LaLast week, the editorial team and I decided to publish a letter to the editor by Lisa Papas, a school counselor from Grosse Pointe. Ms. Papas is one of a handful of local elected officials who represent all the Pointes. Questions have been raised about whether we should have published his letter.
I believe that one of the fundamental pillars of democracy is to give a voice to our elected officials and our appointed public servants in the press. They must be covered fairly and precisely. Additionally, if they feel the need to write to our journal on topical issues, they will usually find us a receptive journal, for any position they take that has an impact on the Points. It is in the nature of democracy that if you, our readers, do not like their positions or opinions, you use your vote on the matter. I hope that more of our elected officials will give their opinion to voters. Unfortunately, too many candidates have opinions on issues on which they do not want to be transparent, which hampers the democratic process.
This almost carte blanche authorization to use the Grosse Pointe News as a forum will be more restricted when an elected official is in his own electoral cycle. In this case, if letters to the editor become routine and evoke political positions, the candidate will be invited to submit them in the form of paid political advertisements. This is not an absolute rule and, like a debate, if a candidate has been quoted in an article or by his opponent and wishes to respond to it, our pages are open to him provided he abstains defamatory or inappropriate personal comments.
Finally, to give you the full picture, during my tenure with the newspaper, we decided not to publish a letter to the editor by an elected official. Although I have stated that elected officials and administrators in the Pointes will generally find me more than happy to print their opinions or perceptions on the issues under their watch, this letter had already been widely circulated on Facebook. As always, we reserve the right to refuse publication of anything submitted to Grosse Pointe News. A strong case should be presented for us to print an already published letter. Editorials or letters to the editor that are exclusive to Grosse Pointe News will carry more weight.
Sean Cotton, Owner and Publisher
Jody McVeigh, Editor-in-Chief