Payton Perspective: Providing information that’s negative isn’t wrong, it’s necessary for good government

Payton Perspective logo 2015It just dumbfounds me listening to candidates and others complain about things they consider negative in news articles, letters to the editor and guest columns about our local government.

If things were all “mai-tais and Yahtzee,” as was once stated by a movie character played by Nicholas Cage, then we could just write about positive things. But, that’s just not reality.

Sharing information that’s negative is necessary for “we the people” to know what’s going on so we can do something about it. Why? Because it’s our government, they’re our tax dollars being spent, they’re our children who are the students that we, in effect, contract with school district personnel to help us educate.

What if the Founding Fathers listened to that kind of thinking and only spoke of the positives of King George III and his tyrannical rule over the 13 colonies? We’d all be speaking with a British accent and wouldn’t be enjoying the freedoms protected by our Constitution.

While the Herald is a community newspaper, one of the reasons I started it, as I did the Antioch Press back in 2001 (before I sold it in 2005), was to keep Antioch residents informed of what’s going on with our local government – the city and the school district.

It’s our role, as part of the media to question, challenge and hold our officials accountable to do what they were elected or hired to do, and write about it, if and when they do or don’t.

We’re not out to get people nor do we “go after” anyone, as someone    accused us, recently. In fact, we rarely start any investigative news articles. They’re usually the result of residents asking us about matters and sometimes providing us with information to      support their concerns.

If we pursue the matter, sometimes it leads somewhere, while other times it doesn’t. But, when it does, we’ll pursue the matter to the end, regardless of where it takes us. Then we write about it and inform you, so you can then    decide what you want to do with it.

As I told one local elected official, if they would just do their job, we’d have less to write about. Plus, if they can’t handle the truth if it’s negative, they have no business serving in public office. So, if what is written is negative but is accurate and factual, focus your frustration on those who are supposed to be solving the problems, or solve them yourself, if you’re the focus of the negative information. Capiche?

The bottom line is our city and school district are facing some serious challenges. We’ve learned some very negative things, and have written about them, as a result.

While the City is improving, mainly thanks to two tax increases that we voted for, Antioch still has a long way to go to get out of the hole we’ve been in.

As for the school district, things are much worse than we’ve been led to believe. The information revealed about the abysmal proficiency levels among K-5 students, thanks to newly appointed board members learning and sharing that with us, is a matter of grave concern. The negative facts are 81% of students on average are not proficient in math, and 67% aren’t proficient in English. Even worse, in one of the elementary schools 92% of students aren’t proficient in math.

This election is our chance to vote for new leaders who will solve our problems. And that would be very positive.

7 Comments to “Payton Perspective: Providing information that’s negative isn’t wrong, it’s necessary for good government”

  1. Frederick Rouse says:

    I 100% agree with your comments Allen.

  2. Eric A. says:

    Providing information that’s negative makes for good entertainment. I honestly haven’t read any negative information that would relate to the persons job they are running for. It’s all mostly personal attacks. Also, I respectfully condemn you for bringing Race into your article about the Antioch School Board Election. That was not necessary.

    • Publisher says:

      Eric A.
      Thank you for reading and your comment.
      The negative information referred to in my column is about certain unfortunate facts about our city, school district, elected officials and/or candidates, which some people, including some candidates and their supporters, don’t want to hear about and have complained that the Herald is being negative for reporting on them.
      While you may not like me writing about the issue of race in the campaign for Antioch School Board, it is a factor and a concern of some residents in the school district, as evidenced by the comments by Mrs. Lefrancois. Thus, it’s worth reporting.
      As, I’ve written before, don’t shoot the messenger just because you don’t like what the message of others is that we report.
      Allen Payton, Publisher & Editor

      • Eric A. says:

        Does Mrs. Lefrancois also want school’s for each Race? Because that is what articles like that are pushing towards. We all can benefit from each other.

        • Publisher says:

          Eric A.,
          If you read her comments, Mrs. Lefrancois is wanting the makeup of the school board to reflect the makeup of the community. If the candidates backed by the teachers union, the board will be made up of four white members and one African American member. If the management staff and others get their way, the fourth white candidate would replace Debra Vinson, giving Antioch a school board with all white members.
          Mrs. Lefrancois is saying that’s not reflective of the makeup of the Antioch community. She doesn’t mention anything about racially segregated schools.
          Allen Payton

          • Eric A. says:

            You’re just hiding behind Mrs. Lefrancois comment to move your own agenda. You should be ashamed of yourself for using Race as a means to do it. I personally don’t know how you sleep at night, Sir.

    • eileen says:

      “Respectful condemnation.” What an interesting contradiction in terms.

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