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Blogs are messy, but informative

Your newspaper reports (“John Q. Cyberspace,” April 16) that our village leaders are conflicted about the (new) media. And there is “belly aching and whining” going on in the (new) media. And some of the information in the (new) media is likely “biased, irrelevant and inaccurate.” LOL (laugh out loud).

I first logged on to forestparkforums.com a few months before our 2007 village council election, as I didn’t feel enough informed. Village meetings and the weekly newspaper simply didn’t provide the broad and detailed picture I wanted. Two months ago I branched out to the national blogs and news sites for the same reason, and in both cases, to effect change.

Are you seriously confounded that political participation by regular citizens via message boards, news sites and blogs is working, i.e. they are compelling and successful?

In a democracy citizen involvement is essential. Media and government have long pleaded with, cajoled and threatened the citizenry to get involved in the dialogue and the process. Well, it has happened, it is not going away and it can be messy.

The real issue is that “politics on the Web” is not controlled in any traditional sense – not by government nor by the main stream media, which leads to the two major issues you identify.

Who would not agree that blogging is “still being ironed out?” Anyone can do it, and they do. The problem is not that everybody does it, but that some folks are not sincerely interested in a civil discussion or have ulterior motives. I suspect you have run into these problems outside of the blogosphere.

Any serious blogger or commenter acknowledges this headache. And it accounts for much of your criticism. Many of the national blogs have full-time paid moderators to keep abusers off their sites.

Forestparkforums, on the other hand is a small message board for a small town. It has a handful of members that voluntarily moderate.

You write that bloggers and regular posters do not appear to “take an active role in trying to effect change” and we don’t actually participate in our local government. Naughty, naughty – is that a rumor or just “biased and inaccurate” reporting? You could have easily worked your theory a bit by contacting any of “the regulars” via e-mail on FPF. Why didn’t you?

That question leads directly to a second issue. Why are our leaders and newspaper editors distancing themselves from FPF?

C’mon. Toughen up. And knock off the pristine posturing. I agree it can be messy, but it’s a bit rich having the media and politicians playing holier than thou.

No one with proper intentions condones abusers – whether in village government, village newspapers or village message boards. And I’m certainly not sorry the powers that be cannot completely control their message.

FPF and other boards/blogs are not easy, but offer essential information and tools not available elsewhere. A messy gift to democracy that I will not do without.

As one blogger recently posted, “For good or ill, the blogosphere is the new kitchen table.”

If readers have thoughts about my thoughts, write a letter for next week’s newspaper, post your opinion on this newspaper’s website or go to forestparkforums.com for the discussion.

Sharon Daly
Forest Park

17 years, one deed

It is too bad that officer Murphy chose to enter the guilty plea (“Badge stripped, officer faces jail time,” April18 Web extra). There are a lot of average cops on the streets. Good cops are hard to come by and this brings me to the one point: is one wrong going to wipe out all the benefit our community has received by this man doing very good things for 17 years? I am sure the victim was emotionally and physically hurt by a wrong decision on Murphy’s part but, can’t we handle the victim’s grief and suffering in another manner?

Let’s not lose our community’s precious resources – good cops – doing their best when it comes to making estimates and judgments on how to handle situations. Hope officer Murphy can move on and learn from this unfortunate situation, as well as the man in front of the store.

Jane Cigir
Forest Park

Thanks for the view

This is ridiculous (“Townhouse proposal goes down again,” April 16). I live in the condo building just north of the vacant lot and have had the pleasure of seeing a trash heap in my backyard for the past two years. It is obvious that single-family homes are not feasible on lots that back onto Harlem Avenue.

Richard Hansford
Forest Park

Case reveals a hero

Sgt. Murphy did the right thing by pleading guilty and saving the state the money a trial would have cost. But officer Grimes is the true hero here by telling the truth. Officer Grimes’ encounter with Sidney Hooks before Sgt. Murphy got involved, and his statement of the facts, should make all Forest Park residents proud.

Barbara Plona
Forest Park