The Rapid City Journal’s “Two Cents” section is a great tool for people to thank a good Samaritan, make a comment about the parks or other items of interest and so on. It’s kind of a cute idea really, but it has turned into a gathering place and public forum for ill-informed and disgruntled folks who need to get something off their chest. The Rapid City Journal defends the Two Cents and hails it as an important means for the public to have a voice without repercussion from those they attack.
Why is it a good idea to encourage anonymous criticism? How does this make us a better community? It’s not and it doesn’t. I’m not surprised at this, since we have seen social media start as one thing and devolve into another. People are becoming not only critics, but experts in areas of which they have little or no knowledge.
Two cases in point from the RCJ’s July 4th 2016 edition:
First of all – the Humane Society has not approached the City to assist with their maintenance costs (the City already contributes $278,000 per year). Secondly and more importantly – who ever said a City task force costs money? City task forces are not paid groups, they are without exception volunteers from the community. The “paid meal” comment comes from RCJ reporting about the Civic Center Resolution Task Force having lunch meetings with food provided. The fact is, the Civic Center caters meals for many groups throughout the weeks and months, and task force members have been eating excess meals from those events during their meetings… except for the times I asked the Civic Center to prepare brown bag meals: Those turkey sandwiches were more expensive than the gourmet-ish meals left over from events. The bottom line: This volunteer task force made up of business professionals from the community has probably cost no more than $100 in food per month.
This one has to do with the campaign to build a new Civic Center arena a couple of years ago. The City’s Capital Improvement Fund (generated by a City .46 percent sales tax) and the City’s Vision Fund (also funded by a separate .46 percent sales tax) were combined on paper, in other words in a City ordinance, in order to allow the City to get a better interest rate on proposed bonding for the massive project. That’s it. There was never a time when the funds were “combined” into one fund.
Capital improvement funds are used to rebuild roads and other infrastructure, build government buildings, help purchase new fire trucks and fund other large City improvements. That’s why the fund exists and it will never go to a new arena as long as we have a Vision Fund process.
As far as my “new projects” go, the author of this comment must know something I don’t. Certainly they don’t think fixing ADA issues at the Civic Center is a “new project” since that seemed to be the impetus for the initial Civic Center expansion discussion.
So, there are two issues here: (1) Some people are uninformed and choose not to be better informed prior to attacking others, and (2), The local newspaper feels it is important to give people a public platform to anonymously criticize others. The only major accomplishment I see with the Two Cents is another tool to cause division among the people of our community. This makes No Cents to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I support a business doing what they believe will benefit them, it’s just that with the newspaper, I expect more news and less gossip.