Officials, comments won’t deter our coverage

Published 10:26pm Friday, July 12, 2013

Most days, we sit here and offer our opinion on topics impacting our community, our home.

Right or wrong, we never take this task lightly as the opinion we take carries with it the nearly 130 years of credibility built over The Selma Times-Journal’s history.

Over the past few weeks, though, we were starting to feel like we were yelling at the mountain, only for the mountain to sit there and do nothing to change, offer no response.

In the past few editorials, we have encouraged local elected officials to call on Alabama Department of Transportation officials to delay some of the crucial repaving projects planned for Old Cahaba Road, J.L. Chestnut Boulevard and Medical Center Parkway.

The delay in the project was desperately needed, we felt, because of the massive bridge replacement project scheduled to begin Monday on Dallas Avenue; a project that is going to throw an amazing amount of traffic onto the roads scheduled to be repaved. As we said last week, that is a recipe for major delays, major problems and major frustrations; frustrations we felt could be put off for a few months.

And, surprisingly, they listened. Then, as if they had given us a wonderful dish of ice cream, they took it away Tuesday when members of the city council withdrew any plans to request a delay, saying in short that “We should be happy with what we are getting and we should just grin and bear it.”

Oh well. We’ve never been one to be so naive to think common sense weighed heavily on every decision.

Then there was Thursday’s Selma City School Board meeting where board member Frank Chestnut Jr. again used valuable meeting time to discuss how the local media – specifically the Times-Journal – only spent time and energy covering the bad things happening in the school system.

This marked the untold countless meeting where Chestnut and others have railed against the Times-Journal’s coverage.

In response to Chestnut, we truly appreciate his efforts in spreading the news of the state investigation into a sex scandal at Selma High School and the underperforming testing and graduation rates in the system. We felt we had done a pretty good job, but validation is always important.

Honestly, comments from school officials don’t and can’t deter us in our coverage; they only go to show some of the misplaced priorities of board members. Maybe if the board spent as much time focusing on the academic and financial foundation of our school system, covering “the good news” would be much, much easier.

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