June 11, 2008

Dissin' Denny (Hal that is)

Correcting factual errors in the local papers has long been a staple of this blog. I get angry when I see things reported incorrectly especially about local government issues. You can imagine my state when I opened yesterday's Coastland Times (CT) to find that a Hal "Benny" had addressed the Southern Shores Town Council (AKA: TTTwLMGttB or "The Town That won't Let Me Go to the Beach" for short) on the matter of their budget. Mr. "Benny" seemed particularly well informed for an apparent newcomer to SS politics. He cited interesting statistics about road maintenance and traditional town values. He, wisely in my view, urged the council to postpone their self-serving swindle (see Note below) until after the next municipal election. This wise and well informed individual clearly spoke from the heart and possibly from some experience, but how could that be since no one named Benny had ever served on council. Surely the CT reporter would recognize the previous Mayor and properly report his (or her) name....NOT.
I was not at the meeting but its strikes me that there is an individual who has all the attributes of I have ascribed to the speaker, former Southern Shores Mayor Hal DENNY . In the CT's defense Tony Sylvester, the usual reporter for SS, was not in the house and clearly the cub reporter had no idea who anyone was or why it mattered to get names right. You might think that an editor would recognize the mistake and ask the reporter for a correction but that didn't happen either. The meeting took place a week before the story ran, there was enough time to get it right,but they didn't.
Hal Denny is a friend of mine. He was Mayor when I was Mayor. We meet with some other XMayors for lunch from time to time. He deserves to be properly recognized in the only paper that covers these meetings. When people go to meetings and take time to be involved they deserve to have their names reported correctly. When people buy the paper and read the articles they deserve to know who spoke so they can judge the experience and motives of the speaker. The CT blew it on this one.
Enough of this. It is starting to sound a bit self serving (acknowledge ex-mayors). I hope the CT notes the error and corrects it in the future. Hal deserves to get credit for his wisdom. The council (and the community) would be wise to listen.

Note: "self-serving swindle" The council is considering voting to pay itself starting in July. I think elected boards should be compensated. I was when I served. I also think changes in compensation should become effective after the next election cycle to give the voters a chance to express their views on the pay. We always did that in Nags Head while I was on the board. The action by the Nags Head board in Jan of '07 voting themselves an immediate raise was wrong. Any action by the Southern Shores Council to vote immediate compensation would not serve the interests of the town and its citizens.

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