Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Irresponsible talk makes a real mess of things, but a reliable reporter is a healing presence.
That modern paraphrase of Proverbs 13:17 is the code I try to abide by as a journalist.
It is a constant reminder to me that we in this business can make a difference by being responsible in the words we write.
In turn, that can hopefully clarify an issue, refute a rumor or maybe help right a wrong.
Just six weeks ago I thought I had helped refute a rumor that Sunshine Days was going to be moved from downtown Sunnyside to St. Joseph's Church yard.
"We're not going to try and take anything away from downtown," I was told by a Sunnyside city council member and chamber of commerce member when I reported the story in late July.
The idea was to complement downtown events during Sunshine Days, I was told.
Well, the change did not complement, nor compliment, downtown as its events were in fact moved to St. Joseph's.
With the exception of the parade, and the soapbox derby a few blocks away, downtown seemed to be more of a ghost town during Sunshine Days.
Since I was the one who reported the rumor to be false I feel a responsibility to let the public know that I, like you, was apparently duped.
Doesn't matter to me at this point whether it was the chamber or the city who removed Sunshine Days from downtown. I have no agenda in this, nor an ax to grind.
What does matter, is that city and chamber officials should move Sunshine Days back to downtown or clarify why not and bring more transparency to the process.
That's not to say the city or chamber tried to hide anything, because I really don't think that was their motive.
But Sunnyside needs a clear direction from its chamber and city officials regarding Sunshine Days.
Sunnyside's residents and businesses need-make that deserve-to hear why chamber and city officials felt downtown wasn't suitable for Sunshine Days, and for them to communicate what the public perhaps could do to help bring it back next year.
There are many positives associated with Sunshine Days, such as the carnival and the Miss Sunnyside Pageant.
But confining the bulk of its activities to a dusty, downtrodden yard several blocks from downtown does it a disservice.
Let's work together-that's the chamber, city officials, residents and businesses-to remedy that in time for Sunshine Days 2007.