Sunday, May 18, 2008

This Town Needs Some Decent Newspaper Coverage

The Burlington Post* wants to know what their readers have to say regarding a story that they pretty much lifted from the Hamilton Spectator. *

On Monday of this week Spectator columnist Andrew Dreschel wrote a piece suggesting that Burlington’s Mayor Cam Jackson had improperly used his MPP’s office expenses in his bid to become mayor in 2006.

Dreschel’s source for this is a lawyer representing “a group of business people with substantial profile in Burlington.” While these individuals may posses substantial profile, they don’t want their names used.

The Post pretty much repeats the Spectator story in their Wednesday edition and then feigns outrage in a Friday editorial where they lash out at those “who would seem hell bent on soiling” Jackson’s reputation.

Our question: "Who is actually doing the “reputation soiling here?”

If there is evidence of Jackson misusing dollars it should be produced. The fact that both newspapers and our substantially profiled anonymous citizens can’t produce any facts would lead one to believe that there is no such evidence. After all this is an old story going back nearly two years.

Policy Issues not Innuendo Please

I’d rather see both papers concern themselves with policy matters. The Harris government, of which Mayor Jackson was a cabinet minister, caused a lot of grief for those running local governments. How are Jackson and his Council colleagues doing on cleaning up that mess?

Or what about the fact that one in eleven Burlington children live in a home affected by poverty? What are they doing to address the absurdity that in one of the most affluent communities in Canada 11,500 Burlington residents are living in poverty?

*The Burlington Post and the Hamilton Spectator are two papers that provide limited coverage of local government in Burlington. To its credit the Spectator has, over the last couple of years, put much energy into covering the impact of poverty on the lives of Hamilton citizens and the community in general. Also, columnist Joan Little provides insightful and thoughtful analysis on Burlington/Halton poltics but only on alternate weeks.

The Burlington Post publishes three times per week. The Friday May 16 edition referred to here had 36 flyers stuffed inside the otherwise thin edition.

The Metroland Media Group manages both papers.