We should all be sorry that Michael Stone is headed for Florida U. to get his Master’s degree. We should be grateful for his almost two years of being here. His “goodbye" article spoke better than anything I could write but I will give you experiences about the last 18 months or so with Patch.
Before Patch came along our city, especially City Hall, never had a spotlight shone on them. Some elected officials did not like having any light. During the campaign last fall, the Mayor constantly raved about issues that showed up in Patch, especially the "commentaries." She often raved about how they needed to be sued for "slander." I reminded her that elected officials cannot, as a rule, sue anyone for slander and offered to loan her a book on the subject. She never would take me up on it. She might review all of the gossip and such that she has put out there over the past years. She should still get a copy of this book.
I talked with Michael quite a bit when I was still on the council. I could tell that this was not some regular reporter who we occasionally met. In fact we met very few real reporters. That has been a big problem. We had no regular news until Patch and Michael came along. He quickly observed that our Mayor/Council system was not quite operating according to Hoyle. Except for a few of us, it was the Mayor's show all the way.
How was it that we went 18 months without a real city manager but paid her all this money? Was this legal? Did it make sense? Well, folks began questioning this during the elections on the pages of Patch. I guess that one could say the issue was settled with the Mayor's re-election by 55 percent. Some folks might wonder about this and I have written many times and will continue, even though Michael has left, things will keep going perhaps beyond what the City Hall folks want.
Please be sure to give me a call when you are in the area. Maybe they will have a City meeting that day!