Playing A Dangerous Media Game
There is an alarming trend taking place at the highest level of municipal politics in the Town of Huntsville.
This trend is centred around favouritism to those who provide blind support – or have done so in the past – to their views and decisions without regard for the citizens of the community who differ in opinion.
It began when the Town’s council decided not once, but twice to appoint people to council positions without holding an election. While there was much debate among our community – and the idea of appointment versus election seemed to be split evenly – the very fabric of democracy is based upon the wishes of the majority.
The Town ignored this in the name of being fiscally responsible. And in the case of a regular council member’s seat, it had a sensibility to it. But, not with the Mayor’s position. The head of council should have been voted in and this radio station and other media outlets were vocal in its support for an election when our former mayor became our elected MP.
One online news agency run by a former mayor of Huntsville has been overtly supportive of the appointments and the council in general. This news outlet seems to now be on the inside, receiving preferential treatment from our current mayor and the Town.
Evidence of this occurred this week, when that news agency obtained a letter written by Mayor Karin Terziano to the board of directors of MAHC regarding the closure of the Huntsville COVID testing site.
An editorial by the former mayor who owns the news site centred around the current mayor’s letter and even had a link to a PDF of the letter.
The contents of the letter and Mayor Terziano’s message to MAHC deserve full respect as she stands up for the community’s needs. However, not providing copies to every single media outlet (there are several) in Huntsville and Muskoka as a whole, gives us pause.
The letter should also have been made public on the Town of Huntsville website for all residents to see. This is a public matter and all attempts to inform the public should have been made.
As the mayor of the community, it is Mayor Terziano’s duty to be transparent with the media about Town matters, whether each media outlet agrees with your decisions or not. This goes for all council members: by making the choice to serve our community, you each have a responsibility to represent your wards and the town in the best way possible.
This inarguably includes being open and transparent in matters that have a direct effect on the whole community.
In an era where a lack of trust in the elected officials throughout our nation grows daily and division reigns supreme, those in our town need to take heed and be better than the rest.
This means being open and transparent with all media outlets and the community at large. Another election will be upon us sooner than later; don’t make the mistake of playing favourites in the media as you wouldn’t want the media to play favourites when your position is on the line.
By The Bay, 88.7 FM