Bloggers need not apply?

Last night I was sitting in my living room, listening to the County Council meeting on PAC14, when my jaw just about hit the floor. The question of the county’s Redistricting Committee was brought up, and objection which floored me was registered by District 1 Council member Sheree Sample-Hughes.

Her point of contention with the list of nominees was based on the fact that one of the seven members who volunteered is a fellow blogger, and the concern was that any of the proceedings would necessarily find their way onto the internet. She was also concerned that G.A. Harrison, the blogger in question, has been critical in the past of County Council members.

As it turned out, her motion to strike Harrison from the list barely got a second from at-large member Matt Holloway and was outvoted 4-3. (I seem to recall District 2’s Stevie Prettyman was the other vote to oust Harrison, but my memory could be incorrect. Suffice to say that it was a 4-3 vote.) As previously amended, the Redistricting Committee appointments passed on a 6-1 vote with Sample-Hughes objecting.

Given the situation, I thought it was prudent to put my two cents in.

In all honesty, the only difference between a person who writes a blog and a person who doesn’t is that one has a public forum which attracts the occasional reader and one does not. There are people out there who don’t write as an avocation who are prone to spilling the beans on whatever happens to someone who then disseminates the information – hence we get such people as “unnamed sources.” It really wouldn’t matter if the person had a website or not.

This sort of situation has come up before. Back in November, the Republican Central Committee had a meeting to interview and select four applicants for the County Council seat which became available with Bob Caldwell’s passing. G.A. Harrison was at that meeting – which was open to the public – and we cautioned him to not reveal the results before each of the six applicants was selected the next day; true to his word, he did not. As you can read, I did, but the post was set for noon the following day as agreed.

But the events of last night bring up another question. Obviously readers know I have this gig, but my writing skills have also led me to be entrusted with a post as Secretary of two different organizations: the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee and the Wicomico County Republican Club. And as regular readers are aware, each month I do a summary of the WCRC meeting. That was not without objection in the beginning, but once I was made aware of some of the concerns I tailored my reporting to be informative without getting into certain business, like the financials.

On the other hand, I don’t do reporting for most of the Central Committee meetings, with the main reason being we don’t often have guest speakers. The Central Committee summary given at the WCRC meeting normally covers the newsworthy items anyway; people don’t really have to know that (for example) we debated at our last meeting whether to allow surrogates for the various Senatorial campaigns to speak at our Lincoln Day Dinner in lieu of candidates who couldn’t attend. (By the way, our Lincoln Day Dinner is Saturday, February 25, and all ten Republican U.S. Senate candidates from Maryland have been invited to speak. As to the question, we will play it by ear.)

Needless to say, I have to constantly use my judgement on what to write about party affairs but over the years I’ve done this I’ve figured out where to push and where to hold off. I think G.A. Harrison can do the same with the Redistricting Committee.

And while I realize that Harrison has been a critic of several members of County Council in the past, I don’t think that acrimony is grounds to take him off a committee. That seems like petty politics to me, and I don’t think being a blogger should preclude one from serving the community in other capacities as well. Instead, G.A. should be commended for stepping up to the plate just as his other six cohorts and those others who may have expressed an interest but did not make the cut did.

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