The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 17, 2014

Carol Stark: Letters allow readers to be part of the debate

— In the days following the 2011 tornado, letters to our newspaper conveyed the anguish of our readers and the heartfelt concern of the nation.

From the painful descriptions of horror and loss to the contrasting scribbles of a child offering up prayers and pennies for Joplin, letters filled the Globe’s editorial pages for the whole world to see. In fact, I would imagine historians will use those letters in some way to document the effects of one of the most devastating tornadoes in U.S. history.

Today, we’re approaching the three-year anniversary of that tornado, and letters, columns and social media comments reflect a storm of another kind, specifically a turmoil that started earlier this summer and has now erupted as the result of an outside investigation ordered by the council to answer ethics questions that had been raised. That investigation then took another turn, and at the end of the Feb. 4 council meeting — more than four hours of that held behind closed doors — City Manager Mark Rohr was fired.

The action has resulted in letters and columns expressing frustration and, in general, criticism of five members of the Joplin City Council who voted for the firing. As of 8 p.m. Friday night, the Globe had not received any written or emailed letters supporting Rohr’s firing. Comments left on our Facebook page, however, carry a different tenor, and we have published a sampling of those left on stories posted on our page. You can find those on page 1D. If you are familiar with Facebook, you will know that comments often turn into discussion threads that take on a life of their own. If you haven’t already gone to our page, I would invite you to take a look for yourself.

Two letters we have published both asked about our readers who might have different viewpoints. Here’s what one writer had to say:

“Judging from the recent letters to the editor in the Globe, one would think the whole town of Joplin has joined the public outcry over the Joplin City Council’s vote to fire City Manager Mark Rohr.

“There were at least seven letters supporting Rohr in Sunday’s edition (Feb. 9) alone and not one letter supporting the council’s vote. I have trouble believing that the citizens of Joplin as a whole are as united in their support of Rohr and in their condemnation of the council’s action as these letters might suggest.”

The writer ends the letter with: “It does make one wonder whether the public outcry against the council’s action is nearly as great as the avalanche of letters to the editor would indicate.”

I would encourage you to make your viewpoints known in what has clearly become a public debate.

Letters should be about 300 words, although yours won’t be kicked out if it is a little longer. If you would like to write a guest column, we would encourage you to send along a photo of yourself. But as you can see on this very page, that won’t prevent your viewpoints from being published.

We reserve the right to edit for clarity and good taste. You may send your letters to me at the address or email included at the end of this column.

And with spring elections coming, now would be a good time to remind you that we will accept letters endorsing issues or candidates.

To make sure your viewpoints are published, please attach a phone number, and make sure you tell us where you are from. We verify letters and sometimes we may have a question to ask. We will not publish your phone number or your specific street address.

The cutoff date for letters pertaining to the election will be April 4. Call it a cooling off period before the April 8 election.

While letters may or may not be an absolute indicator of public opinion as a whole, one thing’s for sure: They remain an excellent way to say what’s on your mind.

Carol Stark is editor of The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to her, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email cstark@joplinglobe.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Sports