Will Mayor James Valley never learn? First he illegally “releases” (abandons) dogs in or near a national forest, and then he legally but unethically sends an email to all who put their protest in writing, accusing us of being racist and using offensive language. In his email, which did not use the "bcc" format to keep recipients' email addresses private, he sent a compilation of some of the correspondence he has received – lumping those that were blunt but polite (like mine) in with those that were, indeed, horribly racist and full of foul language. Moreover, for those of us who chose to use a formal letter-writing approach, he left our names, addresses and phone numbers intact.
He defends this latest action by stating that letters sent to public officials are public property according to the laws of his state. Technically, he is correct. But anonymous letters have less credibility than those in which the author provides her or his name and contact information. Therefore, on the rare occasions that I do write a letter to a public official, I use my real name and location. It is the courteous and ethical thing to do. Attacking someone’s actions without identifying yourself is the act of a coward.
And on the rare occasions when public officials wish to use my letter for other purposes, such as forwarding it to a more public forum or including it in a newsletter, they have always contacted me for permission to do so.
Mayor Valley, however, fails to understand these basic courtesies and ethics. To him, I respond with the words of Paul Quinnett (1998. Pavlov’s Trout: The Incompleat Psychology of Everyday Fishing, Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing; page 94):
“Being legal is not the same thing as being ethical. To equate ethics with legality is to adopt the morals of a swindler.”
And as I see there are people from Helena/West Helena reading this blog, one of whom might well be the dishonorable mayor himself (Site Meter shows me the general geographic location of my readers, such as the nearest city, but does not provide names or email addresses), I hereby reiterate the copyright statement in the sidebar and at the bottom of this blogsite: "The copyright to all images and stories on this blog is held by the author of the blog. Do not copy without written permission of author."
And that is the last I will write on this subject.