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Marquette Neighborhood Association Board And Donald Trump’s White House Press Operations

January 23, 2019

This week a most unfortunate and troubling news story was reported by the major networks and newspapers.

Donald Trump said that he directed White House press secretary Sarah Sanders “not to bother” with press briefings because he believes that reporters are rude to her and that most members of the media will not cover the administration fairly.

If Trump can not control the message and dictate behavior then he will pull the plug on press briefings.  Childish behavior that is damaging to the nation.

With that in mind I had to smile this evening when reading the latest posting by Marquette Neighborhood Association President Lynn Lee to the local list-serve.

“….this discussion group has been a great way to communicate with the neighborhood, but has also been stressful, lots of negativity, and quite frankly, not something that really promotes what the essence of MNA strives to do in the neighborhood……Times have changed, we have many other options to do this, and without the negativity that the list serve seems to promote.   MNA will continue to post meeting times, agendas, and important information to the neighborhood on the Yahoo discussion group going forward.   We simply won’t be responsible for moderating the discussion or have MNA attached to the group.”

The ‘negativity’ mentioned by Lee can be summed up, at times, as a request for an open and transparent process concerning how the Board conducts meetings and takes executive actions on matters before the body.

I am old-fashioned in that I believe the ayes and nays of all actions at meetings taken by the Board should be recorded and announced to the membership.  How does a community member know who to support, or not support, at the next elections if there is a complete absence in the record of their positions when seeking office?  Yet that request has been met with a stunning refusal from the Board.  Also the process of openness would be enhanced if the actual vote tally outcomes of board elections were made public.

I come from a home where for 44 years my father served as an elected official in town government. Some of the monthly meetings were held around the table in our kitchen when I was a boy.  I know a thing or two about the reasons an elected official needs to be accountable for actions and votes taken.  It is a lesson that does not get old, nor does it stop serving a purpose.

While the Board can take any action it desires in relation to the moderating (or not) of the Yahoo group it is most troubling (or telling) that when presented with frank and honest assessments the first reaction is to label it as “lots of negativity”.   That response strikes too close to the usual tone of what comes from the current White House.  It is also not what I would hope for from what is advertised as a progressive neighborhood.

I am quite sure that Yahoo groups are as popular with today’s social media users as CDs are with teenagers who wish to listen to music.  So Lee would be correct to say there are other options which can be used to communicate with the public.  The issue is not the platform chosen to communicate, but the lack of an open and fair process.

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