Some things I'd like to see happen in 2007

December 31, 2006|by LIZ THOMPSON

As the last hours of 2006 fade away, this is a good time to reflect on our hopes and dreams for the New Year.

What I really mean is, I want to make resolutions for other people, and I'm really hoping and dreaming they will stick to them in 2007.

Here goes:

· Resolve not to use your cell phone in public bathrooms.

Cell phones don't usually bother me. I would rather you didn't talk on your phone while driving, but I've done it, so who am I to question the necessity? I don't care if you use it in a public restaurant. There's plenty of other background noise and I'm not sitting at your table watching you be rude to anyone sitting with you, so go ahead.

But I really think we've gone too far when I find myself in a public restroom listening to you talk to someone about what you bought at the store the night before.


· Resolve not to tailgate under any circumstances.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if people didn't tailgate? People would arrive at work in better moods. Young children would not learn bad words from their behind-the-wheel parents. Teenage drivers would learn the first rule of road respect instead of a surefire way to spark a case of road rage.

I hate to look in my rearview mirror at night and not be able to see the headlights of the car behind me because it is so close to my bumper. A reporter here used to tell me not to worry about anyone behind me. His philosophy was, "If they hit you from behind, it's their fault." I can't help it. I look.

· The Hagerstown City Council will start talking to newspaper reporters and editors when they have an issue with coverage.

I heard some members of the council took exception to my last column. The reporter covering the meeting that followed the column told me about it. Otherwise, I would not have known. I don't watch Channel 6.

Apparently, a couple of council members thought I was wrong when I wrote a column saying they should interview in public the applicants to fill a vacant council seat. They had planned to conduct one interview in public and one in executive session. I disagreed in the column and said all of the interviews should be public.

As it turns out, following the public interviews, the council selected Martin Brubaker. They didn't hold interviews in executive session.

But at the meeting after the column ran in the paper, a couple of council members took exception to the column and to newspaper coverage.

Sometimes, when each council member is given time to raise issues at the end of the meeting, one or more will use the time to talk about the newspaper. One council member or another will gripe about something we wrote. For future reference, our phone number here is 301-733-5131. My extension is 7682.

· People will read a story before they call in here to complain about it.

I can't tell you how many times I get a call that begins, "I didn't see it, but I heard you had a story that said ..."

If you hear about a story and you don't have the newspaper, go online to and you can read it there. Then call me to complain about it.

· Store clerks will actually look at you when you go to pay for something. This might be related to the cell phone resolution, but have you noticed how many clerks are talking on the phone or to each other when you go to check out? They ring up your purchases, accept your cash or credit card, and then bag it all and never once look at you or speak to you. Amazing.

I know these resolutions might seem unrealistic. But maybe fewer people will tailgate.

Liz Thompson is city editor of The Herald-Mail. She can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7682, or by e-mail at

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