Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 2017 Behind The Bubble

Behind The Bubble

January 2017: The Sounds of Silence

By Jason Margolis

As when I moved to Mt. Lebanon in July 2011, I began my quest to get “behind the bubble” with high hopes. But things, as they often do, did not go as planned.

I wanted to begin by writing a profile of a Mt. Lebanon individual, because it is people that make up communities. The intention was to look deeper into the essence of a person in our community of some stature, and to have them reflect on life in Mt. Lebanon past, present, and future.

I first approached Dave Brumfield. I thought this would be a good person to start with, as he was incoming Commission President and beginning what would likely be his last year as Commissioner. Additionally, he and I always have had a relatively affable relationship. I emailed Dave both before and after the holidays regarding a potential interview. I never heard back. Silence.

Then, I emailed Mt. Lebanon Public Information Officer Susan Morgans. I thought that this high-profile, in-the-know local public figure would be an excellent individual to launch this monthly series, in an attempt to raise new understandings and build new bridges in Mt. Lebanon. To her credit, she did respond with a short email that declined the interview, while copying Municipal Manager Keith McGill. I then followed up with a ‘reply to all’ asking for any suggestions regarding who they might suggest I talk to, in the spirit of this new column, and never heard back. Silence.

Finally, I decided to approach an individual who a couple of years back was very active in Mt. Lebanon politics. In fact, this individual (who I will not name as they are not a public figure) had previously emailed me for an endorsement of their planned candidacy for Commissioner. I quickly responded to that email two years ago. They did not, however, do likewise in January 2017.

So, why all the silence?

There are three main reasons people bring silence into the world:

1) As a means of power and control, as men often use silence over women in abusive relationships.

2) Out of fear, as a child who somehow did not get caught with his hand in the cookie jar chooses not to tell his parents that his hand was indeed the cookie jar to avoid the consequences of the truth.

3) Because of a disability, as someone who was born, or has become, mute.

It is not clear which of the above apply in this case. Perhaps these individuals feared I would twist their words, although they certainly could have sued me for libel if I did. In fact, as a private citizen I have been threatened with being sued in the past for things I have written about controversial issues in Mt. Lebanon.

Perhaps, looking around the bubble’s edge, it is because one of the most divisive issues in Mt. Lebanon is its silence. As someone who has had to request basic public information and documents from the municipality through “Right To Knows” – and having watched numerous escalating legal battles over releasing the locations of where government-funded deer “management” is taking place – silence does seem to be the common default in Mt. Lebanon. And if this is not a policy borne of fear or disability, it must be one of power and control.

But silence by the powerful comes with costs. In a 60 Minutes interview in 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. warned America, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Silence infers disengagement and dismissal. It is carried out by those wishing to hold on to something, and not share it, with those who have less. And when people with less feel they are not being listened to, and that this silence is hurting their well-being, sooner or later there will be consequences.

Thus far, the bubble’s walls have been thicker than I thought. But every wall of silence has a trap door – a door that lets people in and lets the truth out.

In February, I hope to find one of the bubble’s hidden trap doors.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretty good initial effort, Jason. I find it pretty interesting that the Public Information Officer would shy away from a venue to dispense information about our community.

I think this quote says it all:

"Many CEOs and leaders think that silence is indeed golden, that consensus is bliss. It is - sometimes. But more often what it signifies is that there are no respected processes for surfacing concerns and dissent."
— Margaret Heffernan

As for that trapdoor, I think we have it in this blog.

Anonymous said...

I think you really overthought the lack of interest. Pretty sure it's because no one wants to spend their time answering questions for a blog within a blog. There's no credibility in your little column here, so why should they ever agree to do an interview. Not really trying to be rude, just stating the fact that in life you need some credibility in endeavors before people will want to get involved in that endeavor. Also, I disagree with your assessment of the "three ways silence comes into this world." There are certainly people with different personalities. Some people are just generally more quiet. These people, who prefer to stay out of the spotlight, aren't doing so for power or an avoidance of consequences or fear, and these different personalities certainly shouldn't be considered a disorder. Just because you, Jason, are willing to have your voice heard in the public and on blogs, doesn't mean there aren't people out there who truly desire to stay quiet.
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Is it really any surprise that the two residents of Mt. Lebanon who have been repeatedly vilified by this blog and its readers have no interest in being interviewed for a piece that is to appear on this site? Even if the piece was positive, I can only imagine how the readers of this blog would choose to trash them in the Comments. So if it upsets anyone that they elected not to be interviewed, you probably have only yourself to blame.

Anonymous said...

Why would you expect a response from either Mr. Brumfield or Ms. Morgans? Anything they say would be greeted with ridicule and derision. Just look at the last picture that Ms. Gilles posted of Mr . Brumfield. I don't believe that their silence is due to one of your three reasons.
I expected more insight from someone who boasts a PHD in education.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you're right 6:06, but if Brumfield or Morgan's were bigger people they'd accept the "challenge" and try to unify the community.

But they didn't and so things will continue to be divisive.

Jason Margolis said...

4:02pm, I can assure you, at least two of the three individuals approached -- and really all 3 -- are anything but "generally more quiet"! If so, why become PIO and Commission President? Why ask for an endorsement to run for commissioner? These are PUBLIC figures.

4:20pm - At least with the two MTL public officials, are they not responsible to all the residents -- even those who they disagree with? That's why Obama did an interview with O'Reilly, and Van Jones sat down with Rick Santorum on CNN (although that one was much boring than I expected).

6:06pm - I assure you, when I put on my journalist hat, there is no ridicule or derision. Just the seeking of truth and insight. I do have a PhD in Education, though admittedly -- not one in Journalism. Just running a high school student newspaper on my CV here!






Anonymous said...

6:17, why do you think they owe Elaine's blog anything? Seriously. And do you ever suggest that she take the "challenge" and travel the high road?

Anonymous said...

6:45, they don't owe Elaine's blog anything, but they do owe us an open government and it'd be nice to see everyone while not necessarily agree to be cordial.
As far as Elaine traveling the high road, she did when she presented the HS petition and got mocked by certain individuals in the audience and she did when she ran for office

Anonymous said...

Mr Margolis, they are absolutely responsible to all of the residents of this community. Every two weeks they show up at the municipal building and listen to comments and questions from any resident who is so inclined to appear and stand up. Every resident in this community has a chance - every two weeks - to ask a question, make a comment, make a statement, say anything they want (on any topic) to the 5 commissioners. When they have answers or Information, they provide it. Moreover, every commissioner has an email address and a personal phone number included with his/her bio on the municipal website. I have never sent an email to any commissioner that has gone without an answer. I think the individuals who would suggest differently know exactly why they get the silent treatment. Communication and civil dialogue are 2-way streets. Shall we search the old threads on this blog for the comments that you have submitted that would make Morgans and Brumfield less inclined to accept your private interview request?

Anonymous said...

Jason seems to be doing a lot of "assuring." But.. wasn't a commenter ridiculed for using the phrase "I can assure you"...?? hmm... makes you think.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course the commissioners have an obligation to answer questions from the community. They have an obligation to take questions from people with all view points. And they do that. At the commissioners meetings. They, however, are not required to do interviews with blogs who smear them for their political views AND other things such as personal appearance. I'm sure the Brumfield Trump Pic and Morgans Tellytubby pic REALLY made the offer to be interviews by a blogspot enticing.

Anonymous said...

Based on the responses so far I'd say Dr. Margolis' first article has struck a nerve among the local elites.

Jason Margolis said...

Absolutely, 7:33pm, search away! I'm pretty sure I have never said anything personally derisive, even when strongly disagreeing with a policy, position, or approach of one of our public officials.

And in any case, and especially in the case of this blog, it is the role of the free press to hold public officials accountable and shed light where transparency is obscured. These days, with all the financial difficulties of the newspapers, Lebo Citizens is serving as much more of a 'free press' than the PPG or The Trib.

"Transparent enough" will never quite be transparent enough for many of us.

I am honored that Elaine has allowed me some space amidst her important works here.


Anonymous said...

"[P]eople bring silence into the world...[b]ecause of a disability, as someone who was born, or has become, mute."

What does this even mean? If silence is the absence of sound, how can you "bring" an absence? Huh?

And isn't "bring" an active verb? Are you saying a disabled person actively works to create silence, like they're willfully disabled? Isn't silence the result of an inability to speak?

There might be another reason no one wanted to go on record. Perhaps people don't want to be interviewed by someone without a basic grasp of our common language.

Anonymous said...

I stopped looking after finding these three comments from the more recents threads. Not to mention the email you sent to K. McGill in which you asked him to fire Mrs. Morgans. But you may not find that to be personally derisive.

"I am truly baffled by your upcoming Awesome Ladies event. Of course, it does not surprise me that Susan Morgans is being honored, because who thinks she is more awesome than she herself? And what fun for her to promote and host that ..."

"Mayor Morgan will likely come back a little more personally cosmopolitan, and professionally irrelevant."

"Mayors Morgan and McGill run the place and act as they wish ... The fake-humility in that last paragraph is laughable ... I can see her guffawing heartily with a glass of Pino as she wrote it."

E. T. Gillen said...

I have been looking through old threads and found some rather interesting ones. Sorry, too tired to make hyperlinks, so here it goes.

https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2011/12/legal-notice.html Judge O'Brien approved the real estate tax levy in 2012. O'Brien also ruled in Mt. Lebanon's favor in my case with them.

Five years ago, I wrote about this. https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2012/01/another-done-deal.html Brumfield was ramming his sports crap down our throats then.

Remember the hissy fit that Susan threw when I posted the 100 year logo on my website? https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2012/01/happy-birthday-mt-lebanon.html and https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-did-no-no-on-my-website.html

Susan Morgans will not apologize for sitting on my recorder TWICE. Susan thinks Kelly Fraasch is out to get her. Susan can bring hundreds to a commission meeting to say how wonderful she is. Also in that post is the link to Susan's very rude and judgmental article, "to market, to market." https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2014/11/kristen-you-should-be-so-lucky.html We've been dealing with her bad attitude for years.

Jason brought up Susan's "Transparent enough" comment also discovered through a RTK.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9r_1biKte_bSTF5cV94VHQza2M/view?usp=sharing

Susan spends more time telling staff why something isn't public, rather than encouraging staff to be more public.

Search for Richard Gideon's 7/6/13 letter about the flag pole down at the Veterans Memorial. Susan was snarky to him. Who can be snarky to a man who has always been a gentleman? Susan. So don't give me this crap about not taking the high road.

How about when I caught Susan in a lie? https://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2015/06/moi-lying-susan.html

How about this email? https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9r_1biKte_bME1PbThUbjRkVHM/view?usp=sharing

I am not a professional. I do not have a degree in journalism. On this blog which I have had for more than six years, I post meeting minutes and agendas, announcements, missing persons, events in the area, promote local businesses by encouraging to Shop Small, community service projects, podcasts, change orders, building plans, Right To Knows, have a website which I haven't been able to update for a year now (but that's another story), hired lawyers because I received threats from Dave Brumfield and Susan Morgans, hired attorneys because Mt. Lebanon took me to court, hired a lawyer to finally get the township tree cut down next to my house, have had unwanted visitors come to my door, send Alerts which our PIO never sent out, and all this has cost me thousands of dollars. Yet, I need to travel the high road? Puleeze.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Mr Margolis, no one said that YOU would say anything personally derisive, but when you lay down with dogs........

Anonymous said...

"Silence is sometimes the best answer."

Dalai Lama

Anonymous said...

Morgans, Brumfield and whomever else want to avoid an interview doesn't bother me in the least. It's their prerogative to accept an interview or not.

What does bother me are these stats.

USC's 2017 budget for the editorial staff of their TOWNSHIP/SCHOOL DISTRICT magazine is a whopping $38,000 and the Office Supervision is another $13,000.

I've seen USC TODAY and it's not a bad publication and knowing some USC residents I can't say I've ever heard one complain that they don't get enough public information.

Nor do I hear that the community is divided and must hold a Unity Rally to show how inclusive they are.

So we have an editor that makes well over $100,000, an assistant editor pulling down $40k and what do we have to show for it that USC doesn't?

I wonder how many expense account paid trips to NYC the USC editorial staff gets to take and most likely they don't get health insurance, vacation time or pensions.

So a commenter under another post said we have bigger fish to fry, and they were right. I don't give a crap if Morgans or Brumfield make themselves available for an interview or not.

Jason Margolis said...

It is interesting how 11:42pm, an anonymous citizen, knows of emails I have sent to Keith McGill! Was this anonymous citizen copied on them? I did not cc or bcc them.

This reminds me of this incident which got leaked:

I made my first visit to a Commissioners meeting, doing as 7:33pm suggested, making my first citizens comments. I spoke about The Newcomers Tax. When I got some media attention for my comments, the then-commission president ordered background opposition research on me, to find something negative in my past to discredit my words spoken at citizens comments. This information was then later used by other citizens to post defamatory, public comments under PPG articles in which I was quoted.

A very interesting alliance exists between the government and a few of their citizen-friends! But shouldn't we all be equal in their eyes? Are Citizens Comments really as 11:42pm depicts? Who has the Right To Know what is said in emails from public officials? Must Nick and Elaine file RTKs, while others like 11:42pm are quickly forwarded the information?

Is there really free speech and transparency in MTL--Or is something more chilling occurring?

In any case, I am writing Behind the Bubble under the assumption that there is more good than bad in MTL. January did not get off to a great start, but it is a journey, with 11 months still to go.


Anonymous said...

So now Elaine and her bloggers are "dogs"! What a nice neighbor!

Tell me 7:26, how much does the Dalai Lama get paid by taxpayers?

E. T. Gillen said...

I provide such a wonderful service, 6:47 AM. I provide an outlet for you to take shots at me. Without me, what would you do? Beat your spouse or your kids? If I am derisive as you claim, at least I sign my name to it, Pal.

BTW, it is Dr. Margolis.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

7:26 Dalai Lama civil also said:

“Happiness is not something ready made."

“Love is the absence of judgment.” (Why don't you try following that advice)

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Anonymous said...

Not to ruin the really cool "Russian hacker disseminating your emails" theory or anything, but the email that you sent to Mr. McGill was posted on this blog.

E. T. Gillen said...

8:03 AM is right about the email, Jason. You were not the only victim to Kristen's background checks. She also went after another resident who spoke at the podium, and trashed his employer too! The same woman joked about igniting me. Ah yes, those were the days. Where was 6:47 AM then?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Still working at her over-paid job - Queen of Misinformation !

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to wrap my head around Morgans' memorandum on her outreach plan regarding solid waste and recycling sent to McGill on 12/2.

Her opening bullet point reads: "The Public Information Office through Susan Morgans and her staff will lead the outreach efforts..."

Who writes like that? "through Susan Morgans and [HER] staff"? A little self-aggrandizing isn't it?

Why not just - The Public Information Office will lead the outreach efforts? Noooo... it's got to be the PIO office "through" Susan Morgans!

This woman's head has gotten just a little too big for my taste... and budget.

Jason Margolis said...

There is/was definitely an unholy alliance between some of the commissioners and some of the residents. I don't really care about the email, or any emails I send to the commissioners or staff - and it probably was published on this blog. I fully expect any email I send to a public official to be public. Do these public officials view their official communications in the same way? Or do they hide?

The real problem is when it gets dirty, when they try to scare residents from speaking out, when the citizens comments' podium becomes a toxic place to speak your mind - because some public official will run a background check on you, find a dismissed misdemeanor charge, and then have their minions use this information to discredit your words.

Hopefully those days are over. Can MTL improve? We will see...

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is freedom of the press. This isn't the press though. This is an opinion blog, NOT journalism. Journalism is unbiased. Nothing wrong with opinion blogs, just don't be surprised if someone doesn't want to do an interview with one. Our president elect insults the press and provides distrust with anyone who disagrees with him. You voted for that. But you want something different at the LOCAL level? Ok.

Anonymous said...

7:45 again.
I also don't care about Ms. Morgans opinion of shoppers, her shortcuts through neighborhoods, her vacations, her life growing up in Lebo, if her husband is a football ass, her assistants home remodeling or HER opinion on PAYT.

Her opinions and life experiences are no more relevant to the community than any other resident's. Somehow she's under the assumption that she is Lebo and that is wrong in my opinion.

Having said all that, she could be right on an issue like PAYT, but then again she could be wrong as well.

Unfortunately, as PIO she doesn't always present both sides of public debate, issue or budget discussion.

Anonymous said...

https://www.eremedia.com/tlnt/achieve-your-goals-the-boom-rip-rapid-way/

I recently was sent the above article and think it's something we should expect of our commission and PIO.

I add my thoughts in [CAPS] where relevant.

"Let’s take a closer look at each.
1. Big reasons. What are your big reasons for taking on the goal? Write them down and keep them in mind, checking in on them regularly. The WHY makes the HOW easier.

[WOULDN'T IT BE NICE IF THOSE REASONS WERE PRESENTED FIRST ON PAYT]

2. Objectives represent milestones on your route — specific targets you want to hit. If you want to become the youngest CEO of a major corporation, you’ll first need to get an MBA or other advanced degree, land a great position right out of college, and then start climbing the ladder.

[AGAIN WHAT ARE THE REAL OBJECTIVES ON PAYT AND DEER ACCIDENTS]

3. Output is your tangible short-term product: For example, a tightly run team, a certain number of speaking engagements, cases closed per month, a quota of program modules, or a series of white papers defining your product’s specs.

4. Measurement quantifies your production. How many program modules have you produced this week? How much money has the business made this month? Have you hit your numbers in sales goals? Production must be easily counted and unmistakable, whether you’re keeping score with dollars or percentage of market share. How will you know if you’re willing against your output above?

[AFTER THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS CULLING DEER ARE WE CLOSER TO REDUCING ACCIDENTS OR NOT?]

5. Restraints. What physical, political, or procedural restraints might slow your output? Are there legal, moral, or ethical limits to consider, or is the only limit data or cash on hand? Do you need partners to help you with social media? Do you need to create content to solidify your brand?

6. Ideal situation. What you want to accomplish; the best of all possible worlds in terms of production speed and results. This is your high number.

[AGAIN TAKE DEER CULLING ARE WE ACCOMPLISHING OUR GOAL? IF NOT IT NEEDS TO BE REVISED - SEE NO. 9]

7. Practical reality. What you actually have, based on the restraints you have to work within. This is your realistic goal.

8. Resources. What goods and services can you tap? What else can you leverage if certain conditions are met? Include all capital, materials, equipment, machinery, time, human talent, and energy you can put into the effort. Can you hire someone on Upwork.com to help out? Can you lean on a support department internally to help you? Can you buy a list of prospects? Can you get another department on board to contribute?

9. Analysis. What do you want to accomplish, and how can you do it based on all the previous steps? Once you’ve plugged everything into the equation, you may find you need to revise your initial estimates based on new limitations.

10. Plan. Once you’ve analyzed the situation and know what you have to work with, plan on how to accomplish your goal. Lay out your overall strategy, and define the tactics needed to accomplish that strategy.

11. Individual tactics. These are the things you do to get there. If your organization tells you to start a satellite office in Seattle, your tactics for doing so may include the following: (1) Do market research; (2) Secure funding; (3) Scout locations; (4) Rent office space; (5) Buy office furniture; and so on. Go with the flow, changing tactics as necessary.

12. Daily activity includes daily tasks you have to undertake to reach your goal. Many will be standard to-do list items specific to that goal—normal maintenance and incremental items that move you forward. Your to-do list will likely include daily activities toward a number of goals, large and small.

Anonymous said...

Oh really, 10:27.
Good job trying to change the topic, but tell me did the PEOTUS meet with Romney, Halley, Apple CEO and a number of other individuals that were very verbal in their dislike for him even to the point of appointing them to cabinet positions.

Now that you've spilled your Kool-aide here, how about we debate things that are really pertinent to the community like the PIO budget or PAYT or the unsuccessful deer culling?

Anonymous said...

"Study: Election Coverage Skewed By "Journalistic Bias" | Election 2016 | FRONTLINE | PBS"

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/study-election-coverage-skewed-by-journalistic-bias/

OK, can we now get back to debating Lebo issues and not knocking the President-elect before he even takes office?

Anonymous said...

10:27 you just described Brumfeld. Brumfeld has been doing that for years and much longer than Trump !

Anonymous said...

Too close to home for *Susan Morgans and her staff* . Hell, too cheap too.

Pittsburgh's largest networking event in the region. http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/event/160480/2017/book-of-lists-reception-2017

RG said...

With respect to Dr. Margolis's new column and the reaction to it: Robby Soave, an associate editor at Reason.com, published an article on Monday titled "What This Journalist Saw During a Holiday Detour Through Donald Trump's America" in which he comments on the "bubble" mentality of his fellow journalists and others. Mr. Soave is based in Washington, D.C., and was traveling by car to his boyhood home in Michigan over the Christmas holidays. But a flat tire on his rental car gave him the opportunity to interact with some Trump supporters who do not share the sense of impending doom that infects most of the left. (Soave is not a Trump supporter.) His comments near the end of the article read as if he were writing about Mt. Lebanon. Here are some extractions:

I couldn't help but dwell on these interactions as my wife and I returned to D.C. a little more than a week ago.

Our friends are almost universally journalists, think tanks staffers, and government employees. Most of them are at least as socially liberal as we are. We listen to the same music and watch the same television shows. We read the same news articles—in many case, we've had drinks with the people who wrote them.

It's a bubble. Can't deny it. Just is.

Macomb County and southern Pennsylvania are bubbles, too. The people who live there and expressed some optimism about Trump, some sense of hope now that he has won the presidency, might be wrong to feel that way....

But it's the journalist's job to inform the public about what's going on in those other bubbles. And while there was a lot of great reporting in 2016 about Trump supporters and what motivated them, I still can't shake the feeling that so many in the media discounted the possibility of a Trump presidency because they couldn't imagine anybody actually voting for him. In that way, D.C. and New York City media circles are like elite college campuses: wholly incapable of grappling with the fact that the U.S. is a massive place that includes millions of people who live very different lives and hold very different views.

It's okay to live in different bubbles if we're going to leave each other alone. (Thus the reason for the libertarian project of shrinking the oppressive power of the state.) But that's not how it works right now.


And that, in a nutshell, describes how some of our local officials and elites view residents who do not share their utopian vision for Mt. Lebanon - "..where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."* They just can't imagine anyone not seeing things they way they do, and as a consequence they discount any attempts to bring to the table ideas that were "not invented here." It also explains why so many vituperative posts end up on this Blog - the irony being the Blog owner's anonymous free speech policy is not likely to be reciprocated!

*Apologies to Garrison Keillor

Anonymous said...

Thank you 10:27 for the definition - "Journalism is unbiased."

So tell me what is MTL magazine? It certainly isn't journalism, because you told us "journalism is unbiased" and MTL never presents an unbiased report of anything here in Lebo.

If it has please submit it here.

E. T. Gillen said...

Jason, The Almanac did an interview with Eric Milliron. Eric Milliron: Mt. Lebanon economic development officer

Eric is one of the best, if not the best director we have in the Municipality. He has a great work ethic, is a dedicated employee, quietly gets the job done with no drama, and doesn't have a super ego like so many MTL staffers seem to have.

I am glad that The Almanac recognized Eric. He's a good guy.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

hmm did I say the Lebo Mag was unbiased.. no... I don't think it is. Thanks for your feedback to my comment though. You do know what they say about assumptions. lol

Anonymous said...

I share your opinion regarding Eric. He's open, receptive to community input even when it may conflict with his objectives, considerate and always a gentlemen.
Unfortunately, in my opinion his superiors aren't the same.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm 12:50, where did I say you said Lebo mag was biased or unbiased.
I only repeated your words that "journalism is unbiased."
I agree with that statement, although I personally would add the word good "journalism is unbiased."

So, I guess you answered my question as to whether MTL magazine could be considered journalism. You wrote "...no... I don't think it is."

Great, we've hit upon something we can agree on since I don't think it is either.

So now we should move on. Do we want a public information office and magazine that is biased? If it is then it's no better than Elaine's blog and in my opinion, much worse for a community that wants truth.

Elaine's blog on the other hand is what it is, take it or leave it. Believe her post and comments if you want, they're not "official" and certainly open to debate.

MTL magazine although claims it is "The official magazine of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania"

It represents MTL and I as a taxpayer expect it to be good, unbiased journalism. We pay enough for it.

Now 12:50, give me your opinion and again... how would you define what the magazine is?

LOL By the way, show me where a made an assumption to your comment in my comment?

I'll make a couple now though.
1. You may have a problem with reading comprehension or
2. you're so fixated in diminishing things people contribute here, you've lost sight of your own words.

Anonymous said...

You wrote 12:50 "hmm did I say the Lebo Mag was unbiased.. no... I don't think it is."

Here is the online dictionary's definition of
"bi·as ˈbīəs/noun
plural noun: biases
1. prejudice in favor of or against other one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. "there was evidence of bias against foreign applicants"
Synonyms: prejudice, partiality, partisanship, favoritism, one-sidedness

Tell me 12:50 is prejudiced, one -sidedness, favoritism what you want from our community magazine? I don't.

Remember you said you didn't think it was unbiased.

Anonymous said...

2:29, what are you trying to say? We agreed that the magazine was biased. I don't believe I ever said I supported the magazine? So no, I don't want the magazine to be biased.. 2:09 Also, It's only the official mag of Mt Lebanon because it's paid for by Mt. Lebanon. On the other hand, I would think magazines may be more inclined to have some sort of bias, not that it's a good thing, it just may be the case. I don't think it's a good think when the magazine is supposed to represent such a broad group of people. Also, the assumption that I supported the magazine- you asked where I picked up on that assumption from you. It probably came from the fact that after I attacked Elaine'a blog for being bias, your immediate response was to ask what I thought about the magazine- probably assuming that if I didn't support Elaine's blog, then I must also support the biased Lebo Mag. That, however, is incorrect as the magazine is definitely a waste of paper to provide it to everyone- when most people probably throw it out immediately. Finally, you seemed to imply that Elaine's blog is the "truth," while the viewpoints of the PIO/Commisoners is "false." This, however, is not really the case. You are obviously entitled to your own opinion, one which obviously differs from the commissioners or PIO. However, no one is entitled to their own truths or facts. Unfortunately I think many have forgotten this, and push their opinions as if they are correct. You are also entitled to have blogs like this, which are very opinionated. Just don't be surprised when someone who disagrees doesn't want to "interview" here only to be ripped apart in the comments. The final statement i'll make here regarding MTL magazine is that the magazine should probably be available by subscription to those who enjoy it, and we could save some paper by not sending it to those who don't care. If this were to happen, however, there would need to be another form of information distribution provide, one we could all strive to make more objective and unbiased.

Anonymous said...

Now you're making several assumptions. I never said I thought Elaine's blog is the truth. I will say, I find almost every thing she post to be factual and for a non-paid writer she does an admirable job. Of course, she too can be biased, but it's her blog and she can be as biased or unbiased as she pleases. Remember I wrote, it is what is, take it or leave it.
Unfortunately, as you point out, we don't have that option, it comes to our mailbox whether we want it or not.
But we do agree on the official hard copy of the magazine should be subscription based so let's see if we can make that happen.
Elaine has a poll, if enough readers vote maybe the commissioners/ McGill/Morgans will hear us.

I like your last sentence. Let's work for that.

E. T. Gillen said...

Of course my blog is biased. I form opinions based on the documentation that I post here. I try to document all my facts. I have 2GB of documents in my Google Docs account, all posted here on the blog or my website. That doesn't include the 6.94 GB of meeting recordings I have on my Sky Drive. Again, all available to everyone at any time on this blog or my website, lebocitizens.com.

Throughout the years here, people have submitted editorials. Anyone is welcome to submit an op/ed to me. Jason has committed to a series of twelve "issues" of Behind The Bubble. He is not being compensated. Lebolife bloggers get a $25 check. Thank you, Jason, for your commitment.

Readers come here on their own free will. I don't charge a fee. You don't need a subscription or have to join anything. You can stop reading it at any time. If you choose to attack my blog, it is your prerogative, but why do you bother reading it? Life is short. Read something that makes you happy. OK?

In the meantime, I will continue to publish my feelings, as well as any documentation that I can share. Opinions are welcome; however, I do reserve the right not to publish something that is inappropriate.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Elaine,
No one ever said that there is something wrong with having an opinion blog. There is, of course, something wrong with having an opinion blog (or magazine too!) and trying to pass it off as fact or correct. There also is nothing wrong with being biased, considering everyone is biased, as long as something biased is not attempted to be passed off as unbiased fact. Such is the problem with MSNBC, Fox News, etc. While they may be useful to convey news, all of these channels are more entertainment, carrying great biased. Personally, I blame these channels for the stark polarization of the country. Everyone simply watches what they agreed with or what "makes them happy" as you put it. In doing this, people go beyond the bubble that they deem "bad," but then deep into a different bubble of comfort. I'm not sure that we should all just read and watch what contents us, because no one will ever see the opposite sides of the argument. Your blog vs The Lebo Mag are this exact case on a small, local scale. Although you do not like the Lebo Mag's opinions or bias, the people who find fondness in reading the magazine most likely do not enjoy your bias or opinions. But if we ONLY read the biased things that "make us happy," how will we understand the other side? How will we hope to compromise? No one will ever agree on everything, a series of compromises must be made. At times, commenters on this blog have turned to harsh name-calling and insults. What good does this do? You should welcome the debate of other commenters and citizens. I cannot attempted to pass this off as fact, but I really do feel strongly that if we all just "read what makes us happy," we will only become further and further divided.

Anonymous said...

5:22, excellent comment. So something good has come out of Jason's first post.
Let's keep the amiable discussions going and thank Elaine for making it possible.
I still think she's deserving of a community volunteer award.

Anonymous said...

from personal experience i can tell you that the commission does a lot more than silence residents. in my experience, since i continued to speak despite their intimidation tactics, they did a whole lot of punishing, toxic lying and harassment behind the scenes. until brumfield and bendel (AT THE VERY LEAST) are out, i have NO FAITH IN MT LEBANON's corrupt little government. even then, the patterns are there and well known by municipal staff.

however, KUDOS to Jason M for highlighting the silencing tactics utilized so effectively by these "public servants".

E. T. Gillen said...

Over a year ago, I received an anonymous comment from a fearful reader. This reader signed the unpublished comment "Scared." The reader was fearful that Brumfield would recognize the author. The exact words were,"Many fear him not for physical violence but well you know." How sad is that?

I have not been at a commission meeting for over a year now. Taking me to court was certainly an intimidating tactic. They expected me to back down. Both he and Susan Morgans threatened me with a lawsuit. Mike Madison was threatened with a lawsuit when he had Blog Lebo. It's what they do.

Thank you, 7:06 PM, for not backing down.
Elaine