OPINION: Troublemaker? Troublemaker!

Sunday’s editorial contained “dream headlines” for 2016. Twentieth on the list: “Troublemakers stop showing up at commission meetings, admit they were only doing it for attention.”

That provoked a hard swallow. I may resemble that remark. And I won’t apologize.

As I sit down at the Saline County Commission meeting, I say hello to fellow troublemakers. We share a few things in common. We believe in open meetings and open records. We want the public to be informed. So, if discussions are one sided, we express our opinions, often in letters to the editor.

While I think the Journal does an overall excellent job of covering the news, I feel the need to document the meetings elsewhere . . . because there have been times when the Journal hasn’t sent a reporter, or limits the inches that can be devoted to a story.

Last year, the Journal “whipped up” interest in building a new Road & Bridge shop. In two stories, the new R&B Director was interviewed and building deficiencies were detailed. Curiously, the Journal was not present when County Commissioners toured the facility with City Fire Marshall and Building Inspector in tow. Nineteen deficiencies were noted and are being promptly corrected. Multiple years have elapsed since the Fire Marshall inspected the R&B shop . . . but that doesn’t prompt inquiry.

That’s just one example. The Sheriff’s Office has skyrocketing costs and an increasing jail population. The Health Department’s efforts to increase the public’s awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, outside of an initial press release on a syphilis outbreak, are imperceptible. Beth Clarkson, a statistician, is raising concerns about the kind of voting machines we use in Saline County; she spoke at K State Polytechnic’s November civics luncheon. But, you won’t read about these in The Journal.

So, the Journal labels concerned citizens “troublemakers”. In Owen Wister’s masterpiece, when Trampas (the villain) slurs the Virginian, he replies “when you call me that, SMILE.”

Opinion by: Karen Shade, TMASCC (troublemaking, attention-seeking, concerned citizen)