Current weather

  • Scattered clouds
  • 57°
    Scattered clouds
  • Comment

Time to restore civility to public discourse

Posted: June 24, 2011 - 10:06am

This is probably a letter that I shouldn’t write. But having listened to recent Assembly meetings in person and on the radio, I just have a couple of “in my opinion” suggestions. Apparently just shouting them at the radio isn’t working.

1. When you are talking to elected officials or pretty much anyone else, and incorporate into your remarks, either directly or indirectly, that they are idiots, on the take, or in need of additional parts of their anatomy, do not expect them to listen extra hard to the ideas that you think are really important. Courtesy and respect for people, while not explicitly written out in Ordinance form, are a good idea, no matter what the setting. I believe this is also expected of the elected persons and there are times when they could set a better example as well.

2. To quote an Assemblyperson who spoke on the second day of the last meeting, “We (elected folks) are also taxpayers, parents, etc.” So starting with “I’m a taxpayer...” might not be the most distinguishing characteristic you have. Don’t lose track of your own mission.

Some of the recent remarks and behavior would not be tolerated at a high school assembly ... and we want our students to learn by example. Can we just disagree and work for what we believe in without devaluing each other and resorting to “childish” (forgive me, well behaved children) behavior? I’m just sayin’.

Most sincerely,

Susan Smalley

  • Comment

Comments (7) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
spwright 06/26/11 - 12:04 am
Freedom of Speech

Sat. 6/25/11
Mrs Smalley, I respectfully disagee with your Letter to the Editor.

Any Alaskan Resident that makes the Time to Vote & to participate in Assembly Meetings, in my book have the
Right to Freedom of Speech.
That speech may not meet your standards as a School Teacher & perhaps in your opinion, is not Civil.

Democracy can be a Butt Ugly Yellin & Spittin' contest & issues can get very Heated.
But that's better than Bored to Death at these meetings.

If You chose to become a Elected Official then You Best be Prepared for a Good Ass Chewing now & then.
It comes with the Territory.

& No I really don't care about being Politically Correct.

Thank You for Listening SPW in Slooooooowdotna

akal 06/26/11 - 07:26 am
to freedom of speech

I have to disagree , one of the fundamental principals in people having a civil meeting is respect, without some form of respect for others or even others opinions you cause the beginnings of what can quickly turn into a riot. tempers flare and anger takes the floor. as civilized beings we must accept that others have a right to their opinions also. I'm in agreement with Susan Smalley on this. freedom of speech doe's not give one the right to denigrate others. mutual respect is fundamental to civilization.

spwright 06/26/11 - 08:33 am
We Agree to Disagree

Sun. 6/26/11
Yes in a perfect world everyone would be so very polite & sincere respect for each other.

But even Our Founding Fathers yelled & screamed cussed & discussed
& fumed at each other before writing the Constitution.
Yes it got Real Ugly. All Democracy has Growing Pains
& ugly arguements.
That's Why ya have a Sgt @ Arms to control those situations.
That's why you have police assigned to our Court Rooms.

It's human nature to become passionate about your issues.

I Agree to Disagree with Your Opinion & will Fight to the Death for Your Right to Freedom of Speech.

SPW "Airborne"

witchwitch 06/27/11 - 12:33 am

Citizens are growing frustrated with acts from elected officials which seem to be counter to the clear will of the people. Many people lack the patience to deal with their frustration diplomatically, as many truly believe that there are special interest factors influencing local legislation, to the detriment of their interests and of the interests of the majority of local citizens.

I also believe that the current Borough Assembly are out of touch with the people and have an agenda that is counter to the sensibilities and wishes of the majority of local residents.

Name calling, both by people frustrated by the acts of local politicians AND by the author of this letter are inappropriate and nonproductive, if the purpose of such statements are meant to encourage cooperation and understanding by all parties involved.

The people whom the author of this letter is denigrating are obviously frustrated with the process. I find that fact understandable, while the likelihood exists that further outbursts from frustrated citizens are likely to continue.

The system is failing and blaming the people for their conduct ignores a larger problem. It's my hope that more people will become involved in more constructive ways to address the root of the problem

When 2/3rds of the local citizens fail to vote, this is what you get... The most effective way to fix this problem is to become informed and to vote.

cheapersmokes 06/27/11 - 07:28 am
Political discussions

oh boy, both sides here are making very good points in this discussion and also without yelling at or calling each other an idiot....go figure!

I feel Susan is right on the money when she says you should approach them in a civil manner and present your argument with well thought out and presented material. But when they don't listen to you then you can resort to Airborne's method of yelling and calling them freaking idiots or even worse.

After all, these are elected officials who choose to run to represent the citizens, are being paid well to do so so they should expect to hear unflattering remarks from the public when they are perceived as not doing their jobs in the best interest of the general public. They are not Kings or God's.

witchwitch 06/27/11 - 08:46 am
The Borough must "listen", but fails to see...

The current makeup of the Borough Assembly have an agenda that does not include bending their predetermined decisions according to testimony of others who oppose their agenda. I feel that while the people believe that their testimony is meaningless, it does have the effect of making the public aware that they are not alone in their frustration with Borough government. Maybe citizens will actually participate by running for office or supporting grass root candidates who reflect the views of those who feel they have been ignored in the process.

We have the best Assembly that can be had, for the very small minority of voters who participate in the process. Those who have a financial interest tied directly to keeping the funding flowing always vote, while the majority of those forced to pay the bills have failed to participate meaningfully in the process by voting. The Borough Assembly has fought every effort to reduce the local government burden on local taxpayers. The candidates for Borough Mayor ALL claim to be conservative and to have reduced the cost of government.

Most people fail to look beyond the glossy leaflets and the exaggerated claims, to discover the truth. Most people do not even vote in municipal elections. This is the result.

spwright 06/27/11 - 09:16 am
You have No Opinion

Mon. 6/27/11
How to Win Friends & Influence People.

All of those Independent Alaskans that actually believe that they are Morally Superior to the rest of us & they "Walk on Water" & they truly believe that they should not be bothered with VOTING.

You have chosen NOT to Vote, NOT to participate in Democracy therefore You have No Voice, You have No Opinion. You have No Right to Voice Your Opinion.

Now go ahead & rant & rave about Your Freedom of Speech & all the lame excuses for not Voting.

In my book there is No Excuse.

Have a Nice Day SPW "Airborne"

radiokenai 07/11/11 - 08:13 am
Not at all surprised at the Author

The minute I read Ms. Susan Smalley, I cracked up laughing! Her husband has duped the taxpayer (remember, he voted to take your permanent fund a few years ago). When I personally asked Hal his take on the Permanent Fund, he looked straight in the eye and said it is permanent and for the people. Then turned right around and voted to carve into to it.

What about giving me the decency and respect of honesty? Oh that is right, if you are a politician it does not apply to you.

So, he ball faced lied to me...The Taxpayer...and if Ms. Smalley has a problem with me exercising my freedom of speech, I suggest both Hal and Susan remove themselves from politics. Otherwise, you will have to continue to protect your husbands dishonor.


Susan Smalley: You are right, you should not have authored such a stupid letter as it makes you look like a horses butt.
Akal: If you act like a horses butt, you are going to get called one! Deal with it!
Cheapersmokes: The Smalley's are idiots!

Have a nice day:)

Back to Top


Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title
  • title
  • title
My Gallery


  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback