Questions, answers, photos and letters
Is anyone else going to jump for joy when the May 22 primary and June 26 school tax hike special election are in our rear-view mirrors?
I’m just kidding.
Actually, these are darn newsy days for us nosey Sun writers, and I hope our work has kept you informed and, occasionally, entertained.
When a Sun staffer resembling myself came up with the idea of a question-and-answer series for candidates in contested primaries, it was before he took a job resembling that of “news editor” and got busier.
However, with help from my colleagues and the public, I managed to come up with pertinent and semi-coherent questions for county clerk, sheriff, Congress and fiscal court candidates. More taxing (no double-meaning intended) was the search for contact information for these folks and the occasional reminders that the deadlines spelled out in the Q & A document were rather important. Also, some candidates (or their aides) forgot to send digital photos, which required another email, phone call or both.
But… by golly, three weeks in, we haven’t yet had to run a sentence like, “(That) so-and-so chose not to participate in the inaugural Woodford Sun political Q & A series.” This week, for instance, we have answers and photos from seven of the eight people running for Congress, and the eighth, Theodore Green of Lexington, appears to have no web presence or campaign phone. If he’s running a stealth campaign, he’s running it well.
My head’s also spinning from churning out 2,000 words on last week’s candidate forum for magistrates in contested primaries. Besides getting their names and answers right, my goals included trying to give an equal amount of space to each of the nine participants. I did my best, y’all.
Meanwhile, letters to the editor regarding the proposed 5.5 cent property tax hike for a new high school continue to stream in. This is good, as just last week on this space, I encouraged folks to do so. Still, there were a few unanticipated complications.
One well-intentioned writer who lives on Elm Street didn’t include a phone number or other way to verify that he wrote his letter, and I’ve neither the time nor energy to show up on his doorstep with letter in hand. I did look up a phone number belonging to that address on the Internet and called it time and again, from my work phone and cell phone, during business hours, non-business hours and the weekend.
I tried, Mr. Elm Street occupant, surely I did – but you never picked up the phone, and your voicemail, if you have one, isn’t set up. We’ll run your letter next week if you’ll get in touch with me. (Please call during business hours.)
See, we have to, as best as possible, verify that the name at the bottom of the page belongs to the person who wrote the letter. If we don’t, and perhaps especially while an issue like the proposed school tax hike has folks stirred up, you might find your name printed beneath a letter that you didn’t write and with which you strongly disagree.
Also… if possible, please email your letters to the editor. I can barely type my own stories.
In the end, though, aside from a few new prematurely blond hairs on yours truly, the hard work of our candidates and letter writers has been far more inspiring than bothersome. It takes courage to run for office, or to sign your name to a letter (or petition) that may irritate friends, family members and people who shop at your store.
I’m not running for office, but if I was campaigning to keep my job – which I suppose I am – I’d write this:
“Please meet your Q & A deadline, please send a digital photo, please email (if possible) your letters to the editor (including your phone number) -- and please don’t get too bent out of shape if another candidate got 14 more words in the Sun.” I am, after all, only human, and on some days I wonder about that, too.