Second District County Commissioner Mike Schatz took exception to being called a “bum” by a person, or persons, who used the Internet to criticize the Franklin County commissioners because they approved a minor property tax hike for the general fund and the road and bridge fund. The story that caused the criticisim was on The Missourian’s website and in the print edition.
The commissioners made the slight increases because of a drop in the total assessed valuation of real estate and pesonal property. It was done to make sure the county had about the same amount of revenue as in the previous year to meet financial obligations. If they hadn’t made the slight increases in the two taxes, cuts in services likely would occur. The commissioners did the right thing.
In a news story in Wednesday’s Missourian, Schatz explained in detail why the increases were needed.
He obviously was upset by being called a “bum” who should be voted out of office by critics who used the Internet to vent their anger.
The suggestion from us to Commissioner Schatz, don’t worry about those Internet critics who undoubtedly have closed minds. As a public official, you are a target for criticism, regardless of the good you do or don’t do, and always consider the source. If anonymous, or use of a phoney name, that speaks of a person who doesn’t have the guts to sign his name to his remarks. The best thing to do, in a situation such as this, when you know you did the right thing, ignore the critics, and their name calling.
We remember when the word “bum” actually was a compliment. Very good Brooklyn Dodger baseball teams back in the 1930s and 1940s were referred to as the Brooklyn Bums. Then there was the Atlanta Crackers of the old Southern League. We have the Vancouver Canucks in hockey. Some people think Canuck is a derogatory word.
Webster does give a definition of a “Bum” as a rather disreputable person. The Brooklyn Dodgers wore the “Bums” title proudly as they were a force on the diamond.
As a young sportswriter and when Washington had softball leagues, the best team in the league was called the “Bums” by this writer. It was meant to be a compliment! The team sponsor didn’t take it that way. We tried to explain what was meant. We failed to be a winner in that discussion.
It takes thick skin to be a public official. President Harry Truman always said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” We aren’t suggesting that Commissioner Schatz give up the ship or get out of the kitchen. We believe he is a good public official who is trying to do the right thing. You can’t please everybody. You learn that quickly in the newspaper business in dealing with the public.
We ignore the Internet critics.