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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, Amazon.com and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Editorial Comment: And when the newspapers die. . . .

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Smithfield planning commission recommends change in appeals process

By Blaze Bullock

February 23, 2009 | SMITHFIELD -- The Planning Commission has decided unanimously that the city should adopt a one-person appeal authority.

Everyone in the commission agreed that a one-person-appeal authority system would be the best for the city, opposed to the alternative of having an appeal authority board. The next step in implementing the idea will be when the City Council has its next meeting to discuss and vote on the matter.

If the council rejects the idea, then the planning commission will have to come up with a new plan, said Commissioner Roger Douglas. "If they don't like it, it comes back to us."

No one has been suggested yet for the position, but the person will be the attorney for the city if the council passes the idea. Once hired for the position, the appeal authority will be under contract for three years. Once the contract is up, the contract may be renewed for a year. "Each time the year-long contract ends, it may be renewed," said Commissioner Jamie Anderson.

All the commissioners agreed that both of the ideas have drawbacks. One problem mentioned for a board would be that Smithfield has a relatively small population--about 9,100. This can be a problem because board members aren't supposed to be contacted by citizens concerning their meetings and agenda items. In small towns, neighbors apparently call board members and try to get certain items passed to help them.

The commission's suggestion to the council was not an easy one to make. In fact, at the beginning of the discussion, most of the commissioners didn't like the idea. Some worried that if one person held the position, instead of a board of people, that it might be too much power for one person to handle; although no one ever said what exactly was meant by that.

That thought changed when Commissioner David Price emphasized making sure the person hired was capable and trustworthy. Commissioner Richard Jewkes agreed and said he liked the idea of the position being filled by one person. "I'm in favor of having one person as an appeal authority."

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