When we’re talking public bodies, who gets to say, “enough’s enough” and then ban public dialogue at a public meeting?
This being the United States, intuition might tell you that no one does. If it’s a public body and a public meeting, then the public gets to talk. But, for starters, you’d be wrong here in Ohio where the law provides for a right to attend public meetings, but it does not provide for the public to have a right to participate or comment.
Punctuating the (perceived mis)use of a similar power, but in this case in New York, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy have sued the town of Sanford’s board for its September 2012 resolution that bans public comment on fracking:
The resolution said: “It is the determination of this Board that hereafter no further comment will be received during the public participation portion of this or any future meeting regarding natural gas development,” until the state’s environmental review was done.
Not so unreasonable?
Read the rest and start a conversation about it. Should electeds get to ban the public from what they can discuss?
Very very unfortunate for everyone that Debe Terhar did not take the advice of the Anti-Defamation League when it explicitly wrote:
As a public figure she should know better. We hope that Ms. Terhar will retract the comparison and apologize. She should make clear that Holocaust comparisons are inappropriate and a terrible distortion of the history of World War II.
Thanks to reporter Matt Bruning’s tweet from this morning’s Ohio Board of Education meeting, you can read precisely what Ms. Terhar had to say – and you will not see the words “Hitler” “Holocaust” “history” or “World War II” in it:
This is incredibly unfortunate – that in a state of 11 million people, and at least 3 million children in public school, the person who is the president of our public government body charged specifically with improving public education in Ohio (I read the ORC on their duties last night), Debe Terhar continues to refuse to see or perhaps just lacks the competency to see how the content of her Facebook posting is the problem, not her “mistake” for sharing it somewhere where the public might see it. Her characterizing the Facebook posting as “hasty” contradicts her prior statements that said she was only trying to get people to be thinking.
This is incredibly bad precedent to set. How on earth will Debe Terhar have the ability now to lead the board to a “healthy consensus” for kids’ best interests, let alone judge with any credibility what far lower level education system people do given that she’s suffered zero consequences?
Although I absolutely do not question the integrity of a number of individual members of the State Board of Education and in fact am grateful for their speaking out and stepping up, I have no faith in the entity’s credibility so long as Debe Terhar is its leader. This is not what Ohio needs or deserves if it wants to play the game of attracting people here. Education is almost always the first thing many people look at when considering where to live. Her inability to recognize the wrongness of referencing Hitler as she did, whether the public sees it or not but simply as a matter of what educated people should not do, chills me to the bone and I know it affects many, many people the exact same way.
Scary, scary stuff at the top of education system.
As if we needed any more evidence as to why the Civic Commons wants its users to agree to be “civil” before engaging online, a Columbus Dispatch editorial declared last week, in regard to a social media incident involving the state Board of Education president, “This H-bomb is a dud: Invoking Hitler is unlikely to be a winning political strategy” and a highly regarded expert on online politicking likewise wrote of the same incident, “…dropping the H-bomb pretty much destroys the intellectual credibility of the dropper…”. That H-bomb, and many other words and utterances of name-calling, are the nuclear bomb equivalents of destroying any chance for meaningful, useful dialogue. And that is the opposite of what the Civic Commons seeks to promote.
Of course, linguistic laziness in unpacking and examining controversial topics isn’t committed solely by people in the poltiical arena. Last year, a food industry CEO apologized for comparing President Obama’s health care reform efforts to fascism because, as he admitted, the word “fascism” has “…so much baggage attached to it.” He went on to say that he thinks we need a new word to describe what he sees as the country, “…no longer hav[ing] free-enterprise capitalism in health care…[because t]he government is directing it.
Read the full post here.
Filed Under Politics | Comments Off
I’ve been thinking on this situation for three days now and I’ve had many, many thoughts. (Basic recap: Ohio’s State Board of Ed prez, Debe Terhar, shared on her Facebook page a photo of Hitler that is accompanied by this quote, “Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’ — Adolf Hitler.” This quote has been debunked. Since its posting a few days ago, she’s taken down her Facebook page but is refusing to step down from the board or from the position of president of the board.)
Here are a few thoughts:
1. I work on a daily basis to get public officials to engage with, you know, the public. I don’t want less engagement between those two sets of stakeholders. I’m also an elected official, so I live this as well.
2. Engagement, like democracy, can be dangerous for public officials who do not comprehend that online engagement in particular wants to be public and, like heat seeking the highest points, engagement seeks out public forums.
4. I’m in my ninth year of engaging online and I trust its self-correcting nature, for me and for others. It’s why I don’t demonize it. But it requires humility and acceptance as well as confidence to stand up for what you’ve placed online, however you placed it there (including your original words or *just* sharing a photo or quote from another source, which then is open to being scrutinized, for that’s part of what social networking is all about – scrutinizing the networks of people or organizations we view online in order to understand the otherwise one-dimensional representations of themselves that they’ve placed online with their name attached to or affiliated with it) or apologize for it and explain yourself. If you are not prepared to do any of that, then get training before you engage online. If you are not capable of or don’t agree in doing any of that, please do not enter public office. Public office in the 21st century demands people who accept the public part and the public part, in the 21st century, includes the online public.
Now, here’s a little free advice Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:29 pm January 24th, 2013 in Politics | Comments Off
Many political candidates don’t just have a fear of commitment. They have a fear of engagement. But with 2013 being a local government election year, voters should pull no punches in putting the question about committing to public engagement to the people who want their votes. Contrary to the immortal words of the ultimate Meatloaf song, we can’t just sleep on it. We want to know: what’s it gonna be, yes or no?
So often, we clamor to know how a candidate will vote on an issue he or she hasn’t yet faced. We provide hypothetical circumstances that we want them to imagine are real. Sure, plenty of politicians pick and choose issues about which they will shake their fist and blurt out a reliable yes or no (consider how few elected folks waffled on the Affordable Care Act; most knew what they wanted, the issue was whether they’d vote for what came before them). But mostly, we’ve come to accept as routine a refusal to comply with such a demand. It’s truly rare to see courage rear it’s head and and expose itself through the voice of a political wannabe as he or she, instead, silently calculates the local vote count that can be earned by resisting commitment.
Now, with the fear of engagement, there is hope. At least, I have hope.
Read about why I have hope here and add you thoughts in the accompanying conversation.
This topic is all the rage this week. Use the comments for discussion. Again, I go back to the esteemed Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor (comes at the 30 second mark) and their comments to Diane Sawyer in 2010. Btw, the whole clip is worthwhile to recall just how hard reaching parity has been and how nonpartisan this issue is:
Nine. I love that answer.
The video’s up for the most recent Feagler & Friends appearance:
I swish my hair too much, but I also never get seated in the last spot – see, Michael Heaton’s hair doesn’t have to swish at all – well, you know, Michael – the hair that’s there?
I’ve been writing for a lot of other places – I know. From my post-election night BlogHer column:
What might the United States political world look like in 2016? The predictions began to roll in even before 2012 votes were counted, with Vice President Joe Biden being one of the first to tease about being a candidate — for something — in that year.
My first thought is, just how long is four years anyway? In four years, my second of three children will be starting college and my youngest will be a high school freshman. My own re-election for City Council, should I choose to run again, is next year — and for me, that’s a nine-month birthing event as it is since, with kids, a full-time job, being on Council now and still doing writing and speaking. In case President Obama’s win didn’t demonstrate this axiom enough, planning a campaign out in excrutiating detail is mandatory if you also want to plan on winning.
Only 1458 days left until Election Day 2016! Go read the full post here and get ready!
Back in 2008, I spent a night in the NPR DC blogger warroom with a bunch of other social media political junkies – here’s one post from that evening. And this year, I’m very excited to again be part of the social media activity at NPR’s DC headquarters. They’ve posted a very nice intro to the occasion here, including the twitter handles and names of all my compatriots who’ll be there.
How can you follow along? Several ways:
1. On Twitter, search on the #nprmeetup hashtag
2. Follow me on Twitter – @jillmz
3. Check out the Twitter list, https://twitter.com/JuanSaaa/npr-election-night
Now, if you really want to dig in, the Civic Commons backchannel live-chat with my colleagues Dan Moulthrop, Jason Russell and probably a few others will be the place to be. You can follow that action here. If you haven’t had civic engagement courtesy of a Civic Commons backchannel conversation, you will not want to miss it there tomorrow night.
At NPR, we’re going to have a chance to meet Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie, if anyone has any questions, and Andy Carvin, NPR’s senior social media strategist, really is a rock star in his own right for many reasons but perhaps he’s best known for his coverage of the political and civil movements in North Africa and across the Middle East.
From the very engaged, ever-active, nonpartisan The 2012 Project:
Women currently hold 73 House seats and 17 Senate seats and make up 17 percent of the US Congress. In this election, there are a record 163 women nominees for House and 18 for Senate. The 2012 Project’s campaign to hit “20 Percent in 2012″ requires women to hit 87 House seats and 20 Senate seats after Election Day.
To make the most educated guess, consult the 2012 Election Tracker. Predict how many women you think will win on Nov. 6th and be eligible to win fabulous prizes!!!
First prize: $250 Gift Card
Second prize: a Nespresso coffee machine from Nestlé
Third prize: Swag Bag from Lifetime Television
Contest deadline is Friday, November 2nd at 5:00 p.m. EST.
If you are into fantasy football, this might be for you. It is not as easy as it looks. You might also check out Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight for an assist. Not sure if I’ll give it a try – need sometime to brew over it. What does your gut say – can we break the record?
Where do you get your fix? I visit Real Clear Politics, Political Wire, Five Thirty Eight and the Huffington Post. I also check a list on twitter that aggregates multiple Ohio news sources and I read Chris Cillizza’s emailed newsletters that come from the Washington Post’s The Fix portal. I receive, in print, the Plain Dealer, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and get alerts from the first two regularly (I’m not a fan of the WSJ but I like to see what they cover and how they cover it). For my women’s political perspective needs, I access BlogHer.com, MsRepresentation, Women’s eNews, the Broad Side, Women’s Media Center and a few others.
Who and what are you trusting, liking, panning this election cycle?
I’m not part of it but you can read all about them here. It’s an impressive array indeed. I’ve added attending one of these shindigs to my bucket list, which started to form this past summer.
To follow the action on Twitter, check out #ODPatDNC #DNC2012, follow ODP folks @jeridkurtz @laurenharmon or follow the media there like @henryjgomez. I have a batch of friends who’ll be there from the women, politics and tech fields and they should be worth following too – @punditmom and @jljacobson and @rachelsklar to name a few.
The schedule is here for today/tonight and expect Wednesday and Thursdays by 10pm the night before (or so they’ve said).
I’m very sorry that I won’t be able to listen to Thursday morning’s WCPN Sound of Ideas live but I’m sure it will be excellent listening:
There’s been a lot of talk this Presidential campaign season about women’s issues. And much of the talking is being done by supporters of President Obama, who say the GOP — with its platform opposing abortion — is against women. Republican women, of course, take issue with that. A sluggish economy , which they pin on the president, is a bigger concern, they say. Defining and debating women’s issues and women’s votes, Thursday at 9:00 on The Sound of Ideas. Join Mike McIntyre for the discussion.
Connie Schultz, journalist
Charlotte Hays, director of cultural programs, Independent Women’s Forum
Justin S.Vaughn, assistant professor of political science, Boise State University
Mike McIntyre – have fun!! (No – really!)
It went FAST. It will broadcast again tomorrow (Sunday) at 11:30 on WVIZ, then Monday and Tuesday on the Ohio Channel and then the video is posted at this link where you can also find this blurb:
Newsmaker: Wade Steen, Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer—local property owners are finding out this week what their new real estate valuations are. County officials say values are down about nine per cent overall. But it will mean little, if any, tax relief. State laws that suppress millage when property values rise, bring up millage when values drop. Mr. Steen will explain how it all works.
Roundtable: Elizabeth Sullivan, editorial page editor, The Plain Dealer; Stan Bullard, senior reporter, Crain’s Cleveland Business; Jill Miller Zimon, blogger, Writes Like She Talks.
More Support for the Port—Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority’s board this week voted to take a new port levy to the ballot this fall. Money would be used to shore up the banks along the Cuyahoga River, repair bulkheads and pay for provisions to dispose of dredging material. The levy is a countywide issue, but in Cleveland will compete for attention with the Cleveland school levy.
Dimora Sentencing—former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora learns Monday how long he’ll spend in prison for his spring conviction on racketeering and bribery charges. Federal prosecutors want Judge Sara Lioi to impose a harsh sentence befitting a former official who betrayed the public trust for personal gain. Dimora’s lawyers argued for a lighter sentence given the non-violent nature of his offenses.
Aftermath in Aurora—a Monday court appearance gave the public its first glimpse of James Holmes, the accused killer of 12 people in a Colorado movie theater. While Holmes’s bizarre outer appearance—including orange-dyed hair—was on display, his inner self remains a closed book. He’s not cooperating with police and has not indicated why he started shooting. The incident has, for now, reignited the national debate over gun control and ramped up gun sales in Colorado.
A blogger wrote to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz to say he was doing an “expose” on “journalists in the elite media who socialize with elected officials they are assigned to cover.” A photo showed Schultz hugging Sen. Sherrod Brown. Schultz replied, “I am surprised you did not find a photo of me kissing” the senator — adding, he’s my husband.
More on Connie’s Facebook (yes, FB – for those who haven’t heard about or experienced how she’s embraced social networking). Other coverage: Washington Post, Slate, Patch.com. There are many others – even the Plain Dealer and U.S. News and World Report.
Short answer? None.
Long answer? Read his full analysis here. An excerpt of how he breaks it down:
Actually, Mr. Romney has a bit of a problem. The Republican women with the most traditional qualifications for the vice presidency tend to be moderates, especially on abortion choice, probably making them unacceptable to the Republican base. Another group of up-and-coming female governors and senators may not be adequately seasoned for the rigors of the campaign trail. The few exceptions are probably too old, or too controversial, to be smart choices with swing voters. It has nothing to do with their gender, but any of the women that Mr. Romney might choose would be at least a little risky.
Then again, when I watch stuff like the new Political Animals, all I can think about is how primal people’s quest for power can be. Unsavory doesn’t begin to describe it.
On Thursday evening, July 5, for the first time in over four years, I saw Barack Obama in person.The last three times I saw him, he was either just plain ole U.S. Senator Obama (2006) or Senator and presidential candidate Obama (2007, 2008). The main differences I noticed? Age, confidence, charisma, and fervor — he displayed more of all four.
You can read the transcript or watch a video of the President delivering his remarks, made at James Day Park in Parma, Ohio. This stop was his last public speaking event of the day after multiple other stops in Ohio, all part of the Obama Bus Tour, complete with Ground Force One – the tripped out rolling home for presidents (note, however, as does the Wall Street Journal, that the campaign is paying for the trip). My tweets tell the story of the Parma stop, while my journalist friend at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Henry Gomez, covered all of the Ohio visits.
Why, at this point, would anyone who follows politics as much as I do, attend one of these highly choreographed and usually tightly scripted media-ready occasions? Especially when we are on the umpteenth day of 95 degree and 95% humidity weather, with a good mix of thunderstorm threats?
[now go read the full post]
The New York Times kindly published the Declaration of Independence in print and online. You can see it here.
But as all Americans should know, there are huge chunks of our population who were not covered by that document, certainly not as fully as others. Kathy Groob has a nice post about its failure when it came to women.
And this post, by several legislators who are women, including my state senator, Nina Turner, declares the current state of how women contribute and need to continue to contribute – aggressively so – if we want to be sure that no other declarations related to this country excludes so many Americans, for so long.
How did you declare your independence, today or at any other time in your life?
Filed Under Politics | Comments Off
By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:06 am July 3rd, 2012 in Politics | Comments Off
Yeesh – I posted this one little thing on my Facebook page:
Filling up at 3.29/gal – who predicted that? And look at all the people thanking Obama after being so harsh on him when they feared the worst and thought for sure he controlled the price of gas! Oh – wait – no one is thanking him? They decided the president doesn’t control the price of gas? Well whadyaknow!? Not much, indeed.
Folks – I was being sarcastic. I don’t ever think Obama (or any single leader) had the ability, all by their lonesomes, to make the price of gas go up or down. I thought it was absurd when the news was obsessed with the tick-tock of the price going up a few months ago and I think the failure for anyone to report on the decline since then – nearly 80 cents or more in some places in two months – is equally absurd. The failure of those who were demanding that Obama “do” something about it to say anything now that the price has declined is equally unfortunate – and absolutely not surprising.
Which is why the entire chapter of gas price rhetoric should be eliminated, period.