Source: Sherman Publications

Keiser’s Role A column by Trevor Keiser
Tribune inspires

September 21, 2011

After wedding my lovely bride, Noell, on Sept. 3, which just happens to be the best birthday present I could get, I took a week off for a honeymoon in Chicago.

I enjoyed “The Windy City” with my wife as we enjoyed $40 steak, tourist attractions like Shedd Aquarium, and the Navy Pier, a play at Shakespeare Theatre and stores along the Magnificent Mile – way too expensive for a journalist’s wage.

I saw ties that cost $200. I joked with Noell that if I was going to pay $200 for a tie, it better be bullet proof. However, Noell did enjoy shopping in her favorite store Forever 21.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Chicago Tribune tower on Michigan Avenue, erected in 1925.

Although I didn’t step foot inside the newsroom and only stood in the lobby, I was in awe. Inscribed in the architecture are huge quotations from newspapermen through the years.

My favorite came from former Tribune editor, owner, and publisher Robert R. McCormick, “The newspaper is an institution developed by modern civilization to present the news of the day, to foster commerce and industry, to inform and lead public opinion, and to furnish that check upon government, which no constitution has ever been able to provide.”

This quote leads me to my “check upon government,” where upon my return to work I find out the public comment portion at Independence Township Board meetings was moved to the end.

I respect Clerk Barb Pallotta and agree the board is there “to conduct the business of the township,” but I feel the board is once again making a rule change on public comment based upon “the abuse” of a couple people.

Trustee Larry Rosso even admitted it.

“Most people are civil, from my experience,” Rosso said. "That’s unfortunate we have to change the rule because of certain abusers.”

While I also agree most public concerns should be handled in day-to-day operations and offices of the supervisor, clerk, and treasurer, I have been at enough meetings where citizens have something legitimate to say, concerning the entire board. Whether they saw on TV or in the Clarkston News, they should be able to say that at the beginning and not have to wait 3-5 hours until the end of the meeting.

The board can amend the rule at any given time during a meeting and if someone asks to speak before regular business on a certain topic, the board can grant them that privilege. However, it still comes off as picking and choosing what you want to hear and pushing aside what you don’t. Public criticism is part of the job as a politician. If the “slings and arrows” are too much, than you better get stronger armor.