When the Mayor and the Editor are Feuding

15 06 2009

Only in a small town like Gallup does this happen.

Joe, the editor and publisher of one of the two newspapers here in town, has an ongoing feud with Harry, the mayor. It was recently exascerbated when Joe ran a poll in his paper alleging that nearly 60% of people in town are dissatisfied with the mayor’s job performance.

So when Joe showed up at a recent City Council meeting to make a complaint, he got a little more than he bargained for.

First, some quick background. The other newspaper here in town publishes a list of people who haven’t paid their utility bills. This is hilarious to me; I guess it’s supposed to shame people into paying up since their nosy neighbors will know if they haven’t paid their bills. I can’t imagine a real newspaper in a large town doing something so unbelievably tacky, but out here it just doesn’t seem all that unusual.

So Joe, the publisher of the other newspaper, went to the City Council with a complaint about the Skate Park. His argument was that the park is falling into disrepair and that the city should really assume some responsibility to fix it.

Harry, the mayor, who undoubtedly still has that poll (the scientific validity of which is questionable) in the back of his mind, hopped up and said, (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Well, Joe, I noticed in the paper the other day that you’re on the list of people who haven’t paid their utility bills, so maybe if you were responsible enough to pay your bills, the city would have enough money to fix up the Skate Park.”

Ouch.

For an extra level of tact and class, I read this story in the other newspaper, which I’m sure was all too excited to have some dirt to report about their competitor. I’m relaying it here primarily because it’s such a classic example of the way that the bigwigs in this town seem to get along with each other.

It makes me glad I just run a little coffee shop.

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