Civility forum moves forward to squelch public dissent
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ed Koch once said ,”If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.”
But not according to Stephen Borg, Publisher and President, North Jersey Media Group, who insisted that the whole problem is that since people have found their voice through social media they have come to so many different opinions civil discourse has fallen .Things were so much better when North Jersey Media had a monopoly on public discussion and could always dictate terms . Borg implied that elites like himself we the only ones qualified to make those decisions. Borg pointed out how this blog and its anonymous posters are the greatest enemy to not only American Democracy but to the dominance of North Jersey Media Group. While I was rather flattered that the Publisher and President, North Jersey Media Group thought this blog shook the very foundations of civil discourse and was viewed as the barbarians at the gate , I would suggest the far larger problem might be the totally bias, and slip shot reporting of his Media Empire. Borg set the tone for the evening which came down silencing critics and reasserting the elitist “we know better than you ” , so time to be quite .
So the Mayor hosted his panel discussion on Civility in Public Discourse at Ridgewood Public Library on Tuesday . Panelists included Lynne Algrant, Councilwoman, Englewood Stephen Borg, Publisher / President, North Jersey Media Group Jacqueline Luthcke, Captain, Ridgewood Police Department Robert Sommer, Public Affairs Executive / Jersey City Official and the headliner James Tedesco, Bergen County Executive . The facilitator David Fine, Rabbi, Temple Israel and yes it did appear to be a Democrat love fest.The Councilwoman went a bit off script and focused on the idea that public servants have to set the standards an idea we can fully agree with , next came Mr Borg with a rousing to the point ;its all about anonymous bloggers , the Ridgewood Police Captain gave a bit of confused speech about dealing with the public yet managing to stay on script and you guessed blame those mean and uncooperative anonymous bloggers ,to me she was most disappointing , because as a Police officer dealing with the public in often less than optimal settings her input on those situations would have been most instructive. Robert Sommer from Jersey City , basically stuck to the script but added it was ok him to exaggerate the consequences of decisions , but its not ok for you , yes he said that .
All four also hit on “respect” and “the benefit of the doubt” , humm the benefit of the doubt , well that lost me with the Village Hall renovation fiasco, $500, 000 golden toilets , turf fields in flood zones and my personal favorite “Quartergate ” . As for respect , respect has to be earned , and also given so thats simple . The headliner James Tedesco, Bergen County Executive spoke well touched on some of what the others said and surprise no comments on anonymous bloggers . Perhaps he came for a meet and greet or perhaps those same anonymous bloggers, supported his police merger plan long before he knew he had it. In any case politics aside he made a good impression , and was clearly not the fabled Paramus hot head of yesteryear, speaking on how personal tragedy had giving him a softer world view.