Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whose soap-box is it? Burney blame-game compels Dan's response.

Burney claimed to have been left out, though it wasn't so.
With all the serious stuff going on in Plainfield and the world, Councilor Rashid Burney had to go and kick off his 'NO-BLAME CAMPAIGN' for civic improvement by throwing a hissyfit, BLAMING Dan for not giving him star billing in CLIPS' Sunday headline (see Burney email and Dan's response here).

Burney's tantrum, combined with some whiny (and unpublished) comments by various supporters of laissez-faire in Mayor Robinson-Briggs' policies and in defense of the selling OUT (not to mention the possible selling OFF) of Plainfield's true interest by various and sundry 'public servants' lead me to the conclusion it is time to define yet again whose SOAP-BOXES CLIPS and PLAINFIELD TODAY are.

Today, I take up


A little background. CLIPS got its start way back in 2005, when I was still a city employee, as an
INTERNAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER for City Council and administration members, keeping them abreast of news items about Plainfield appearing in the media and available for reading ONLINE. It became a BLOG in November of that year (see the first post here).

When I retired, I continued it in the same vein -- gathering together news items about Plainfield or of interest to Plainfielders (from my perspective) -- as one of my two PERSONAL BLOGS.

Over the years it has grown and changed and as Council members and others have joined the local blogosphere, I have tried to keep abreast of the wealth of expression Plainfielders engage in.

Having run a successful mail-order business (in historic preservation, which is what brought me to Plainfield in 1983 in the first place), I try to craft the 'headline' at the top of each post in such a way as to encourage readers to 'tear open the envelope' to get at the news.

Reader 'Rob' has sometimes zinged me for thus luring him with the headlines, but he has never complained the articles weren't worth reading or didn't supply what the teaser copy promised (though perhaps not in the exact way he expected).

I'd like to think that's part of what makes
CLIPS interesting and draws constantly increasing numbers of readers.

But Blogger, the platform on which things run, had a limitation until recently in the amount of text that could be put in a headline. That limitation forced me to choose the most interesting stories from that day's blog posts, prioritize them, and condense the gist of them to fewer characters than even Twitter allows (140).

Recent improvements in Blogger have relieved that pressure somewhat, but I still try to keep the headline to about three lines of text, so as not to overwhelm the 'skimmers'.

There is no contract between Dan and the bloggers. I just am happy to steer traffic to each and every one when they have a fresh post. I try to give Councilors a hit in the headline (by the way, Councilor Burney is the only Council member who DOES NOT send me a courtesy heads-up email to advise they have a new post), but even so their posts may be judged to be not as gripping as one of the other regular bloggers -- which is why you see Bernice, Olddoc and Maria prominently featured every day.

In any event, to get to ANY blogger's post, the reader has to go down to the green typeface paragraph where the bloggers most recent posts are featured. The only way folks would have gotten to Councilor Burney's post from yesterday's CLIPS would have been to go there -- just like any other day. So, Burney wasn't overlooked, nor was he cheated of those readers who would want to follow what he says, despite his complaint about 'a small line in the middle' (about which he never previously complained).

Burney added a clarification (if not a correction) to his post.

Did Burney's post merit marquee treatment?

As editor-in-chief I didn't think so.

The 'no-blame' pledge is an interesting concept (not well-grounded in American history, I might add), but if you read Burney's post carefully, it's more focused on him and his patting himself on the back for 'working with everybody' than on proposing how he is going to actually TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING IT HAPPEN in Plainfield.

Secondly, I've had experience of Councilor Burney and his support of the Citizen Campaign's ideas.

Take, for instance, the CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY ACT, which was supposed to make volunteering for, and serving on, Plainfield's many boards and commissions easier and more transparent. Can Councilor Burney explain why it is still not in force -- after several years -- WITHOUT BLAMING anyone?

Editorial call? An interesting post, but no headline cigar.

I overhead a mother whose young son was throwing a tantrum in the supermarket the other day. Gripping his arm tightly and steering him toward the checkout, she said through clenched teeth, 'Just wait 'til you get home, young man'.

We're all adults, and I don't have to threaten Concilor Burney with what will happen when he gets home. He'll only have the blog's readers to face.

Will that be punishment enough?

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Anonymous said...

Looks like blaming to me Dan

Rob said...

Yes...and to this day...your headlines have stopped my heart for a minute and caused me great glee...only to open it and say, " Damn you Dan !! " lol.
Per Burney...ugh..why bother..lame duck council member finishing out his term that went from man of the people to Jerry and Sharon's man.

Anonymous said...

How come Burney didn't suggest giving up benefits during all the six years he was on the council? He has gotten very expensive benefits for his wife and daughter (neither of whom work for the city, last I heard) to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars over the course of his council years. Now they will have to make do like the rest of us. Boo hoo for him. He didn't mention giving up HIS benefits in 2009 and the financial situation of the city was bad then too. He didn't mention it as a cost-saving measure while he was running against Rebecca either. It seems he just throwing a hissy fit because he LOST the election. I bet if he had won he wouldn't be saying this. Hypocrite. I do agree though that the council and the mayor and the PMUA should not receive any benefits paid by the residents.

Anonymous said...

To 11:06--are you suggesting that employees of PMUA not receive benefits? I hope you don't mean that! But Council members and PMUA Board members definitely shouldn't.