I find political rhetoric and banter facinating even entertaining mainly because some of it is so absurd. Somewhere between politicians, unions and special interests the average taxpayer gets lost in the mix. While these groups claim to be for working Americans, their actions say otherwise.
Here is a good example. In NJ there is (was) a fight over what appears to be an insignificant matter; the posting of legal notices. The newspapers and their allies claim the proposed law changing posting requirements is nothing more than the NJ governor getting even with newspapers and that allowing towns the alternative to post legal notices on their websites as opposed to paying for newspaper ads will cost 300 jobs and won’t save money.
The governor claims it will save millions. Opponents say that’s not true because towns would have to upgrade and maintain their websites.
Isn’t it interesting how those who claim to be champions of the old, poor and uneducated have no trouble demeaning them as a routine matter and nobody seems to notice? It’s a virtual stereotype that we elderly, the poor and uneducated can’t use the internet.
Have these critics looked around lately?
Besides, when was the last time you read a legal notice in the paper? Will the public see them online? Will they see them in a weekly paper or burried on page 36?
Will online notices save money? Probably, given most towns already have websites, but given this is an option and not required, a town simply makes the assessment and chooses the least costly option. Not that complicated … and in the best interest of taxpayers, imagine that.
This is the 21st century, right⁉
The bill would allow governments to post legal ads online only, and end the requirement that they run in newspapers.
The governor claims it would save $80 million, and Senate President Steve Sweeney says so, too.Which is amazing, really, because the Legislature’s own researchers have concluded that it might save nothing, and might even increase local costs. The reason is towns would have to fortify their web sites against hackers, and hire someone to process and track ads.
So how did the governor get to $80 million? He won’t say.
And why is Sweeney buying this nonsense? That’s an even bigger mystery.
“I’ll send you the data tomorrow morning,” he said when I asked. It didn’t come. Because it doesn’t exist.
Look at the flip side, at the damage this bill will do. The job losses would mean politicians could do their business in the dark, with even fewer watchdogs. That’s going to save money? In New Jersey?
As for the public, know that these ads contain information you have a right to know – when a gas pipeline might be built near your home, when a downtown business wants to expand, when a public contract goes out to bid.
If it goes online only, then the elderly, the poor, and the uneducated might not see it. A fresh 2016 Pew study showed that the digital divide remains huge.
And will the local websites provide easy access? Take a stroll through some of them. It’s tough to find the phone number at city hall.
Note: As of this writing the legislation was beaten back as a result of “public outrage” in defense of newspapers (riled up by newspapers of course). I bet blacksmiths, buggy whip makers and toll takers wish they had such outrage supporting them😎
Once again the public has been duped against its own best interest. Go ahead, complain about your local taxes and then oppose an option to lower your town expenses … way to go‼👀