feature.

If you wish to ask a question directly or to comment, feel free to email me at I do not guarantee a response, but time and desire permitting I will do the best I can.

Having said all that, the anonymous commenter asked how to view a video of the proceedings or get a transcript. I do not know the answer to that. I do know that News 12 appeared to be taping the meeting and at least one very public private citizen did as well. I strongly suspect it will be posted to YouTube at some point soon and linked to by a local blog other than this. I do not know if the Town typically makes transcripts available, but the microphones on the table were for the tape recorder that I believe is used by a Town stenographer. The commenter also asked why the Town and School boards were surprised by the turnout. I cannot speak for the entire school board, but I was surprised because we are not the lead agency and have not experienced the passionate reactions to this project. At school board meetings - even contentious ones such as the budget - we rarely get a crowd over 45 or 50. Typically there are 7 or 8 people there most of whom have to be there anyway. Also, it is important to note that the board in our electronic blast of July 29th and I here on this blog strongly suggested that the public turnout to voice its concerns, comments or compliments, but we do not know who is listening.

Because the meeting was held in Town Hall, the School Board had no control over the recording issue. I cannot speak for the Town, but it is my understanding that the Town, as a matter of course, does not typically record or broadcast work sessions. This was a work session. It is also my impression that the Town established a date in September for public comment and expected to have the big turnout then. Typically in August all meetings are sparsely attended and it was felt that rather than shut anyone out who was on vacation, the Town would schedule an evening in September to hear public comment. Those are not unreasonable assumptions.

The commenter also seemed to imply that there was something to be read into the reasons for moving the meeting after the initial reluctance. Regardless of the reason why, Barbara Gerrard chose to do the right thing and move the meeting into the largest space available. Why question her motives?

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