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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Post Why we don't post links to just any news source

    A recent post by a yahoo group that runs in town raised the question of why WaylandeNews doesn't link to it. We have addressed that before, but I thought that since it came up again, I would address it again. This is my own opinion, and not presented on behalf of WaylandeNews. I welcome members of the Executive Board to weigh in individually should they choose do so.

    WaylandeNews is a news aggregation service. We don't write news articles, but link to established new sources. Our policy has to be limit those sources to media that attempt to be unbiased and that provide a feedback mechanism. There have been numerous discussions on this topic previously. I think this post of mine addressed it most fully.

    Now, looking at today's issue of WVN we get a perfect example of what's wrong with WVN, and why a feedback mechanism is essential for a real news outlet:

    Quote Originally Posted by WVN Staff

    The crowd was much smaller on Sept. 16 than at last week’s meeting, which packed the Large Hearing Room, but a number of citizens still wanted to criticize the Aug. 26 decision of three selectmen to terminate the contract of Town Administrator Fred Turkington. Some speakers were familiar supporters of establishment candidates. And there was a cheering section to back them up with occasional applause, in violation of meeting rules.

    The comments added no new information for the public to consider.
    OK, yes, the crowd was much smaller on September 16 than it was on September 9. It was also much smaller than we see for Red Sox home games, but what's the relevance? The prior session had over 130 attendees, so many that the fire chief said we were at the limit and would have to restrict additional attendees.

    This week's crowd was quite large, so large that all the chairs were filled, the available spaces around the perimeter of the room were filled with people standing, people were sitting on the floor and people were literally standing in the hallway trying to crane their necks to see into the room and hear the debate. Some people who showed up simply left because they could neither see nor hear.

    So, yes, the crowd was smaller. But is that really the point a real news outlet would make?

    Did the comments add no new information? I would argue that isn't true. People made some rather eloquent arguments about the process that was undertaken, the process that could have been undertaken, the need to do things better. For WVN to dismiss the public comment as "no new information" is simply dismissive.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVN Staff
    When the Board got down to business after public comment, some residents stayed, occasionally breaking decorum with snickering and loud hostile comments. This was reminiscent of supporters of the Town Center project years ago who heckled those who disagreed with them.
    The comment that "some residents stayed" is similarly dismissive. The room remained overcrowded for at least the next hour and a half. After I spoke with the Selectmen, for example, I found nowhere to sit or stand in the room.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVN Staff

    The loudest voice of the evening was that of Kim Reichelt, who has mounted a wide-ranging campaign to publicize her Open Meeting Law complaint against the three who voted to terminate Turkington’s contract. She promoted her Monday meeting with the selectmen on her website, Wayland eNews, and has published arguments and opinions in the Wayland Town Crier and Wayland Patch. She even arranged for live streaming on her site of her appearance in case WayCAM was unable to broadcast live. WayCAM’s recording was posted the next day:

    Reichelt is a longtime supporter of establishment candidates, sometimes seen at Town Meetings sitting with other supporters and taking an active part. Before Wayland eNews, she and Chris Reynolds were officers of a ballot question committee in a failed January 2005 quest to fund designing a new high school during the state’s school building funding moratorium. WVN interviewed the Massachusetts School Building Authority director and reported on that winter’s 53% voter turnout at the polls:

    As Wayland newcomers may not be aware, Wayland eNews is among other things an aggregator of news, offering links to town matters appearing in the Boston Globe as well as local media. The one notable exception is WVN, which in the past nine years has covered more government meetings than Patch and the Crier. As far as WVN staff can determine, eNews has not linked to any of the 522 WVN newsletters, totaling something on the order of a million words.

    Open Meeting Law complaint procedure calls for the complainant to file first with the public officials being accused; the governmental body must respond to the complaint in 14 days. As Reichelt opened her discussion, Chairman Doug Leard informed her that the attorney general had granted the selectmen an extension until Sept. 27, and therefore the board’s response to the complaint would take place on Sept. 23.

    Still, Reichelt gave her presentation. Since she received virtually no response from the three, she resembled a strident prosecutor delivering an opening argument. The offenses she alleges -- insufficient detail in the agenda item that led to the termination and discussing matters not in the agenda -- were “egregious,” She accused the selectmen of “hiding” in an executive session with special counsel.

    Correia and Nolan offered agreement with some of Reichelt’s remarks.

    Reichelt demanded that the three acknowledge that the agenda was intentionally vague, pay the maximum fine and undergo OML training. The maximum is $1,000, the amount originally assessed against four Wayland selectmen in June 2011. Correia split the negotiated cost ($500) with three other selectmen who are no longer on the board. In that case, OML 2011-26, they had been televised meeting illegally on July 8, 2010 discussing who would be appointed and removed from office.

    If Reichelt remains unsatisfied with the selectmen’s Sept. 23 response, she can take the matter to the attorney general’s office, which has already begun interviewing Leard, Boschetto and Collins on its own initiative.
    I find it interesting (and frankly, flattering) how many more words WVN took to try to discredit my character and history than they do to review the actual complaint I made. That I submitted the complaint is irrelevant. What is important is what is in the complaint.

    But in case anyone knows me only through WVN's description, I'd like to augment it a bit. Yes, I was a supporter of the new high school project and worked with Chris Reynolds on a ballot question committee to advocate for it. I am proud of that work. They might also have mentioned this other town-related experience that I have:

    • served for several years as Voter Services Chair for the League of Women Voters
    • served on the board of The Children's Way
    • served as Treasurer of the Wayside Rail Trail committee, and successfully advocated for passage of a rail trail article in Wayland about 15 years ago
    • built websites and/or serve as webmaster for: Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, The Wayland PTO, Wayland Junior Warriors, Claypit Hill PTO, Wayland Depot
    • served on High School Study Committee
    • head room parent several years at Claypit
    • assistant soccer and baseball coach
    • conducted about 40 lice checks at Claypit
    • started and run our local Freecycle group
    • volunteered weekly in the Claypit library
    • served as Chair of the Electronic Communications Committee (advised on new Town website)

    I'm also a graduate of Loker School, Wayland Junior High School and Wayland High School. I'm proud of my history with the town, as well as my participation in the Town and in Town politics. I am proud that I take an active part at Town Meetings, and I'm a little shocked that they care about who I sit with, but I've sat with a variety of people at Town Meeting. Usually I sit with my husband, and often with other friends. I think it's a little odd that they care about who I sit with at Town Meeting when they have advocated for privacy at Town Meeting, but I'm flattered that they spend their time at Town Meeting looking around for me and bother to note who I'm sitting with.

    If WVN would like WaylandeNews to link to their newsletters, I'd suggest they consider stopping with the propaganda and stop confusing people and issues. But really the essential item is that they must allow for feedback. They are more than welcome to register here and post their newsletters themselves and allow people to respond to them. Consider that an invitation.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 09-20-2013 at 09:45 AM. Reason: fix formatting


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