August 2007 – Fouke City Council Reconsidering Website Proposal

Texarkana Gazette
August 2007

City Council deserves praise for listening to public, reconsidering Website proposal

Some days ago in this space we criticized the Fouke, Ark., City Council for voting down a proposal by the mayor that their city put up a Website to inform the public of municipal business.

At the time, many on the council seem possessed more by fear than reason, wondering if an official city Website would encourage bloggers and others to criticize their actions, even to the point of engaging in personal character attacks against them and their families.

Our opinion was and is that more information given the people by their governing bodies is always a good thing. And we said that public office always carries the burden of public criticism. If these city officials feared public criticism they shouldn’t have sought their elected posts.

But just as we are prepared to criticize, we are also happy to praise.

Recently, the Fouke City Council reconsidered the Website proposal.

Citing public outcry as a reason, the council approved the proposal by a 6-2 vote.

The new Website will cost the city nothing. It will be administered by the mayor and will not be a place for public comment, but more of a bulletin board to keep the citizens of Fouke informed as to what is going on in their city and its government.

We applaud those council members who reconsidered their decision and decided to vote for a city Website. It shows they are willing to listen to their constituents. At least most council members were willing.

And we applaud those citizens of Fouke who made their feelings known to the council. Your voices were heard.

Let’s not kid ourselves. There are internal tensions in Fouke and they aren’t going to go away any time soon. The presence of Tony Alamo Ministries, welcomed or at least tolerated by some in the community, is perceived by others to be a major threat to their way of life.

People have taken sides. And they are looking closely at those they consider friend or foe. That includes city officials. Their actions will be dissected and criticized. Their characters will be questioned.

It’s already apparent on some Internet bulletin boards.

But that is no reason to limit public access to information. The new Website will make that information more available, more convenient. They may take some licks in the future, but the Fouke City Council did the right thing by revisiting and approving the idea of a city Website.

In: 2000-2007

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