There are elected officials who honestly believe that “bad publicity is publicity” and getting their name in a news story – sometimes at the expense of others – will keep their name in the public mind, thus helping them get elected for another term. Nearly all of us understand that controversy in local media venues helps sell ads, so getting access to that publicity is relatively easy.
As someone who was elected by the citizens to look out for Huntersville’s best interests, I am finally commenting. When the unnecessary, reactive headlines could potentially cause harm to our town’s reputation, our state and national relationships and future funding, I believe it is my job to say “Enough.”
More importantly, I fear for Huntersville’s future: When good citizens refuse to become involved because they don’t want to participate in what they read as antagonistic “politics.” At some point, Huntersville citizens are going to throw up their hands and allow the people who love headlines to make decisions for their town. In the past dozen or more years, hard decisions regarding our town have been made with foresight, difficult discussions and much private and public debate. That has occurred because there have been citizens who have been engaged in planning for our future. With the completion of the town’s first Huntersville 101 class, there are a number of citizens who have shown interest in participating in the town’s future in various venues. It is my greatest hope that the childish quests for media attention by some don’t deter those who are truly interested in our town from public service.
I ask you all to not rely only on the local media for your complete news: You will note that some of us, who have been misquoted time and again, simply do not participate. A recent local article reported that I have refused to speak about a particular issue, when in fact; my quotes have been so significantly edited or ignored for the sake of a “better” story, that fact has become fiction.
The town website (slated for upgrading in the near future), www.huntersville.org, is a good start for objectivity and for letting you know what decisions are coming up. Please, stay involved, ask questions and help keep your elected leaders moving forward, not backward.
– Jill Swain, Huntersville Mayor