Cheers & Jeers

JEERS – To a slippery slope. This one actually would fall somewhere between a cheer and a jeer. We never would question the right to assemble and demonstrate, as health care workers, labor unions and community supporters did this week to call attention to contract negotiations between Nathan Littauer Hospital and a union representing more than 375 workers there. Promoting the event as a candlelight vigil is where the slippery slope comes in. Most associate a candlelight vigil with people coming together in remembrance of lives lost or to show support after a tragedy. For example, the hospital auxiliary’s annual holiday candlelight ceremony reflects the spirit of such a gathering. On Thursday night, hospital workers were rallying for contract support. Their gathering was legitimate, but we’d call it a rally.

CHEERS – To drums along Main Street. The Johnstown Memorial Day Parade was absent for only one year, but the sounds of drums were noticeably missed. Thanks to efforts by the Common Council and city Fire Chief Bruce Heberer, Main Street once again will be lined with parade enthusiasts. The late Ruth B. White, the lead drum major for planning decades of parades, surely will be smiling down during this parade. We encourage any organization, band or individual who is asked by the committee to participate in the parade to say yes. For that matter, why wait to be contacted? Give the chief a call and tell him you will help.

JEERS – To imposing gag orders. After reporting on possible candidates for elected positions recently, we were told no one should be questioned about political activities but the head of the political party. By no means was this the first time we’ve seen chairmen or women, presidents of elected boards or school superintendents try to limit who can speak to the press or whom we should request information from. While it’s true there can be written policies designating official spokesmen for these groups, it does not mean elected people are banned from giving comments and information to the press or public. The press, or any taxpaying, voting individual, should be able to approach any elected person, or any person who has intentions of seeking office, for information or their views.

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