Saturday, March 10, 2012

Political Progress

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W

This week has seen several blows to my political cynicism.

  • The local newspaper contacted the City about Captain Jack.  They city promptly agreed to drop the 32 foot minimum length for fee purposes, returning Jack's monthly fee to the previous value.  (Previous attempts by me and others to intercede for Jack were met by silence.)
  • Another source agreed to cover Jack's shortage on fees for at least a year into the future.
  • Libby convinced a local store to carry Jack's paintings as a regular item, featuring the local colorful painter.  Also, today at booth at the Marathon Seafood Festival is selling Jack's paintings, as well as Libby's and Sandra's pine needle baskets.
  • On Thursday, another local paper carried a nearly full-page length op-ed on the anchoring rights issue written by Dick on Endeavor.
  • On Friday city agreed to reconsider the alternate fee schedule proposed by Dave on Orion Jr.  They further agreed to hold a meeting on the subject at the city marina.  It's not clear if "the subject" means only the fees, excluding the larger issue of anchoring rights.  Still, that's progress.
So, I'll have to swallow some cynicism.  However, I also note the power of the press.  I wonder if we shouldn't have started by lobbying the press instead of the government.    

There has been much hand wringing in the journalism industry in recent years.  They fear that the Internet is making them obsolete.  They fear for their business models.   I've read dozens of articles, and listened to dozens of radio programs on the topic.  Never once did I hear mentioned the role of the press in acting as an ombudsman for the public and lobbying government on our behalf.   If we don't like to subscribe to their publications, perhaps we should send them donations in lieu of giving money to political parties.


  1. Independent news sources would help. So many are owned by large corporations. Using the public airwaves for broadcasting used to require so many hrs of community service. This gave us the evening news, but the requirement was lifted, and now evening news programs are nothing but ads for drug companies, etc.
    Good to read of you and others caring for Captain Jack. We may find ourselves in the same situation some day.
    Sodus Pt NY

  2. After a career in journalism, I don't think I'd donate to a newspaper as a charity. None is. But it's wise to take your concerns to a reporter. If you can find one who understands your issue and you're able to strike a spark in him or her, you are, probably, far better off than going directly to a politician. But you'd be well served to know something about the reporter's work, whether she or he has followed up on stories and written stories that have made a difference. Having said this, I'm suggesting you violate my number one rule with the press: Never talk to a reporter. You have to be certain they are making no assumptions. We reporters often do without knowing it.


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