Yes, Cicero, and we’re the New York Times

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 13, 2000

Back in July we questioned the need for the city to return tothe publication of the Mayor’s political newsletter, which he usedin prior administrations to put his own personal spin on cityissues and attack those who disagreed with him.

We questioned the need for the divisiveness the City Recordcreated and offered the mayor editorial space on our Opinion pageto express his views and concerns.

Our offer was not to try to pull the plug on the mayor’smicrophone but to save city funds that were being used to produceand distribute the newsletter. We believe the free discussion ofpublic issues is important, and with the growth this community isseeing that discussion is more important than ever.

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Instead of taking us up on our conciliatory offer, the Mayorattacked us claiming we were trying to block his 1st amendmentrights, then tried to justify his political newsletter with thegreatest of political newsletters — the Federalist Papers. He haseven created for himself the pen name Cicero, keeping with thetradition of a pen name used by the authors of the FederalistPapers.

Written between 1787 and 1788, these political essays written byAlexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay were used to explainthe importance of the ratification of the United StatesConstitution, including the importance of the ElectoralCollege.

Now, how one can try to compare the brilliance of the FederalistPapers to the enlightenment of the City Record? To even claim it asan “heir to their tradition” is a bit of a stretch, but hey, weguess then we can lay claim to the New York Times.

One bothersome issue that the mayor and board of aldermen seemsto have missed is that political newsletters are usually publishedby political groups, not government entities, and not delivered bygovernment employees at taxpayer expense!

It is a shame that we have reverted to this. Our community hasso much to offer and so many opportunities ahead that an electedofficial and an elected city board thinks they are above reproachand simple questions on the hows and whys of city government.

But, then again, the name Cicero does have a better ring to itthan Boss Hogg!