Commentary on Open Letters

By Connie Conley | April 5, 2015 | UPDATED 4:45 p.m . Our country was built on political dissent. Even in modern day California, there...

By Connie Conley | April 5, 2015 | UPDATED 4:45 p.m.

Our country was built on political dissent. Even in modern day California, there is a law. It is Government Code Section 54954.3(c): “The legislative body of a local agency shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs or services of the agency, or of the acts or omissions of the legislative body.”

Exclusively to the Elk Grove City Council, the Sacramento County Grand Jury issued a report entitled, “The Elk Grove City Council – The Handling of Political Dissent.” The grand jury recommended to citizens of Elk Grove “to closely monitor the actions of their elected officials.” As with my recent open letter to Mayor Gary Davis, though respectful, it was questioned the actions our local government. This letter was exclusive to Elk Grove News.

However, the letter was picked up by another local website whereby the comments, including the owner of the site, bashed the messenger and not the message. The owner is a holdover from Elk Grove Online (EGO) who, in my opinion, was bullish in his personal attacks, myself included, and he subsequently got kicked off the EGO. Again, in my opinion, that is not conducive to having straightforward discussions about the actions of our elected officials.

Yes, I questioned Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis which is my right as a citizen being politically active in a democracy. The other website owner was even called by one of his ardent regulars by writing, “If that had been written by anyone else, you would not take issue with it.” Good for that poster!

I emailed the owner if my letter, not to mention the author, was so repugnant to him, that he felt the need to publicly disparage the author, which he did for many years on EGO, that he remove the thread. He did not. Should I be flattered? The letter has currently garnered 429 views and 29 comments which means traffic to his website. Or maybe the owner feels the need to support Davis because he advertises on his website?

I believe the citizens of this city need a website whereby we can regularly pen our thoughts. Three minutes isn’t enough time at an Elk Grove City Council meeting during public comment. Do I wish more people would put their actual names to the comments? Yes. But it is also their right to anonymity.

However, when each of us pen our opinions, we must be remember to argue the message as the opinions are fair game. The debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open. Honest differences of views and honest debate is a strong example of democracy working.

And to respond to the owner of the other website, I end with a quote by Addison Whithecomb, “When you resort to attacking the messenger and not the message, you have lost the debate."

Copyright © 2015 by Connie Conley.

UPDATED 4:45 p.m.
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Anonymous said...

Quote....The grand jury recommended to citizens of Elk Grove that we “closely monitor the actions of their elected officials.”

I have found that to be very important and thanks to many on this web site, that is being done. As to the other web site...not to worry, they seem to have become a mouthpiece for the city now. Duplicate reporting.......

As to "shoot the messenger", that is nothing more than cheap-shots and only shows how much they really know about the facts. It was just a short time ago when I read their brutal attack on Sarah Johnson. Someone who most likely has forgotten more about the city than they will ever know. One lesson we maybe should all remember is, shooting the messenger can maybe take you where EGO has now gone...a National web site! No local news/comments reported for a long time.

As for Ms. Connie...we've certainly had our differences and those were aired privately as they should be. Best to address the message here, not the messenger!

Warren Buffet said...

The sad part about this is the person whom the letter was addressed to, apparently failed to respond-- and the peanut gallery who had no part in the story, hijacked it attempted to discredit the messenger. Is there more to this than meets the eye?

Lynn said...

Attacking the messenger was an attempt to distract and sideline. Once again citizens questions are not answered....

We cannot allow the "distractions" of attacks to keep residents from addressing our council with questions regarding policy decisions.

It is "our" money this council spends!

It is "our taxes" this council spends.

It is "our town" this council plans with the direction of developers.

Connie this is a great article. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Comments kinda lost me...what are you people talking about anyway? I didn't see any attempt to discredit, distract and sideline anyone...GEEZ!

Anonymous said...

It happened on another site, not here. I am guessing most of us watched it unfold.

Steve L said...

The owner of this "other site" seems to have an issue with just about anyone who doesn't share HIS views of the world. Regularly, he treats his contributors poorly, ridiculing and degrading their views and comments. To his credit though, he's not discriminatory. Pretty much everyone with exception of a very few of his cronies have been victims, yet many of these masochists continue to remain on the site. To each his own.

Man's inhumanity to man never really seems to surprise me anymore. It is very sad though. You'd think as adults we could all respect other's views, whether we agree with them or not. We can certainly agree to disagree without attacking. That's pretty juvenile for an adult reaction.

Thanks Dan for this forum, a place where people can comment freely without fear from attack. Civility lives on in some places, for that I'm thankful.

Oh yeah, the original poster made some very valid points in her article, but that's just MHO.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 13:08...OK, I now have found and see what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

When and in what regard did the grand jury recommend the citizens monitor the actions of our elected officials? I would be interested to learn more.

Anonymous said...

Can someone post the link to the Grand Jury report? I'm curious about the subject matter of the complaint(s) that rose to the level of a Grand Jury investigation.

Elk Grove News said...

Here are links to Sacramento County Grand Jury reports relating to Elk Grove.

I am not sure which one contain the information referenced in one of the comments posted above. Hope this helps.


CeCe Pederson said...

One cannot help but notice the irony with regard to the "owner of the other site." The owner has contacted EGUSD School Board member Ms. Singh-Allen to combat bullying when he in fact is one of the biggest online bullies in Elk Grove. Bullying is bullying, whether of a child or an adult.

Karma's a bad MF'er and the come around doesn't usually strike you but a loved one. It is always good to remember that you reap the good you sow as well as the evil.

Anonymous said...

LMBO....he just can't help stepping in the stuff. Just threw a hard one at some of the people who shop at Costco...."4 generations of families eating at the buffet, er I mean food tasting stations". Seems he considers most to be beneath him...very unflattering!

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