SHORE THING: You Tell ‘Em, Ted
By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
September 9, 2013
A recurring theme of critics of the Wave runs like this: “We’re tired of all the negativity. Don’t tear down; build up. If you think you can do better, then run for office. Get involved. But don’t spend your time criticizing what others are doing.”
Our critics don’t seem to have much appreciation for what’s known as the “Fourth Estate.” According to Wikipedia, the “networked Fourth Estate” can be defined as “technologies that are associated with the free press and provide a public check on the branches of government.”
Providing a public check on government is the main purpose of the Wave. In a tiny town like Cape Charles, how are you going to know what’s happening at Town Council, the Planning Commission, the Historic District Review Board, or the Wetlands and Coastal Dunes Board? Attend all the meetings as a spectator? For most people that’s just not practical. But to be an informed citizen you need to know what’s going on, and that’s where the Wave comes in. We actually report those meetings. We’re not running for office, but we are involved.
The two “real” newspapers, Eastern Shore News and Eastern Shore Post, from time to time file stories about Cape Charles, including Town Council, but those papers cover the entire Eastern Shore and don’t focus on Cape Charles. Hence the Wave.
The aforementioned papers sometimes are criticized as too “wishy-washy,” afraid to call a spade a spade. So it did our hearts good when we read the fiery opinion column by Eastern Shore News editor Ted Shockley the other week. His rebuke is directed at Accomack County supervisors after they refused to fund a new library. Shockley pointed out that the supervisors waste plenty of money through poor management. Here’s a condensation of what he wrote:
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One of the problems for the Accomack County Board of Supervisors that a proposal for a new Eastern Shore Public Library presented was that it is well-conceived, meticulously planned and forward-thinking. But the Board of Supervisors, which spends about $87,000 each year renting office space for numerous county departments, just isn’t accustomed to planning for the future. They would rather waste your tax dollars by renting — renting space for the Department of Public Safety; renting offices for the Commonwealth’s Attorney; renting a building for the Planning and Zoning Department; renting an old pharmacy for the Parks and Recreation Department. There might be more. I know they also rent a parking lot for the public, right in Accomac, a town with plenty of streetside parking. You can’t make this stuff up.
And after some more well-aimed fusillades, Shockley concludes that:
The average age of the six supervisors who voted against the new library funding is something between AARP enrollment and Methusaleh. They won’t have to pay taxes on the cost of all the construction they postponed. You and I will. Start saving.
Go Ted! And if the Shore’s largest media organization can criticize the actions of local government, why can’t the Wave?
(Click here to read the full article by Ted Shockley in the Eastern Shore News.)
SHORE THING is an occasional feature of the Cape Charles Wave.