Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Scott Stanford is general manager of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Call him at 970-871-4202 or email sstanford@SteamboatToday.com
In honor of the holiday, I'm breaking out the "notes" column.
A little newspaper insider information: a notes column is a columnist's cop-out. It means the columnist doesn't have 400 words on a single topic but can string together 75 to 100 words on three or four subjects. Lookey there, I'm already up to 55.
- I want to thank the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Steamboat Springs School Board. I approached both this week about the language they used to go into executive, or secret, session. Heretofore, both boards had taken to citing the statute authorizing the session without stating the reason more specifically. State law requires that the statute be stated and that the matter be identified "in as much detail as possible." After pointing out the law, both boards readily agreed to use more specific language before meeting behind closed doors.
- Mike Luppes, school superintendent in Hayden, does not like our use of the word "secret" as a substitute for "executive," according to his letter published Sunday. He thinks we are trying to suggest wrongdoing on the part of area boards. Let me be clear - we do not suspect any local board of wrongdoing, and we understand that executive sessions are allowed by law and are sometimes necessary. However, "secret" (which means to keep from public knowledge) is a far better adjective than "executive" for such sessions, and we will continue to use "secret" to describe them.
- We have received half a dozen or so complaints from Oak Creek residents in the past week. Their concerns? We're not making the case strong enough that Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman should not be the town's mayor. They are particularly upset that we held an online chat with Rodeman and published a transcript of that chat last week.
I think the criticism is unfair. I would remind residents of Oak Creek that the Steamboat Pilot & Today has published eight editorials during Rodeman's 4 1/2-year tenure as mayor. All of the editorials were critical of Rodeman-led decisions. We have challenged the hiring of Rodeman as the town's grant writer, the elimination of the town manager position, the dismantling of the police department, the process used to build the town's ice rink, efforts to raise the mayor's salary and the nastiness of the 2004 mayoral campaign. Yet, despite such criticism, the town has chosen Rodeman overwhelmingly in contested elections in 2002, 2004 and again this year. If Oak Creek residents are unhappy with the current state of affairs, I suggest that instead of looking to the newspaper, they look in the mirror. Ditto goes for finding a solution.
- Our Friday newspaper is likely to be 64 pages. Earlier this year, on the Friday before Labor Day, we published the largest Steamboat Today ever - 80 pages. Advertising dictates the size of the newspaper - the more ads, the more pages. Typically, the largest newspapers of the year are on the Fridays before Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day, and the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Finally, Happy Thanksgiving. I love me some Thanksgiving, if for no other reason than the sweet potato pie. I understand some of y'all don't like sweet potato pie. I'm cool with that - it means more for me. Could somebody pass the Cool Whip?
Scott Stanford's From the Editor column appears Thursdays in the Steamboat Today.