Trying to be fair about ‘Fairness’
I feel a note about my coverage of the Aug. 6 public hearing regarding a Fairness Ordinance for the City of Versailles is appropriate. With two stories to write that evening (the Versailles City Council had met earlier) and limited time and space in which to write them, I did not stay for the entire hearing. As I noted in the beginning of last week’s story, the piece consisted of comments (mostly paraphrases, with a few quotes) from 13 of the first 15 speakers, most whom were for the ordinance. (Comments from two of the pro-Fairness speakers were not used.) As it happened, what turned out to be the “second half” of the hearing featured a much higher percentage of people who are against the ordinance, or have serious reservations about it. The following Monday, when I discussed the story with Tony Hardin, one of the second half speakers, I suggested he write a letter to the editor summarizing his feelings about the story and the issue itself. Tony’s note did not meet our 400-word limit for letters to the editor, so we’re running it on this page as an opinion/editorial. I’ll extend the same opportunity for someone on the “pro” side of the issue, then ask that other submissions, pro and con, meet our word limit for letters to the editor. While I had to stand at the hearing, it is not true that I left to avoid heat stroke in a ever-warming courtroom full of people, some of whom, in my humble opinion, emitted more than their share of hot air. (When you hear someone preface public remarks by saying, “I’m not a public speaker,” you can usually expect them to prove that claim at great length.) By all accounts, the meeting was a civil one, and I believe there are sincere people on both sides of the debate over a Fairness Ordinance. As for the Sun’s coverage of this ongoing matter, on this page and elsewhere, I suspect there will also be folks on both sides who will be irritated at me, which may mean I’m being as fair as possible, or at least am an equal opportunity offender. ‘Nuff said. I’ll be back, in longer form, next week.