Why pay for the Town Crier now that we have the Town Courier?

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Now that I've read two issues of the Town Courier, the new paper put together by Diane Dorney, I don't see any reason why the KCA needs to sponsor its own paper any longer. The Town Courier covers all the same issues and more, and it has the added benefit of being (1) independent and (2) free. The Town Crier has been excellent, but we don't need two such newspapers. Rather than use our association fees for the paper, I propose that we put it into something that we need more. I for one would propose enhancing our playground equipment - some of the Lakelands playgrounds have a greater variety and more interesting equipment, and I know many of our children would appreciate the upgrades. I realize that there was some disagreement between Diane Dorney and the KCA board over their censorship of a story about the Kentlands charette, and that seems to be why Diane left. Regardless of the reason, though, her new paper is quite good and I think the board should put aside their personal feelings and ask whether there aren't better ways to spend our money than on competing with another community paper.

-- Steven Salzberg (salzberg@tigr.org), June 20, 2003


I would not characterize the board's decision regarding Diane Dorney's article on the charrette that she and others were organizing as "censorship." According to the KCA president and board chairman (last May's Town Crier, page 3), it was a matter of wanting our community paper to more fully represent all of the various activities being planned around the 15th anniversary celebration of the original (1988) Kentlands charrette, and Diane was asked to postpone her piece till the next issue of the paper to allow for that. This would have left plenty of time (a full month!) for people to make plans to attend DPZ and Company's "tune-up charrette." It was a reasonable, fair and responsible request, especially, given all of the shared excitement and different planning efforts around the charrette celebration. It was, perhaps, as strong an affirmation of the spirit of Kentlands in the Town Crier as one could ask for.

I do not see why we (the Assembly) should stop sponsoring the Kentlands Town Crier, simply because another community paper, free or otherwise, has emerged on the scene. The Town Crier is unique in the mix of information it provides, i.e., it includes essential Kentlands' board and management news that no other paper covers, in addition to news about other issues relevant to those who own or rent property in Kentlands. There is a sense of Kentlands about the Town Crier; something intangible, but an asset, nonetheless, for our community. And while the paper may be board-controlled, we have ultimate control over it, because we elect the board. They are answerable to us.

I think these are compelling reasons for us to continue supporting the Town Crier. I also think that the board is to be congratulated for getting the paper out on time under very difficult circumstances.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), June 25, 2003.

I don't want anyone involved with The Town Crier to get the impression that I don't appreciate what they've done - it's been a fine newspaper and a very useful community resource, and I commend the staff on their good work in the past. But my main point still holds: having seen two issues of The Town Courier, it too has "a sense of Kentlands" - in fact, many of the articles are exactly what we've come to see in The Town Crier - so why should we continue to sponsor The Town Crier out of our none-too-abundant community fees? I was also very concerned to see a "half price sale" on advertising offered in the latest Town Crier - apparently, the KCA board has decided to use our fees to finance their competition with The Town Courier. This indicates to me that although the Board is "answerable to us", as Mary Macdonald writes, they are not answerable on a short time scale - we can't do much about actions like this except wait until the next election. They don't take a poll to see if we want them to spend our money to lower the advertising fees instead of (as I suggested) using those fees to improve other facilities around Kentlands. If they had asked me, I certainly would have voted for using our fees for something more productive.

-- Steven Salzberg (salzberg@tigr.org), June 29, 2003.

It would be premature to consider this since we won't know for 5-10 years what kind of staying power the Town Courier has.

Incidentally, the Kentlands Town Crier is now available on-line as a pdf file at http://www.kentlandstowncrier.com

-- Marion Perry (mhperry@wordworth.com), June 29, 2003.

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