Letters to the editor - 6/27/03

June 27, 2003

Metzner is right

To the editor:

I would like to congratulate Hagerstown City Councilman Lewis Metzner in reference to taking a stand to block a homeless shelter in our downtown. A downtown should be a center for commerce, retail, restaurants, government facilities, financial institutions, high-end dense residential housing, art galleries, entertainment facilities and other businesses, which would bring people with cash to the downtown district.

Unfortunately in Hagerstown we cater to exactly the opposite type of client that we truly need for an economically successful downtown.

This is not about the need for a homeless shelter, just where it should be placed. We currently have too many free public services in our downtown district and the shelter would only encourage more. To have a successful downtown we have to attract a certain client who will enjoy spending time there, but more importantly will enjoy spending money there.


Michael Draper

Editing unwanted

To the editor:

After reading Publisher John League's article in the newspaper of June 22, I am inclined to respond.

Generally I have no complaints about your publication, however, when it comes to your editorial page and it's editor, it is another thing. Specifically I allude to the voice of the people section.

You have set down certain rules regarding this section, one of them being the word count not to exceed 250. On many occasions I see letters that far exceed that. Why? Is it because the subject just happens to be something that the editor agrees with or is it because of the signature at the end of the letter? Are certain writers afforded privileges that others can't enjoy?

Secondly, I take exception to the fact that the editor reserves the right to change and delete parts of an article. My opinion as to why he does this is because he disagrees with what is written or he is protecting a certain person or organization.

Most recently I wrote an article about the installation of parking meters at handicapped areas. I laid the responsibility for this act right where it should have been laid which was on MR. LINN HENDERSHOT, A MEMBER OF THE CITY COUNCIL.

This was not published. Why? Does the editor feel that HENDERSHOT should not publicly be held accountable for his action? There were other comments deleted from my submission, as a matter of fact when I read what was printed it barely resembled my letter. This has happened to most of the articles I send to you, changes and deletions have been made that makes the letter ramble and very often the key points are missed.

The letters that are written are the opinions of the public, but when they are changed they are no longer that. They have become the opinions of the editor and that is not the way a "Voice of the People" should be. That is censorship (!) or the editor saying, "I will print what I think you should say, not what you actually say."

I am told that you can be held liable for what you print. Of course you cannot print vulgarity, threats etc., but how can you be liable for printing my opinions as long as I sign my name to what I say?

Do you edit and change any of the syndicated writers opinions ? I doubt it. I find many inflammatory remarks in them. Have you ever been sued over them? The opinions of JOHN Q. PUBLIC are just as important as they are. And on local issues, they're more important.

As you can tell, I am not the greatest fan of your editorial department, I find it dictatorial and self-serving.

Letters written to you should be printed as written, not as the editor would like to see them written for whatever reason he might have. Favoritism and partiality cannot be a factor if your are going to print a page that is of, for and by the people.

You enjoy the freedom to print your thoughts and opinions as you see them. Don't "we the people" have the same right of free expression?

Please feel free to print this so long as it is not edited or changed in any way.

Ronald F. Hovis

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