One of our team members was visiting a client.
A woman came up to her and asked, “Who is that David guy that writes every week?” Our team member said, “He is our owner and CEO.”
The woman asked, “What does D-R Media stand for? Does that mean he is a Democrat and Republican?”
LL writes, “I cannot believe that your newspaper has now become political with your opinion section...I do not believe your paper is the forum for such...in fact I am outraged by it...I would think every Democrat and Republican should be offended!!!”
Thank you to the readers who are inquiring about my personal politics – a special thank you to those who wrote me who were outraged by my writing.
Let me try to help explain where I am coming from. Not Democrat. Not Republican.
At heart, I am a parochialist. I believe the closer government is to the people, the better government we have.
Unfortunately, over many years, I’ve observed the opposite is true. The system is stacked against local decision making. There is a food chain of political arrogance.
County commissioners believe they know better and are smarter than city council members. After all, county commissioner is a higher-level job and harder to get.
State legislators believe they know better and are smarter than county commissioners. Our elected officials in Tallahassee regularly make rules counties must follow. State regulations control our schools – not the local school boards.
Our congressmen believe they know better and are smarter than elected officials in Tallahassee. Washington, D.C., is an even higher-level job – in their opinion. Our elected officials in Washington, D.C., love to make new rules for the states to follow.
Our Presidents believe they know better and are smarter than our members of Congress. After all, being President is the hardest job to get. Why not just write executive orders to create law?
I am a parochialist because, out of all those public officials in the political food chain, I trust city council and county commissioners the most. Potholes, encouraging local businesses, sewer and sidewalks are not political – they are quality of life and financial resource issues.
It feels to me on the state and national level, both Democrats and Republicans have decided to put party over people. I believe local officials are more likely to put the public first and politics second.
This column is a little more political than I would like right now because I am angry. Our federal and state governments destroyed millions of small businesses by their inept handling of this coronavirus crisis.
We threw away the initial sacrifice of our local small business owners who were forced by government to close their business while politically connected businesses stayed open. To me, the politics of the pandemic seem more important right now at the state and federal level, than serving the public.
Fighting to preserve the vitality of our local main street merchants is not a Democrat or Republican issue.
I firmly believe there are no cool local communities with personality unless you have enough cool local businesses with personality. Cool local business communities attract newcomers and create a stable tax base.
That’s what I am for.
Supporting a vibrant local business community is a large part of why I am in the local news business. If the local paper doesn’t fight for local businesses and local issues against the higher ups in the political food chain – who will?
Share your thoughts.
David Dunn-Rankin is CEO of D-R Media, which owns the Winter Haven Sun, Four Corners News-Sun and Polk News-Sun in Polk County, as well as newspapers in Highlands, Lake and Sumter counties. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.