Dear Mr. Gray:
We and so many others in our community have noticed the absence of your editorials from the New Albany Gazette. We are sorry and at the same time, appalled to know that the reason you no longer are writing them is because the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen, through the City Attorney, have threatened to sue you and Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc. for false and defamatory statements that they claim appeared in your newspaper. We do not condone lies and defamation. Free press should be about truth and justice. This is the newspaper’s enormous responsibility to uphold.
While we feel that lies and defamatory remarks have no place in the media, and that issues instead of personalities need to be tackled, we strongly believe that your editorial column should continue. After all, an editorial is an expression of your opinion on an issue, be it a controversial one or not. To us, the way our city officials have stopped you from writing your column violates freedom of the press. We feel that when your freedom to write is repressed, then our freedom and right to be informed has been taken away as well. Free press leads to an informed populace which is essential to liberty. We also strongly believe that free press is a vital weapon against corruption. We must actively engage ourselves to preserve this freedom.
Through your editorials, we have been made aware and more thoughtful of pertinent issues in our community which otherwise we would not have known anything about. Some comments have shed light on certain controversial ideas and have led us as citizens to ask questions and form educated opinions. The questions you raised and the probes you made in your editorials concerning certain issues and where our city officials stand on them, is just a constant reminder that they are indeed public servants and that they are accountable for actions taken and decisions made that affect us, their constituents and the community as a whole. We insist on sincere governance through transparency and accountability. As citizens of New Albany, we demand no less. We must be vigilant to ensure we have leadership that does not violate our public trust.
The threat they made against you and the newspaper is a way of impeding the freedom of the press and makes us wonder and ask the question: How much transparency and accountability is there in our city government?
Concerned Citizens for Community Growth
Betty R. Inis
Mary D. Patton
To the Editor:
It’s almost city election time and we, the voters, will have an opportunity to elect those whom we think will best represent us in the coming years. Have those who represented us in the past done what was fair and equal for all of us? Are you pleased with their actions, did they make wise decisions? If you think so, then vote them back in.
However, you should remember the phone call that fired someone, not a man-to-man-talk, but a phone call saying “you’re fired.” Was that an honorable action on the part of the city officials who made that call?
You should also remember that I paid a city sewer fee for many, many years and was never connected to the sewer system, but was using the septic tank installed when the house was built, before the sewer systems were installed in this subdivision. Why? Was it poor record keeping, carelessness, or somebody just didn’t care? Either way, someone did a lousy job here and no one even had the courage to apologize to me in any way; no, “sorry this happened,” or the city regrets this error, etc. Nothing, zip, zero, etc. One alderman did say, “well, you have to pay whether or not you are connected to the sewer system.”
So friends, decide what kind of person you want to represent you and the other good citizens of this town. Something like this could happen to you.
Mary (Ruth) Nolley