Forum, May 9: SRO article leaves out key information

Published: 5/9/2022 6:01:44 AM
Modified: 5/9/2022 6:00:05 AM
SRO article leaves out key information

The Valley News’ April 30 article “School board extends campus cop” omits important information regarding the recent Lebanon School District votes as well as the conduct of the board meeting. Regarding the votes: The article states that citywide votes showed that the community was divided on the school resource officer issue. However, it does not note that in both cases, the city voted to discontinue the program. It also neglects to mention that in this year’s election, 56% of those who voted decided that the SRO program should end.

Regarding the conduct of the meeting: In an overly long letter read during the board’s discussion while no other letters were read, former board member Tammy Begin attempted to dismiss the vote due to low voter turnout. Well, if low voter turnout nullifies the vote, then I guess anyone elected and any decisions made, including the decision to approve the school district’s renovation plan, are not valid.

The article also fails to mention that during the meeting, former police chief and now City Manager Shaun Mulholland advised the board that if they did not continue the SRO program, the city could no longer pay for the school district’s crossing guards. I agree with board member Vallejo-Sorensen’s assessment: What does one have to do with the other? It is difficult to see the statement from Mulholland as anything less than an attempt to influence the decision of the board.

It is also difficult understand why the Valley News declined to provide this information to its readers and to the Lebanon community.

Kathleen Beckett


High-quality journalismpresents all sides

What Skip Sturman advocates in his recent op-ed piece (“The case for enlightened political journalism,” April 14) is a case in point of what’s already wrong with political journalism today. Newspapers have endorsed political candidates since their inception, but what we’ve seen in recent years is frankly over the top blatant political bias. Sturman seems to suggest that journalists take it one step further and editorialize in the body of “hard news” stories, jettisoning “both sides” reporting that considers every side of an issue. One-sided reporting influences outcomes of elections by completely suppressing/censoring alternatives to party-line talking points that favored candidates espouse. This op-ed contrasts conflicts between “climate change science vs. climate change denial” and “rampant voter fraud vs. (practically) nonexistent voter fraud.”

To this I respond that pure science is open to revelation of new evidence as opposed to maintaining stare decisis (legal term for “Don’t confuse me with facts — my mind is made up”). Only fools refuse to change their minds when confronted with new evidence, and there are reputable scientists on both sides of the climate change issue. Regarding election fraud, clear evidence has surfaced of election irregularities in certain states — maybe not sufficient to have changed national outcomes in 2020, but disturbing nonetheless and unworthy of being ignored if Americans truly want “free and fair elections” in the future. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts and, inconveniently for some, this works in both directions. Sturman’s piece strongly infers that all offenses are those of conservatives and Republicans.

Even if every 2020 vote was legitimately cast and counted (and there’s some evidence to the contrary), media bias swayed voters’ minds. Sturman’s question, “And what would it look like if journalists became partisans for democracy?” is extremely telling as that’s exactly what’s been happening, and if it continues Americans will be further steeped in partisan propaganda. One-sided journalism can’t be termed “enlightened” if it engenders a travesty of justice in the court of public opinion. Voters need to be entrusted with all available information so they can intelligently decide.

William A. Wittik


Beware over-mulching

Mulch looks nice, but if it is touching your trees and shrubs, it will shorten their lives. Over-mulching is a persistent trend, and unfortunately, when wealthy towns and professionally landscaped businesses and apartment buildings pay to have mulch volcanoes placed around their trees, it may make people think that’s the way it ought to be.

The area where the trunk curves into the roots should always be visible at the base of a tree. If the root flare is covered by dirt or mulch, new, higher roots may grow in response, but these weaken the trunk, possibly girdling the tree in time, and invite insects and rot. Your tree’s bark can do its job alone. You don’t put wool sweaters on your sheep, right?

Don’t take my word for it; Google “over-mulching.” As for why professionals keep doing this faster and easier yet damaging practice, that remains a mystery.

Susan K. Johnson


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