Anonymous comments on the Northfield News website

Point of View by Kiffi Summa.

[show_avatar email=kiffisumma@gmail.com]I have been for several years, and continue to be, seriously opposed to the Northfield News practice of allowing anonymous comments on their website.

You might ask,  “Why? How seriously does anyone take comments to which a person does not care to attach their name?”

My answer is this: Some people  take those anonymous comments seriously enough to bring some of that defamatory material, mis-representations of fact,  outright lies, etc.,   to this opinion based community discussion, thereby convoluting the discussion in a way which, I believe, is a  detriment to community relationships.

Griff gets angry with me if  I refer to the Northfield News’s anonymous commenters, and says they are not relevant simply because of their anonymity and being “off-site” , even if they relate to a current subject thread on Locally Grown.

I disagree, strenuously.

There is no journalistic purpose served by allowing anonymous comments; the ‘gossip’ factor drives hits to their website, which then encourages advertising sales.

A good portion of their website comments do not deal with being for or against an issue brought forward by an article in the print version of the newspaper; instead they are personal attacks  meant to harm, if not actually libel; they are often attached to an article to which there is no relevant content link.

Example: A few weeks ago  a rash of escalating offensive comments were attached to various articles, including one to that week’s City Administrator’s Memo. The one attached to the administrator’s memo was removed, and an admonition (citing lack of relevance to the city memo as reason for removal) was posted from Jaci Smith, the Northfield News Editor; however, all the other comments were allowed to remain in place.

Anonymous comments allowed on newspaper websites have been the subject of some spirited debate. What do you think is their impact in our community?


338 Comments

  1. Kiffi Summa said:

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED !

    Thank you, Mr Gett…

    June 23, 2010
    Reply
  2. john george said:

    This is certainly a step in the right direction. Now you have some competition, Griff.

    June 23, 2010
    Reply
  3. Kathie Galotti said:

    Good for you, Kiffi! This never would have happened, I believe, without your bringing up the issue and debating it vigorously. Although I don’t always see eye-to-eye with you on all aspects of this issue, I do admire your determination, and it’s nice to see it have a tangible payoff.

    June 23, 2010
    Reply
  4. Patrick Enders said:

    It sounds like a good policy. There is this caveat:

    Those who wish to submit a comment anonymously will still be able to do so, but those comments will fall into a pending queue, where they’ll be reviewed for approval within 24 hours under a very strict set of standards. Essentially, if those comments contribute to the online conversation in a thoughtful, respectful, civil manner, we’ll post them.

    It will be interesting to see where exactly this new demarcation line will fall.

    June 23, 2010
    Reply
  5. William Siemers said:

    It looks like folks that want to comment anonymously will be able to do so, albeit in a delayed fashion. This seems like a reasonable compromise.

    Hopefully the NEWS will make their own determination of what constitutes, personal attack, libel and FALSE ACCUSATIONS! From their comments on the site, it seems that the NEWS will allow FairandBalanced to continue to make his (or her) opinion known.

    June 23, 2010
    Reply
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    I wonder how much the upcoming local elections had to do with their decision to change their policy.

    June 24, 2010
    Reply
    • Kiffi Summa said:

      Virtually ZERO if fandb is who most people think he/she/it is…. or do you mean that the NFNews might be protecting he/she/it from his/her/ its self?

      June 24, 2010
      Reply
  7. If I had a business or was a prominent member of this city or region and had something to say that goes against the grain, I would post anonymously because of the hard core opposition and life time snubbing that goes on here and many other communities across the country. (Or if I had children in the schools, etc.)

    In a world where there is real ongoing compassion and understanding, no one would feel a need to hide.

    June 25, 2010
    Reply
    • We are all in positions from time to time where we make the choice, for various reasons, not to speak up. We make that decision because we have decided (rightly or wrongly) that the benefits of speaking do not outweigh the perceived negative consequences. But like most things in life, you can’t have it both ways. A comment without authorship is by definition lacking in context, credibility, and accountability. It strikes me as being akin to rumor and gossip. There may be a nugget of wisdom or truth tucked in among all that secrecy, but for my money it just isn’t worth the time to try to find it.

      June 25, 2010
      Reply
      • I think the choice is made for people when they know their livelihood may be in jeopardy simply for one view held and expressed. Although we may not agree with the viewpoint, unless it has been previously stated by someone else, all viewpoints have some validity. Even if they come from someone who is very different from ourselves. To dismiss the view offhand, simply because you don’t know who authored it is doing a great disservice to yourself.

        We don’t know most of the people whose views we read, but most people will give the opinion a look over if the subject is interesting or pertinent enough. What’s in a name? And how many people do we know who have secretly held agendas while saying one thing and meaning another?

        June 25, 2010
    • kiffi summa said:

      Bright: I am puzzled by your statements in #107 as they seem to go against precepts of trying to attain a better world, which you have often expressed…

      If you think “life time snubbing” is a bad thing, why would you passively sustain it by succumbing to its pressures?

      You have made many principled statements against such subtle, and often not so subtle, tactics. I am surprised to see you advocate for avoidance.

      How would one attain the world you say you seek without exposing its ”ills’?

      June 26, 2010
      Reply
      • Kiffi, I didn’t see this reply earlier. I’ll just stand by my view that it is fine to be anonymous for whatever reason, but I think people may be confusing the issues of not agreeing with what is said, rather than if the person’s name is known or not.

        If someone said I was wonderful, and didn’t want to say who it was, I’d just have to agree and go on my way. Same if the person said I was a (%(*#72-.

        I don’t feel that the person who wishes to remain anonymous is the ill one. I think a person trying to harm people is the ill one. In the case of the former, the illness lies in why the person felt forced to hide while stating their viewpoint.

        June 27, 2010
    • William Siemers said:

      Well said, Bright.

      There are thousands of circumstances where a person stands to be damaged in the community by voicing an unpopular opinion. The attitude of those who oppose anonymous posting is… ‘too bad for them’. If they can’t afford to lose their job, then they best keep quiet. Or, in this case, wait until the NEWS gets around to checking their post…24 hours being the ‘minimum’ before an anonymous post gets published. (Which, given the time sensitive nature of most topics, will really the limit access of those who need to protect their identity.) So perhaps this ‘Main Street’ mission was, in deed, accomplished. And by Main Street, I mean both Division and Gopher Prairie.

      I think I understand the NEWS’ position. With a relatively small staff they were forced to do ‘real time’ monitoring in order to discover the (very) rare post containing personal nastiness. At least I hope that’s why they made the change. If, on the other hand, they changed a policy that best enabled free expression in order to accommodate a couple of strident, but well connected, community members, then they ought to be ashamed.

      June 25, 2010
      Reply
    • kiffi summa said:

      Again, Bright… I find it unusual for you to be completely uniformed on a subject, and without having read these comments over a period of time, may I respectfully say you simply do not have a frame of reference… except in a purely theoretical way.

      June 26, 2010
      Reply
      • kiffi summa said:

        Your implication is clear, William…

        You may find me “strident”… I would caution you from seeming to be “the pot who …” ; furthermore, I am certainly not “well connected”.

        And yes, you have provoked me to respond on a personal level, rather than focussing on the issue, and I am provoked with myself for doing so… but I think I’ll let it stand.

        Why ‘let it stand’ ? I think by doing so it makes clear the destructiveness of negative attitudes that are personally abusive rather than issue oriented; and so I’ll use this example of my, in this case, defensive anger to exemplify the lack of any positive results in such an interchange.

        June 26, 2010
      • Kiffi, what do we have if not theory? Theoretically speaking, of course.

        June 26, 2010
  8. Michelle Hawkins said:

    I believe I have commented here, long ago, and am ladyfriend2 @ NN. While I like the new policy @ NN I seriously doubt any one factor, whether logrono, ear biting or threats (even made towards me at times),resulted in this change. A combination of all over a period of time has probably resulted in an “enough is enough” conclusion.

    I’ve read both consistantly and have a couple humble thoughts:
    I’ve seen as much nastiness here, cloaked in false polite, as any harassing, threatening and boldly stated obscenity in Northfield News comments.
    Triumverate and personalities here and there, need to get over themselves. What matters is NORTHFIELD.

    June 26, 2010
    Reply
  9. Tracy Davis said:

    Michelle,

    You wouldn’t believe how over myself I am.

    Wow, that was ungrammatical.

    June 26, 2010
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    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      Comment 52…I just LOATHE giving those ignorant yet opinionated anonymous commentors any more airtime or attention, so I hate seeing them brought up here as though they have any credibility.

      hmmmmm…..

      While “opinionated” due to a real love for our town and it’s young&old citizenry
      I am neither ignorant nor lacking credibility. General inclusive statements such as this, and no you are not alone by any stretch of the imagination, are self-righteous, and reek of a condescending nature. As if in effort to raise oneself up by pointing out fault, real,imagined, or manufactured.

      Not saying this is you in any way, perhaps you just got caught up in the commenting already going on, perhaps not. I don’t know.

      I just read, alot, everywhere. And listen, alot, to everyone willing to speak.
      Anonymous or not, a person’s opinion and information can lead to insight as long as contempt prior to investigation is not in effect and a holier-than-thou attitude is left at the door.

      (don’t ask how i know this… ;-P

      June 26, 2010
      Reply
      • Tracy Davis said:

        Michelle, I’m not saying that all anonymous comments are ignorant, as though anonymity and ignorance are the same thing.

        I’m saying that comments that demonstrate ignorance or malice (or both), and are also anonymous, do not have any credibility with me; there is no reason to respond to those comments or treat them as though they are reasoned responses to whatever the issue is.

        June 26, 2010
  10. Tracy Davis said:

    And I think Griff is probably correct: That the upcoming elections, and the laws governing the access candidates have to various media (including newspapers) had a lot to do with the policy change.

    June 26, 2010
    Reply
  11. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Access to politicians hasn’t effected a change in anonymity standards in recent past years. But -ok. Take it as part of a wider group of reasons for the change. I do doubt it was any greater a factor than that. Peoples lives,livelihoods, and property were being threatened too.
    So I agree with you about malicious anonymous posting with one exception, all threats should be taken as credible, to do any less is at one’s own peril.

    If I read comment 52 all by itself, and never read any of the other comments in this and other threads, I see and accept completely your explanation. However, your comment cannot be read without having already digested the voluminous comments posted in those threads. The context dictates the impression @ LoGroNo and at NN.

    Malicious and scarily threatening anonymous comments have led to my being guilty of contempt prior to investigation myself, and meeting with that person( a thing that had me shaking in fear & suspiscion on the way to that meeting) led to an honorable conclusion of our seeing our similarities, accepting our differences. I have attempted to humble myself, allow for differing perspectives, and a persons anonymity has not influenced that either way. I do emphasize the word AttemPteD. Only human here.

    I didn’t bring the nastiness up to start a disagreement, was only commenting on a reader’s perspective. I hope LoGroNo understands.

    June 26, 2010
    Reply
  12. victor summa said:

    This may be thread drift, but Patrick started it.

    I’d say the comment over “here” as you put it Patrick, is largely uninformed, off point and largely irrelevant to the implementation of TIF policy in Minnesota and the limited use of local TIF District’s tax revenue.

    While it may seem to make sense (not unlike affirmative action, title nine covenants. and school desegregation law of the 50s/60s) TIF deals with local business development, not social inequalities.

    The major difference making the discussion “over here” (there?) moot is that all those issues I listed are Federal mandates, and I guess can be categorized as social ills … ills which local government has little power and/or perhaps political heart to make rules seek to govern conduct in these areas of concern. Such concern, is usually limited to a toothless City Council Proclamation of Support … easy to vote for and safe to assume it may have no real impact on some politician’s NIMBY perspective.

    To me that list and others fall under the umbrella of welfare, and the elimination of prejudicial government, and that almost most assuredly has to come from the Federal government, to direct the state and local governments. It is not uncommon for the State Lawmakers to try to intervene. State’s Rights!

    See Texas and redistricting as an example.

    TIF on the other hand most closely resembles those kinds of programs in that it also provides SUPORT … but for business development which in turn (in theory) promotes the local well being … by strengthening the local economy. It i all about money, and Laddybird2 is right, but it is not taking away form the needy.

    “Over there”, there seems to be some hue and cry about: Forget the downtown, spend money on programs that directly impact the needy.

    The TIF funds from tax payments in the district, are designed by state law to be plowed back into the area that is included in the geographic district.

    To the extent that upgrading the DT does serve the needy and the not so needy by providing for improvements to THEIR community within the “District” all parties … those living on Mayflower Hill (buzz-word for those who have too much) to those living in subsidized housing .. or in lower property valued neighborhoods – all these citizens should see a value (in this TIF case) in the core downtown being supported.

    Redistributing the wealth is another issues.

    Robin Hood worked in redistributing the wealth because he challenged the King’s authority. We may have some who think they are princes or princesses on our City Council. but you elected them. You’ll have another shot at that in November when some of them are running to hold their seat.

    How about some energies over here and “there” on who’s in and who’s out.

    More thread drift?

    Hold on to your hats!

    June 27, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      Bear with me as I have had a long arduous and sad day. I just wanted to clarify one thing. *I* am not asking for any aid to “the needy” Shoot, in these times, we’re ALL needy in one way or the other!

      Yes, I have an agenda. Never made any secret of that. And if you’ve read the history of my posts you know my priorities lie with the youth of our town, things for them to do instead of getting drunk and high, driving out of town on unlit roads, cruising along rivers @ 4am, skating on unsafe streets and byways, doing bike tricks in parking lots without benefit of any safety..OD’ing on drugs,drowning while drunk,getting pregnant after pot..
      Heroin and other addictives are flowinginto Northfield, and an element from the cites is encroaching and moving into Northfield you really don’t want your daughters, or sons, hangin with.
      This has resulted in that same element pulling along side me after I posted such and warned me if I didnt shut up I could be Northfields first drive-by. Property managers, upset at my quoting them, neighbors telling me mgmt would probably make up a reason to evict me, tho I live a clean quiet life and pay my rent on time.

      I love Northfield. And I am a blue dog. Socially conscious fiscal conservative. I don’t wish business owners any ill here, I adore our downtown. But to spend money in it looks incredibly horrible when kids can raise $10,000 for a skate park and be told no.

      I work with some of those kids at my job. I used to serve virtually all of them, and probably most of you for a quick bite at my last job. You and they are part of why I fell in love with this little place of a big heart.

      I started calling the spending Fluff&Stuff in one of my comments. It caught on. Not because it’s catchy, but because people feel like they may agree, if not in legal manner, in moral ethics of the economic times.
      I don’t know these people by their usernames, and unless i saw their face probably wouldn’t know all of them by given name.

      So.. after this horrific day for all mothers who’ve lost a child and live in this fair area,after the horrific weeks of waiting, to know that it was another car load of loaded kids that has broken a mother’s heart, and shattered a mans breath in his being,…

      I ask you

      What is first, your signs and streets, and flowers, and trees and and and and and
      or the potential ability to stem the tide of intoxicant use by our youth and others, while at the same time building an activity park, give kids something to do, a 4 season usage, a place to go on dates with dances too, perhaps thru a group of business investors, that would also serve the purpose of adding revenue, tax dollars, and attractivenes to professional families that would watch a $38,000 video of just flowers and old wonderful shops, plain parks and little else.

      A skate park, bike ramp lap area circling a youth oriented “coffee shop, dance club, etc, such as “the DEPOt’ teen club/coffee shop in Hopkins,where alateen could also meet, and sober fun could be had,even in winter, with the ramps converted to sledding and small ski practice.

      A pipedream, you all might say. She’s crazy (probably) that could never be done here, we don’t have that kind of funding….

      Then you don’t know how to dream.

      My name is Michelle Lorraine Hawkins-Hazelwood. Possibly the most uninformed opinionated loudmouth Northfield has had to suffer.
      I have two missing sons, reported such in different years and a daughter whose circumstances pains so much to speak of, I just can’t..

      My priorities are not misplaced.

      And i mean no one any ill.

      June 28, 2010
      Reply
      • Griff Wigley said:

        Michelle, thus far, your contributions here seem genuine and helpful. I haven’t seen the “uninformed opinionated loudmouth” tho maybe I should attach a ‘yet’ to that. 😉

        Since this message thread is attached to a blog post about the pros and cons of anonymous comments, I contend that your heartfelt and well-reasoned plea for more money for area youth programs and projects has a lot more impact/influence because your real name is attached to it.

        June 28, 2010
      • Kiffi Summa said:

        Michelle: thanks for your openness and your concern for the youth of this community.
        Your concerns for the youth are well placed, and maybe should be one of the very top priorities for the community; they are our living future.

        I will admit that my obvious concern about the damage to people and community done by the intentionally harmful anonymous comments on the NFNews has taken over some other priorities for me. I despise the destructiveness of the misinformation that is constantly pushed there.

        Your “pipedream” sounds wonderful, and I agree wholeheartedly that more youth focussed activities are needed. Sadly, I think when even a real skateboard park is denied… and denied it was by our city gov’t … and even when the citizen volunteer Park Board was very supportive… then dreams will disappear.

        Thanks for your comments, and your name, because now there’s a real person attached to the words.

        Thanks again…

        June 28, 2010
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        I may repeat myself by posting a version of what I have said here… over there. With no intention of “spam” tactics, rather only in sending out what this voter wishes to say at a time it is very hard to think and breath. I AM on a seemingly “one-woman/voter” campaign. Not for anything *I* need in life as a “needy” person. Rather for those we should be addressing first, hold in our wallets first, provide for FIRST.
        There many things F&B says i don’t agree with, there are some I have researched that, despite anything said here by some, have proved to be true. I will take any help I can get, from anyone willing to give it. to further my message, all or in part.

        Thus i fully expect to be bar-b-qued by those people so full of resentment and hate they can’t get over themselves to see there are no innocent parties in their “dispute”. There rarely is in any disagreement.

        Before dirt was invented, I was taught by my father:
        If you’re not part of the solution,
        You’re part of the problem.

        It’s taken decade for me to learn the true meaning of that.

        June 28, 2010
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        Wow, Kiffi, you surprise me! Thank you. Know this, the dream is NOT dead. I won’t stop my efforts til it happens. Also know if it means I speak loud and long about Fluff&stuff, TIF,EDA, and any other ABC of money not going to our future voters, in this and any other economy, it’s not a personal attack, it’s just a very personally felt cause.

        June 28, 2010
  13. Kiffi Summa said:

    I just looked at that thread on the NFNews site, and FandB, who claims to have found the Map that proves he’s right not only doesn’t have the facts, but would seem to be lacking in some reading skills, unless he/she/it is deliberately trying to mislead…

    The Map in question does have a boldly marked dotted red line that goes all the way down the highway, and is labeled (by the Key at the top) as the Master Development AREA.
    That is different from the Downtown TIF District which is shown on the map in Brown ,(again look at the Key on top which lists the TIF Districts) and is now called the Commercial District #4 (downtown) or something like that (Don’t have the map in front of me).

    There has been legitimate confusion about the “Master Development” designation, but if fandb is looking at the map, and reading the Key on that map, it should be clear that the MD AREA, and the Commercial District #4 (shown in Brown) are not related.

    Again, a deliberate attempt to mislead?

    June 27, 2010
    Reply
  14. victor summa said:

    Bright – somewhere back in this voluminous pile of discourse, (210 comments!) I think I recall you having said you really don’t read the N News web comments. If that’s accurate, then sincerely, I don’t think your stand on why some might find it essential to hide behind a pseudonym in this case, holds much water. If I’m wrong and you have read these remarks on the News’ blog then I can only say I don’t understand how you could read some of that and not question the writer’s sincerity … their motives.

    I’ll grant those that say “let it alone” are right, but human nature is to give-in to the need to respond.

    I’ll grant those who need protection might be out there. But if they were, they’d be taking on their employeers or the Council.

    Don’t think there’s a whistle blower in the que.

    A snow ball fight might be a game of silly rivalry, but when someone in a ski-mask stands hidden behind a fence and packs a rock into the snow .. and throws it at someone whom he is otherwise antagonistic toward … then I see no reason to consider that rock thrower doing anything but intending to do cowardly harm.

    A lot of that kind’a stuff was throw at me back in January over the open position I was taking on the EDA. The News hardly covered the issue in any depth, because had they, that coverage would have invited a reasonable response. Instead, they merely reported that two members of the EDA were hammering on process, wasting time The cowards piled on.

    Nothing’s changed … except Now I’m told, you can watch the EDA on KYMN’s streaming podcast, and if you listen to the arguments there, make a better informed decision.

    You might do that with the recent Micro Grant discussion concerning the Mandarin Garden,s new sign. then read the News’ slanted misleading coverage of the same event and the spin put on the EDA decision by some of the players – staff and EDA.

    I was right in this recent issue and I can defend it if there’s some intelligence behind the questions … and I was right back in January … whether you, or those using funky names to hide behind, think I was.

    What do I have to gain?

    What pray tell do they have to lose by OPENLY going after me? Only be exposed in the public’s eye and to give me credibility. It’s easier and safer to throw out false statements and there’s no recourse to be meted out to the unnamed.

    As a political person I realize this is the game and simply let it fall in the dust … usually.

    One whiner here on LG, who sees it appropriate to come after those he won’t name but clearly suggests, with defining attributes, who he alludes to, came to one meeting (EDA) and concluded because he saw my challenges to the status quo, that I was wrong. Why not right? Really, why not right? Whom else do you distrust?

    So, do you think Kiffi makes up facts?

    June 27, 2010
    Reply
  15. William Siemers said:

    Victor…

    The only reason I said “…a couple of strident, but well connected community members” was because I assumed everyone reading this thread knew who I meant. However, since you insist: Kiffi and Victor Summa. Still…If ‘coming after those he will not name’ causes you such trouble, why not name me rather than calling me ‘one whiner’?

    As to the post after my visit to the EDA meeting: It was clearly composed from the perspective of someone who was not personally familiar with what was going on there at the time…someone who ‘came to one meeting’ to see what all the publicity was about. While this may not be a completely informed perspective, it might still be a valid perspective. Interestingly, the opinions I expressed were echoed by the Northfield News a few days later in an editorial:

    “Engler and Summa have had their day in court, so to speak, and their peers on the board have said, through their votes, that they do not agree.

    Now it’s time for the two to make a choice: Accept the status quo or decide they can’t and step down.

    Continuing to raise this issue pushes back more important business to which the EDA should attend and could give businesses looking to move here a reason to move on to another town.”

    Victor, could this recap help explain why I felt you were “not right”?

    June 28, 2010
    Reply
  16. Kiffi Summa said:

    William: I did use your name in 108.2.1, but because I was angry… and I said I let that comment stand as a testament as to why these opinions should not be personal but construed around the issue .

    Obviously we all make ‘performance’ errors in our daily functioning; mine very often center on making the immediate response… as I am doing now.

    But I do get really annoyed by uniformed personal criticism; donate as many volunteer hours as those “strident” ones have; learn the facts instead of relying on the one-sided reporting of the local news; volunteer on city boards/commissions or in the schools or youth organizations, have an opinion that has some basis in understanding, and then I personally would have a lot more respect for your differing POV, because then it would have some depth to it, presumably…

    June 28, 2010
    Reply
  17. Patrick Enders said:

    Kiffi,

    Just an observation:
    On this site, both you and Victor have recently dismissed the opinions of others for the simple reason that we (myself and William) do not devote as much time as the two of you do to meetings, commissions, and committees. It is an unusual standard, and certainly one that very few people other than yourselves can be said to attain.

    However, if amount of time dedicated to committees and meetings is a measure of the validity of one’s opinion, I find it remarkable that you spend so much time denigrating and dismissing the opinions and proposals of Councilperson Jon Denison. He is one of the few people who can hold a candle to the accomplishments of the two of you in this regard.

    Perhaps it might be more useful to deal with the substance of the opinions, rather than the credentials of the persons holding them?

    June 28, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      I find it remarkable that you spend so much time denigrating and dismissing the opinions and proposals of Councilperson Jon Denison. He is one of the few people who can hold a candle to the accomplishments of the two of you in this regard.

      Perhaps it might be more useful to deal with the substance of the opinions, rather than the credentials of the persons holding them?>>>

      OOOUUUUIIII !!!! WELL SAID!

      June 28, 2010
      Reply
      • Kiffi Summa said:

        Michelle: as I said previously , I agree fervently with your dreams for NF’s youth and the need for money to be spent on youth activities.

        I believed a complex (not unsimiliar to your dream) of youth oriented activities, skateboard plaza and music venue to begin with, would be ideally situated in Ames Park ( Floodplain, noise etc. considerations all easily dealt with at that site)

        I also believed, and wrote and spoke many times, about the ‘gateway’ siting of such a facility would show that NF was a town that valued its youth… It was not to be, much to my disappointment.

        Now the 30-40 K ( more than the 10K you quoted) the kids had raised towards their goal of a permanent park has been mostly absorbed by a temporary facility.

        In your evaluation of candidates , and how they align with your personal values and aspirations, it would be important for you to check the voting record which shows that at a minimum of at least three decisive votes to determine the future of a city Skateboard Plaza, Councilor Denison consistently voted against the project…even at the March 18, 2008 vote of 4-3 FOR the Plaza at Ames Park, C. Denison voted against the project.

        That is but one reason why I cannot support Councilor Denison’s conclusions.

        June 28, 2010
    • Kiffi Summa said:

      Once again Patrick, you have mis-read my thoughts or possibly the way I express them.

      I do NOT think everyone need engage in a deep level of civic participation BUT if they are going to criticize then they need to get the facts straight.
      The amount of time spent in civic engagement is in NO WAY a guarantee of good outcomes, BUT it should provide a clearer understanding of facts.
      Any opinion is valid simply as that, an opinion; but if you link incorrect facts to a personal criticism based on an incomplete understanding, then that opinion loses its validity.

      Please do not compare me in any way to Councilor Denison; comparisons are odious.

      I’m sorry that you seem to find it “unusual” for an older person to be very engaged in a civic life. From your own statements, you do not have the time… I believe that very few younger people have the time; the pressures of life, work and family are extreme on those in your age group.

      I do have the right to have an opinion about an elected official, and I believe I always complain about mr. Denison’s conclusions based on the substance of them.

      I will continue to feel completely secure in the POV that attending one EDA meeting, in the midst of a by-laws, statutes, procedural crisis is not enough to then be personally critical of those who are trying to operate in a legal manner.

      Jon Denison: Since Patrick has brought you into the conversation once again and made assumptions, I will address those in reply to Patrick: I also feel completely secure in my POV that although he does his homework, I do not approve of the conclusions reached by mr. Denison, his lack of representation rather than ‘troublemaking’ with regard to his 4-1 constituents, his personal vendettas, and his lack of political savvy in dealing with many societal matters, i.e. most recently Waterford. IMHO, mr. Denison represents the Staff and Administrative POV far too often, and spends far too much time at City Hall following citizens around as they go about their business.

      I have said before Patrick, that I think it is better if we do not engage with each other, but you always start it up again… and then I must reply, or allow you to continue to misrepresent what I say.

      June 28, 2010
      Reply
  18. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Griff, i believe I am approaching opinionated loudmouth -now . 😉
    I’m just old enough to have earned wisdom, not yet old enough to close my mind.

    So I offer hard earned “wisdom:” NoW.

    There’s a lot of “Fluff” and “Stuff” in the choice of disagreements in this town. It’s distracting and takes time from real issues.

    I have never held shame for a local political body’s actions or inactions ( I SAID LoCaL) before, however I am embarassed to think I may have voted for some of those powers-that-be in the past.
    (Won’t make that mistake twice!)

    Could WE please begin TODAY, in choosing our fights (and thus discussions disagreements)more carefully?
    To borrow a phrase from an ANONYMOUS group:
    Principles before personalities. a.k.a. Don’t shoot the messenger (just because you don’t like..or agree..with the message.)

    Civil Debate, despite when other’s digress from it’s employ, produces educated and thoughtful response on the ISSUES. If we become petty and sling personal arrows at those who have shot at us, we appear no better than what we think of them.
    And we’ve allowed ourselves to be robbed of energy better dedicated.

    I see this @ NN. I certainly see this here. I am appalled @ this in our city government.

    Just thoughts..knee-jerk in nature, from an almost old woman with her own big mouth to reign in!.

    June 28, 2010
    Reply
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        I think your enforcement is no better or worse than other places, if I have violated policy here, feel free to delete my post, I am always openminded when perception may not be what I meant to convey.

        Having seen people spoken negatively about without the use of their names, I guess I need to read those policies closer….

        I try to hold myself to my own standards, higher than some, not as developed as others. principled, but allowing for my own Human.

        If sarcasm is disallowed, perhaps I have been reading other posts with the wrong eyeglasses. And perhaps what has been said is more disturbing than I saw it. Note I use the word PERHAPS.
        Will reread your policies -yet again. I have CRS, reminders are good and I do run at the mouth without them on my mind, I just TRY to be polite.

        June 28, 2010
      • Griff Wigley said:

        Michelle,

        Depending on my schedule/available time, I sometimes neglect my moderator duties. With hundreds of comments per month and 1-2 hours of blogging each day, it’s a juggling act, especially since I still have to earn a living!

        June 28, 2010
  19. Kiffi Summa said:

    Michelle: Please look back at my reply to you in 119.1.1…

    Didn’t want you to miss it because it was out of sequence; hope it begins to provide an explanation…

    June 28, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      Kiffi-
      I didn’t know that about Jon Dennison, that is disappointing, however I always believe in giving a person a decent way out, a second chance, upon my meeting them.

      I spoke with a young man, associated as a “key Kid” this evening. He was on his skateboard with a friend. He knows of my efforts and opinion since I’ve fed him at my last job and watched him grow “taller” over the last few years. He feels it’s hopeless, the city doesn’t care about them or their future, cares only for the three blocks of Division they can “market”. He also worked very hard raising money for a skate park, says”it’ll never happen”. “People in Northfield don’t care about the kids.”

      I can’t promise my children anything anymore. Life has ripped them away from this mother’s love. But I made a promise to this young man, and make a promise to all of Northfield kids that they are not shoved aside, they do have value if only to this one old woman. That I will never cave in, never give up, even if they have to wait til it’s their kids that need something to do and I am too old to walk anymore. I promised him that it would be said publicly, loudly and constantly, that they ARE important, and valuable. I promised to remind Northfield that they are losing kids at an alarming rate, and this tide of death can be stemmed.

      I told him to not lose hope, that I wasn’t done.

      I am a loudmouth, I am opinionated. I am stubborn. I am a mother.

      I pray, Kiffi, I have had a misimpression of you based on incomplete information. I pray there are people willing to join my voice no matter what disagreements they have with one another. I’m not savvy as to the politics and politicians of Northfield, but am a quick study. Any info and advice that can be vetted is gratefully accepted.
      Who knows… maybe I’ll run… for office… someday. But that would be a sad state of affairs if it was the only way to get this done.

      Shame on Northfield, SHAME, that the City cares so little for their own children.

      Okay, I get a little worked up about this, as you can see, Kiffi. It is passion. If I’ve violated any LG policies here, I apologize….
      but I will never be quiet.

      “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. It’s one of my mottos.

      June 28, 2010
      Reply
      • William Siemers said:

        Michelle

        Thanks for posting your opinions, here and at the NEWS site. I enjoy your perspective and your sense of humor.

        Since this thread is drifting:

        Kids have been saying they don’t have enough to do since humans began to speak. I’d wager that every parent has heard, “You just don’t care about me!”. Obviously with some kids that may be true. But for the vast majority it is just a typical adolescent guilt trip and one that can work quite well.

        From casual observation I’d suggest that there at least three times as many activities available for kids as there were 50 years ago when I was a mid-teen. The opportunities for extra-curricular activities in the schools are seemingly endless. If I remember right, the administrators at the high school even started an activity for kids who didn’t want to be involved in activities. But rest assured, it will never be enough. We will always hear… “I don’t have anything to do…”, and “People in this town just don’t care about us…”. It’s just the nature of the beast.

        Which is not to say suggestions for new activities should be ignored. I’m all for the skateboard park. But I sure don’t feel ashamed because it wasn’t built. Its funding had to be prioritized within the overall budget. A budget that considers the needs of all citizens, not just children. A disappointment for some I’m sure. But I still see kids happily cruising on their boards all over town, often in some pretty unlikely locations. Maybe they even have the Stones on their Ipods…”You can’t always get what you want…But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.”

        June 29, 2010
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        Willam, yes kids have been complaining about nothing to do, I’m bored, since the beginning of time when rocks were toys. Yes there are things here, however they are sparse. I worked fast food not too long ago, but for quite awhile. I listened to them. Not just the very young 13-16 yr old, but those also 16-25.
        Many had nowhere else to go so were meeting there.
        Many came through the drive-thru drunk, high and dangerously impaired. “Whatcha been doing tonite”, I’d ask them all, adding a couple extras as treat.”oh you know, Michelle, nothing, party, that’s all we have to do here”

        Don’t get me wrong, sports teams and other competitors like dancers etc, also came in. Busy kids, from a parents perspective. Welll…not somuch later on! Once the organized activity was over, they would be back to their “Northfield has nothing for us” and show up in conditions I’m sure their parents weren’t aware of.

        Yes the complaint of the young is as old as the hills, however is truth on this fair city. I made it my business to compare this place to others I have lived in (many,unfortunately). It doesn’t even have the standard of involvement with youth past-times that Compton, Ca or Barrio Logan has with all it’s gangs and fights and drugs (at least when I was there.

        We have a good place to live, but it is only thorough tenacity we can keep it that way. Already considered “South Metro” by the cities!

        There’s no excuse for this. None. We ARE losing kids to jails, institutions and death at alarming rate. We can’t completely stop that,but we must employ all possibilities of investment in our children before any other issue or need is addressed.

        June 29, 2010
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        Hey William, one more, I hope not so long-winded thang (lord does this woman ever shutuP?..I know, I hear it all the time..)
        This phrase..”funding had to be prioritized within the overall budget”
        is exactly the problem.
        Flowers and trees and signs and and and bathrooms no one can find unless they are from Northfield, and and and..
        we put our kids behind plants and signs and tee-tee.

        June 29, 2010
      • Phil Poyner said:

        I agree with William on this one, although he put it much more eloquently than I ever could have. And ever since I was in Haiti in 1994 I’ve never underestimated the value of having somewhere nice to go “tee-tee”.

        June 29, 2010
  20. john george said:

    Michelle- I’m with you on the Key. I know this is thread drift from Kiffi’s original discussion on the NN anonymous posting policy, but since that seems to be resolved, I will express support for your comment while it is fresh. Each of us can do something for the youth in this town, especially those of us who are enjoying grandkids now. There is a small band of us that has taken up a small project to just demonstrate love and appreciation for those youth. It won’t net them a skate park, but we hope to asuage, if only just a minute amount, some of the disappointment they are experiencing. They need to know that someone cares and is for them. Keep up the good work!

    June 28, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      John, Kiffi, and anyone who walks their talk: I apparently have too much time off this week, including tomorrow, tuesday 6-28. The 15th anniversary of my finding out about my oldest son’s disappearance.

      I will make it a point to be at Blue Monday around 11am. If anyone can join me ,they are welcome, I’ll wear my work name tag.. just in case you haven’t put a face to my name -yet.

      I’m interested in whatever you have to say. Might have some questions too.

      June 28, 2010
      Reply
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        TYPO! tomorrow-tuesday 6-29!!

        June 28, 2010
      • john george said:

        Michelle- Sorry I missed you this morning. I turned off the computer after my last post, and didn’t turn it back on until now. One of my daughters brought over one of our grand-daughters about that time, so it wouldn’t have worked for me anyway. At least I could have responded earlier. Didn’t want you to feel snubbed.

        June 29, 2010
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        All, John, Kiffi,
        I did make it the Blue M. this a.m. and ran into Councilman Dennison. We had a chat and I hope that isn’t why anyone else -here- with resentments or whatever, didn’t join in the conversation. Principles before personalities folks.
        I like to have all sides to an issue before I make any decisions, judgements or vote. Or campaign for or against issues and people.

        I am told by more than a few people today that this town, this council, considers the children’s desires a dead issue. That the kids did everything they were told they were supposed to do within the framework presented. They were betrayed by our city. Ames park location was doomed to fail anyway, this town is growing and that area is limited in what I have in mind.
        I’m not dead yet, so neither is the skatepark, and the idea we can also stem the tide of city dope dealer incursion and the lifestyle attached to that.
        And if I must find a group of business investors, buy the property and get it done that way,it’s still going to happen and I will continue to increase the volumn until it is.
        After Mr Dennison left I stuck around outside for awhile where another Gentleman joined me, having heard parts of my other conversations. He grew up here also and clued me in that most people who’ve lived here all their lives, don’t care about the politics of this city. They consider it hopeless in it’s current state. That if this town is changed it is done so by those who come here and haven’t been beaten up the past and present powers.

        I used the very expensive teetee room in The Archer. Struck up a conversation with a mature woman outside there, she tells me this town rots with resentment and hostility in our Council, and certain members she has known since before they were in office lack any real people skills or idea of family or even how to be part their own nuclear family. Said these are the things that dictate what is decided to do in northfield, and she too has given up on any hope of anything better in local government.
        There is more..I would rather have met some of you too, and look forward to lively conversation perhaps in the future.

        Just relaying what I’ve heard in our city, from it’s citizens, even one’s who say they’d have to be truly inspired by someone with respect for others before they’d vote again, and weren’t expecting anyone to ask them about such in their day.
        Don’t you love “man-on-the-street” walking tours?
        weigh in on any or all of this, if you like, I am quite amused.

        All you have to do is ASK and Listen. People have quite a disappointed and occassionally hilarious view of our “Lo-Cal” gov’t.

        I gotta do this MORE!

        June 29, 2010
  21. I’m sorry to hear that there is no skateboard track being built. I guess it’s because of the injuries possible when I look at the national emergency room statistics.

    Couldn’t we do stuff like downhill skateboard races…I have great hill outside my door just waiting for it…the kids know where it is.

    How about a double dutch jump rope contest for the girls? When I was young we jumped and twirled the ropes every day at recess…it’s a gas, can be done anywhere and requires very little equipment. I’ll even provide the ropes!

    What about beach style volley ball? Does everything have to cost a million dollars?
    Don’t you know the best things in life are free, except for Locally Grown, that’s just a drop in the bucket…Griff works tirelessly and I hope you call get off your wallets and purses and drop some dimes in the LGN bucket. And no, I wasn’t paid to say that.

    June 29, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      Cool Bright! I know about 60 kids that could be right over. They’re gonna want to know how much lighting you have, for after dark. oh and make some icecubes, it gets hot when you’re boarding. Do they bring they’re own music or do you have a bassline?

      No, not being sacastic. I mean every word. Can we count on availability 18/7?

      June 29, 2010
      Reply
  22. To get back on track, I say don’t close the anonymous lines of communication, becuz if you do, you close another avenue to important information that otherwise may not be heard.

    June 29, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      Bright, I tend to agree with you on this one. I stepped out with my name at NN asap, after the announcement,but it’s only because I have nothing and nobody left to lose. The risk is only mine and what I speak on is worth all to me.

      Other’s have their own reasons,and it’s not anyone elses place to judge their choice in the matter UNLESS the judgement maker has already walked a mile in their shoes, lived the same life and had the same risk to take.

      Communication is the only way we can really know our neighbors, our families, and our town. You can call yourself Bright, or MickeyMouse, what you say willbe just as important to me.

      Threats & abusive comments, negative statements, are also valuable information at times. They let you know where the sore nerves are!
      VERY USEFUL!

      Be well..

      June 29, 2010
      Reply
  23. I myself have sometime written anonymous letters in the 21st century in order to AVOID embarassing someone who I thought should have thought about the ideas I was presenting sometime in the 20th century!

    Now when those people see me, they don’t have to think, “oh oh, I better hide my sorry do nothing face.”

    I judge, but I’m kind about it.

    June 29, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      That one, Bright, I completely understand! We all make judgements, much of the time based (atleast for me) on whatever limited perspective we have. Avoiding the knee-jerk and investigating the other perspectives and truth before speaking, is the quality that separates Human Beings from the flesh-based. The mature from the childish.

      Guess how I know that? 😉

      June 29, 2010
      Reply
  24. Kiffi Summa said:

    OK… I had houseguests yesterday and today, a close relative I had to spend every valuable moment with, so didn’t get to look at this ’til this evening…

    Now, we are all guilty of thread drift at times, and maybe often, but this is a veritable tsunami! why don’t you bring back the skateboard park thread and apply some pressure there?

    Griff… oh, Griff…

    June 29, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      GUilty as charged. I am a sinner. 🙁

      June 30, 2010
      Reply
  25. Kiffi Summa said:

    Good example going on right now on the NFNews website in the comments attached to the fireworks article, and Norman Butler’s contribution.

    Everyone has an idea, mostly negative, about why Mr. Butler made this contribution at this time, and there are off the wall comments about what loans or other benefits Mr. Butler may have received from the city.

    Whatever loans Mr. Butler received from the EDA/City were passed by the EDA where majority votes rule, and that can’t be passed off with slurs about ‘friends’ etc.

    It is precisely that kind of insinuation, made anonymously, and in such an uninformed manner, is why those comments should not be allowed.

    For the FACTUAL record: Mr. Butler did receive a 20K loan from the City, through the EDA’s downtown revolving loan process. He provided all the information required of him, as well as signing a personal guarantee for that loan ( which is in my estimate unfair as others have not had to do that, and you can’t constantly be changing the rules on these loans if you want to insure equitable treatment for all).

    Some questions: 1. does that mean that no one who has ever gotten a loan can have any other relationship with the city? Obviously impossible…
    2. Should there be any bankers on the EDA since they often have business dealings with loan, or even grant ,applicants?
    3. Should getting a loan from the city, under a proffered loan program , qualify as a “handout” ?

    Many of the comments on this article in the NFNews are nothing but monumental BS, in my opinion, uninformed, off topic, and intended to prejudice the reader

    July 12th can’t come soon enough for me!…. Come to think of it, why did the paper have to wait ’til July 12th to discontinue the almost entirely unmonitored anonymous comments?

    July 1, 2010
    Reply
    • Phil Poyner said:

      Yeah, that entire comment thread has been to my mind (and I know I’m understating here) “tacky”.

      July 1, 2010
      Reply
      • Kiffi Summa said:

        AND … if you look at not only that thread , but the one about the Mandarin Garden restaurant, it is obvious that these people are so off base,have so little true information, that it is not even valid opinion, IMO; it’s just blather.
        AND good li’l ole fairandbalanced leads the poor ‘children’ through the streets of the town like an evil Pied Piper, spewing destruction, defamation , and outright falsehood with that blowhard trumpet of his… it’s just disgusting!

        I’d really like to know why the News had to wait ’til July 12th to clean up this charade…

        July 1, 2010
      • Patrick Enders said:

        Kiffi,
        I suspect that things after July 12 may not be quite as sunny as you hope. We shall see.

        July 1, 2010
    • William Siemers said:

      Kiffi… Most of the comments (anonymous and otherwise) are positive about Mr. Butler’s fireworks display. Some see other motives, real and imagined. Most people are not idiots. They can tell the difference.

      July 1, 2010
      Reply
  26. Kiffi Summa said:

    fairandbalanced; you have gone beyond your usual twisted reasoning and are now , once again, approaching outright lying.

    IMO, you have such a need for your perceived “accumulation of power” that you will escalate this ongoing rant of misinformation until the 12th of July … and then it is up for grabs what will happen.

    You have had, and continue to have, extraordinarily supportive and lenient behavior from the NFNews… who have only selectively edited your false accusations.

    I ask: WHY?

    July 2, 2010
    Reply
    • Phil Poyner said:

      Because fairandbalanced is artful in the way he phrases his attacks so as to make them less personal. Let me give you an example from my own experiences with NNews…I once submitted a post in which I flat out called someone a bigot. I don’t apologize for it; he was a bigot. But that was deemed a personal attack (because it was!) and it was removed. So I reworded it by restating the bigot’s post in a new way, and then basically called anyone that held those views a bigot. Voila! The post stayed! As I was no longer attacking an actual person but rather the nebulous concept of a person that held similar views(who may or may not exist), I got away with it. Of course, we all knew who I was talking about…just as we often know who fairandbalanced is talking about.

      Yeah, I know it sounds stupid as heck, but I didn’t make up the rules.

      July 2, 2010
      Reply
  27. Kiffi Summa said:

    The matter of TIFs and the possible decertification of the Downtown TIF district has been front and center… in between fireworks… on the NFNews website for the last few days.

    But today, Ms. Rook, who used to be the City Hall reporter, writes a staff opinion column, apparently with a lot of help from someone whose financial expertise she must value to have quoted multiple times, Jon Denison!

    Now my question is: why would the person/reporter who has the most expertise on matters at city hall quote remarks that I assume she feels contribute to the validity of her article, remarks made by a councilor whose numerous examples of fiscal non-responsibility (multiple evictions and non-payment of rent) have been reported on the front page of the same newspaper?

    This column is so out of whack, IMO, with the material presented in the council packet for this week, that I must believe that pertinent research was not done, and so Ms. Rook’s column must be seen ONLY as the personal opinions of herself, and of course her most quoted source material (?), Jon Denison.

    Oh… maybe it’s a political endorsement…

    July 3, 2010
    Reply
    • Patrick Enders said:

      Kiffi,
      It is a column, and therefore by definition an opinion piece.

      Also, Ms. Rook’s column might’ve better been discussed under one of the two “how do we balance the budget?” posts. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anonymous posts, but it does possibly have something to do with fixing our budget mess.

      Our budget deficit is bad enough that all measures need to be on the table, including possibly decertifying TIF’s. (Decertifying TIFs would, for example, probably be preferential to laying off police or fire personnel – if there is actually any revenue to be recovered from TIFs). Kudos to Jon Denison and Suzy Rook for thinking outside the box on this budget issue.

      July 5, 2010
      Reply
      • Kiffi Summa said:

        Excusez moi!

        Corrected…
        and expanded upon…

        July 5, 2010
  28. Kiffi Summa said:

    I would be interested in opinions on the comments attached to the NFNews article:
    “TIF Districts, Community Survey on Council Agenda” posted 7.6.10:45 AM…
    Let me perfectly clear, I am not at all concerned about the references to me, or to Victor, I will take all that ‘crap’ and think it is clear that people will divide along philosophical lines in their support.

    But, imbedded in that line of comments, up through this AM, are such a list of misconceptions, uniformed attitudes, actual misinformation about downtown properties, who’s on various boards and commission, speculations about motives , etc, and some of these comments may actually prove that the commenter has not been downtown for a year or so… so where’s the validity?
    Are they anything but harmful gossip?

    But the one that really p—– me off, yeah it did, was the one which referenced a former Mayor, in his reading of an organization’s letter to the council, and pretty much engaged in barely disguised ridicule…

    If one of these people gave as much time to the community as that former official has then I’d like to know it… but of course that would require them to speak with their own voice and name.

    Another series of destructive, incorrect, vicious comments , with incorrect ‘facts’, and meant to harm…
    Defending this by calling it ‘free speech’ is to ignore the essence of that principle, established tp protect people from their governments.

    July 7, 2010
    Reply
  29. Chris Daly said:

    Kiffi, if you are so opposed to anonyomous commenting, why do you have a picture of your hand as your avatar? Seems like you are remaining partially anonymous yourself.

    July 8, 2010
    Reply
    • Tracy Davis said:

      I love Kiffi’s gravatar pic, even though it doesn’t fit our original goal (see the post “Put faces to names in the LoGro community“). Brendon Etter was the original bad boy who bucked the “requirements”, but I’ve come around to liking the creativity.

      I’d still prefer to be able to recognize people on the street, but oh well.

      July 8, 2010
      Reply
    • Kiffi Summa said:

      Because Griff was insisting on Gravatars/ photos, and I didn’t want my picture taken by him at that moment, preferring to select something myself … but he went ahead and took it anyway, so I went ahead and told him he could use it anyway.

      See how agreeable I am ! 🙂

      July 8, 2010
      Reply
    • Kiffi Summa said:

      Yeah… well, feel free to use that one of Paul Niemisto as yourself, cause you don’t have one either…

      July 8, 2010
      Reply
  30. Kiffi Summa said:

    An open letter to Michelle Hawkins:
    Ms. Hawkins: In a comment written today on the NFNews site, under the name ladyfriend2, but signed Michelle Hawkins-Hazelwood, you wrote this ” The Summas have more time behind than ahead of them; they won’t be the force they think they are much longer”

    IMO, that comment , and your implication of years left to live, is about as far beyond the bounds of propriety as one can get. You, and your cohorts will, I am sure, be delighted that you have really made me angry… because no matter what YOU say repeatedly,I am neither an “angry”, nor a “bitter” person. And those that do know me, as opposed that those who gossip without knowing me, know me to be a very issue oriented person, but not operating in a perpetual “angry” or “bitter” mode.
    I speak to the facts, not the personality.

    Frankly, from only reading what you write, I would think those descriptors might be more accurately applied to you, but ONLY knowing what you write, I would not do so.

    For the record Ms. Hawkins-Hazelwood, in the 10+ years that I have worked on ‘teen issues’ in this town, from the Key Board, to Youth Plus, to Risky Behavior Seminars, to Spotlight on Youth, to frequent appearances at both the Council and the Park Board to speak strongly for the SkatePlaza as well as youth issues in general,writing small checks to the Skateboard Coalition whenever I could, and too many more forums to list… I have NEVER seen you at any one of those venues where there was a public opportunity to support the Youth of this community.

    You’re damn right I’m Mad; I am really angry now, because the heartlessness of your comment today is beyond the proverbial ‘pale’ !

    The irony of your misplaced comments of the Summas as ‘insiders’ is all too well understood by the actual insiders…. it is laughable.
    I don’t own a building downtown because I’m one of the supposed rich who are trying to take advantage of you; I own a building downtown because as two former artists trying to financially survive, we have to supplement our inadequate Social Security.
    And I support the Downtown not because it is to my advantage to do so… actually for the angst it brings, it isn’t to my advantage at all… but for the truth of the matter… that if the core of the town dies, it is nothing but the ubiquitous suburb.

    I applaud anyone with the guts to challenge the status quo, but if you want anyone but a few to listen to you, you better start getting your facts straight, and get involved on a participatory level other than with only your self-proclaimed loud voice/big mouth.

    Sincerely,
    Kathryn Wolcott Summa

    July 8, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      You’re right, Kiffi. We don’t know each other. I have sent a contact email
      thru LGN to you. I really think we have much in common, despite our differences.
      Consider the request I’ve made thru LGN contact, let’s end this online crew vs crew whatever it’s become, and find our common ground.

      If you’re willing.

      July 8, 2010
      Reply
      • Kiffi Summa said:

        Thank you for the offer, but I will decline.

        In this instance, as many others, actions speak louder than words… However, the words you have used, to spur others to take ‘action WITH words’, cannot be easily excused or explained away as ‘just kidding’ or ‘just passionate’ or even just wrong, because it was always so personal… and personal ABOUT persons you knew nothing of … but continued to attack, for whatever your reason may have been.

        I need to spend the rest of my days, which you have so rudely noted may not be many, in ways that I find more productive, and less painful.

        July 9, 2010
  31. Michelle Hawkins said:

    ok, Kiffi. I’ve always kept an open mind to critisizm. Was willing and ready to sit and listen to everything you had to say, in effort to learn from you. Rarely have I learned much from anyone in complete agreement with me, but have gained incredible amounts of insight and wisdom from those with differing perspectives and backgrounds. I live by “A closed mind is fed as much as a closed mouth”.

    My pastor says tomorrow is promised to no man and my physician agrees in my case, so as far as time left, I most likely have less than you. But let’s not race each other on that one.

    I apologize for my part in all of this, that has so sorely affected you. You are right, issues should be the articles of discussion, not harmful intent of people.
    Be well.
    Michelle

    July 9, 2010
    Reply
  32. Griff Wigley said:

    Received via email:

    A message for registered members of northfieldnews.com  regarding our new comment policy.

    Effective Monday, July 12, only those who identify themselves by name will be authorized to automatically post comments to the newspaper’s website. Readers who wish to post anonymously will submit comments to a pending queue, where they will be reviewed for approval.

    Members who receive automatic posting credentials will be identified by the same user name now in place, but readers will be able to click on the user name to identify the author. No other information will be visible.

    As a registered member, here’s what you need to know:

    To receive automatic posting credentials:

    1. Visit northfieldnews.com
    2. Roll your cursor over the “Site Forms” tab in the navigation bar below the weather link
    3. Click on the “Edit Profile” link in the drop down menu
    4. Enter your name and phone number in the appropriate spaces
    5. Click the “save changes” button at the bottom of the form

    A representative from the newspaper will call to verify your request. Once verification is completed, we’ll authorize you to automatically post comments to stories. Please note that we reserve to right to delete comments that are profane, abusive, libelous, off topic or otherwise don’t meet our standards, even if the author is identified by name.

    You do not need to wait until July 12 to update your profile and begin the verification process.

    To continue posting anonymously, you do not need to do anything. At approximately, 10:00 p.m. Sunday, July 11, anonymous comments will fall into a pending queue, where they will be reviewed for approval. Comments will be approved or rej ected within 24 hours of their submission.

    Only those anonymous comments that contribute to the conversation in a thoughtful, respectful, civil manner will be approved. The decision to approve or reject a comment is admittedly a subjective one and establishing firm, comprehensive standards is difficult. But those who identify themselves will be given broader boundaries to express their opinion. Authors of rejected comments will receive an email response.

    Thank you for reading northfieldnews.com and for engaging with fellow citizens. We hope the evolution of the comment policy encourages even more people to participate.

    Publisher – Sam Gett

    July 10, 2010
    Reply
  33. Scott Oney said:

    Griff: I think the scurrilous Radiofreenorthfield still allows anonymous comments. Do any other blogs of local interest, or is that one the last to do so?

    I’ve been posting at Nfld News under the cleverly disguised name of “ScottOney” (because it seemed as if their software wouldn’t accept names with spaces). But if I got one of these e-mails from Sam Gett, I guess that means the comments were considered anonymous anyway, so I’ll still have to fill out their form tonight if I want to keep posting.

    Now that I think of it, if you got the e-mail you must post on Nfld News too.

    Kiffi: Have you been able to figure out Griff’s alias yet?

    July 11, 2010
    Reply
    • kiffi summa said:

      I would imagine that Griff would comment under his own name.

      July 11, 2010
      Reply
    • Griff Wigley said:

      Scott, I’m registered there with the username griff.wigley but I can’t remember if I’ve ever added a comment.

      July 11, 2010
      Reply
  34. kiffi summa said:

    Hey! I’ve got an offer… I’ll bet a $25.00 coffee card for Goodbye Blue Monday that “fair andbalanced” will NOT give up his anonymous status !

    Really, why should he? he is very often allowed to comment with no relevance to the article his comment is attached to, and his comments are often outside the stated boundaries, but who knows? MAYBE the News will be more strict now.

    Any Takers?

    July 11, 2010
    Reply
  35. victor summa said:

    I’ll take that bet. ALL BET’s are closed!

    If kiffi’s wrong, does she lose $25? If she’s right does she win, and if so, from whom? When and how might she win? Bad bet!

    To protect my family’s treasury, I’m calling her bet, although I don’t know how anyone could prove one way or the other (short of the N News records) who was, is, or might now be masquerading as F&B.

    What with the rising commercial property taxes, the potential threat on MY TIF … I’ve got to protect every dollar. (Joke Ladybug2)

    This ban on use of pseudonyms for the duration of the political campaigns – (probably the best way to avoid threat of Law suit) after the election,will likely allow trollers to come back close to the surface once again.

    I can read it now .. “the great American experiment on public comment, having failed to condemn the practice of questionable commenting, is closed.” The News might even win the Egalitarian Award from their industry’s next self aggrandizing promotion fest

    Other scurrilous contributors over there who seem to have disappeared earlier from that ink blot included a commenter who used “Curious” as its nom deplume.

    Where do the dead pidgins go?

    So what’s it look like on the News’ website today, a desert? A vast sewage treatment plant? One has to wonder why LG’s own P Enders dabbled his toe over there? Questionable associations. Is there a secret Handshake? Do you feel a bit like you’re being scanned at the airport and your privates are clear images? Do most male contributors show up then as not only clueless but also con no cojones? Don’t need a scan to see that.

    Where’s the down-side for les femmes?

    PS to KWS – the problem with the way you framed the bet, is there’s no sunset when Ms FAB might reveal all. Possibly, you can’t win, forever, as the revelation might not be made until … when??? or worse yet, until after your passing (was that prophesied by someone anonymously recently?) Then again, at any moment, someone might fess-up, just to collect the money. What if there’s three takers?

    Bets are closed!

    July 12, 2010
    Reply
    • Michelle Hawkins said:

      Victor, I was the one that referred to “passing on” and have offered apologies for such personal comments, and an opportunity to meet in private, at a nonpolitical setting (emmeaus church) to listen to whatever Kiffi had to say. The invitation is open to you also.
      I have been refused that offer of the olive branch.

      We -you, Kiffi, me, may not agree on issues in part or entirety, and we are all entitled to our perspectives. I’ve never learned anything from one who shared the exact same perspective as me.
      Such a sharing, debating, exchanging of life experience can be enlightening for those who engage in it with an open mind and tolerance for a differing point of view.

      I was wrong to hurt personal feelings. Perhaps having “end of life” on my own mind lately influenced my writing in a very offensive way, it’s noexcuse for attack of others.

      I have always searched out the story, the knowledge and wisdom of those with more time spent living than I.

      I can’t say I meant no disrespect, having reread what I’ve written in the comments in question, and putting myself in your and Kiffi’s place, I understand her anger. I make no excuse for my choice of words and was out of line.

      I have been attacked too, many times. At NN, and here.

      I’ve never understood refusing peace and deeper understanding of others,especially if views are opposing. Always thought it was ok to agree to disagree and get on with being neighbors, friends, family, community, whatever.
      I’m coming to the realization that at least here in Northfield, I may be in a minority holding that principle. And that I violated my own standard in regards to you two.

      I am Human. I’ll never be eligible for hanging on a cross.

      We may see each other, on opposing sides of issues,(maybe on the same side of some!) in the future, I just wanted you to know I wish neither you, nor your bride any ill.
      And I’m sorry for any I have caused.

      Michelle Hawkins-Hazlewood
      ladyfriend2

      July 12, 2010
      Reply
      • Michelle – The detour this thread is taking is disturbing. Your admittedly hurtful statements, and then when Kiffi expresses her anger, request to meet with Summas and then stating they’ve refused (implying you’re not happy with that)… This seems a classic abuse cycle, hurting another, the “I’m sorry,” the reaching out/pulling in, and wanting to make amends and return to the pre-hurtful state. People are under no obligation to deal with someone who has been hurtful. I wish you would ALL keep it internal, and in your case look at your actions and address the issues that bring you to the point of making such statements about someone you admittedly don’t know (or if you did know, to make public statements like that); and for Summas keep it internal, look at issues that trigger the engagement and to pull back from these interactions. I don’t think this public list is the place to be doing this work. Color me jaundiced and opinionated from too many years of family law and counseling.

        July 12, 2010
      • Michelle Hawkins said:

        Carol, It was Victor brought my name up, but that’s neither here nor there. I WAS one of the anonymous commenters, then came forward with my name. I DID try to take this disagreement offsite, and am sincere in my apology.
        It’s a well meant standing invitation to the Summas. If there were a possible way to communicate it elsewhere, I wouldn’t be stating it here.

        Your weighing in, while certainly respected, isn’t helpful, and is way off base in regards to the type of person I am.
        It’s exactly the kind of thing I sought to overcome between me and Kiffi& Victor. All of us speaking without correct info about each other, something that has colored BOTH LG and NN in a negative way.

        July 12, 2010
  36. Can a husband legally close a bet that the wife makes?

    Also, and more to the point –

    I wonder if something bad said about someone is more damaging in the mind of the reader if it is done anonymously vs. openly, given the exact same disparaging words are used publicly?

    July 12, 2010
    Reply
  37. Jane Moline said:

    Bright:

    Interesting question. I think, though, that someone who believes they are anonymous may say something offensive or hurtful or damaging while those that are not anonymous may be more careful in their statements.

    However, I am less likely to read or respond to anonymous comments so I would be more damaged or hurt by comments from a “real” person- partly because if someone is unwilling to take credit for their opinions those opinions must not be very meaningful. So I do not think anonymous comments are meaningful, and I don’t think they deserve publication–on the web or anywhere.

    I do think sometimes it is necessary to remain anonymous–say if you are afraid a teacher will retaliate against your child when you criticize a school policy–but those instances are few and can be identified as such. I remember letters to the editor where names are withheld but the newspaper cretainly knew who sent it.

    July 12, 2010
    Reply
    • Jane, do are you saying that when I read a named commenter. I should try to look between the lines (which I don’t do well) or that I should consider that the named commenter is not saying what they really mean, especially in the case of a negative comment? Because if my understanding is correct, I think I’d rather everyone be anonymous provided they were telling the truth, or must I now assume that all anonymous people are lying, unless they are protecting children.

      See, it all just gets a bit too cut and dry for a gray girl like me. Can someone straighten me poor ol’ head out?

      July 12, 2010
      Reply
  38. kiffi summa said:

    Back to # 138… I offered the bet and Victor can’t close it because we don’t have a pre-nup, and either fortunately or un-fortunately… I leave that to the reader … all the dollars in this household come out of one small pot.

    However, it’s No Big Deal… was more in fun than anything… I’ll still honor my offer if anyone come up with an opposition POV.
    Let’s give it a time limit … until August 15th, O.K.?

    July 12, 2010
    Reply
    • john george said:

      Kiffi- I think you have pretty good odds of winning your wager. I wouldn’t want to bet against you, and your last paragraph in post 138 states the reason very succinctly.

      July 12, 2010
      Reply
  39. If the NN closes up anonymous comments then I wonder what other outlets people have to get their views heard without coming forward with their ID?

    The more rules you have, the more crime becomes an alternative, and the less free we all feel.

    July 13, 2010
    Reply
    • Scott Oney said:

      Bright: Radiofreenorthfield still allows anonymous comments, I think.

      July 14, 2010
      Reply
  40. kiffi summa said:

    Just to counter the accusation that I am against free speech, any one wishing to comment anonymously on NF News articles may visit a site called
    northfieldersanonymous, a wordpress blog which “zoocruz” said would be established.

    July 16, 2010
    Reply
    • William Siemers said:

      News now has few comments about anything: “Mission Accomplished!”

      July 16, 2010
      Reply
  41. If I was going to be anonymous online, I wouldn’t even try to do it, if it was about anything deadly serious. Any online offering can be traced eventually even if it is from the library, or via one of the proxy or anonymizer locations, or an encryption program like TOR.

    To be truly anonymous, and stay that way, you have to let no one else know who you are, where you are coming from and where you are going to be in the future or what your email addy is.

    July 16, 2010
    Reply
  42. kiffi summa said:

    recent comments by “fairandbalanced” and “ladybird2” attached to “another farewell”in the NFNews are good examples of the incessant pursuit of unrealistic , maybe even totally false perceptions, that are the have the persistent degree of negativity of those they complain about… and it would be just to say that I am adding a third layer in pointing them out. I excuse myself by saying I am pursuing the truth; maybe they do the same… but I think you could prove that is not the case if you could confront some of these ‘anons’ by name.

    And I will speak to Michelle Hawkins, as she has id’d herself as “ladybird2”, and thank you for that, Michelle.
    What bothers me is the incessant repetition of the same accusations, hinted at crimes or misdemeanors, and general social injustices at the hands of some unidentified “clicque”.
    You Michelle, are not victimized in any way by my not wishing to meet personally with you, I explained my reason here, and you accepted that here, although you now seem to feel it was not adequate. As for forgiveness, I don’t see how I or anyone else, can forgive you for a difference of opinion.

    As for the newspaper , I don’t wish for them to go out of business; I most emphatically do NOT wish that.
    I wish for them not to be a venue for personal attacks, off-topic personal comments and insinuations of vague crimes… I think that is beneath a responsible journalistic presentation.
    I wish for them to report both sides of stories that deeply affect this community, and to ask hard questions of our local government units when those questions need to be asked.

    I try very hard to speak my convictions truthfully, and I do it under my own name… regardless of the differing, even critical, opinions that might bring.
    I do not feel victimized by differing opinions, but I do … definitely do think that anonymity is showing a lack of conviction, or a lack of responsibility, to play the ‘game’ fairly.

    July 22, 2010
    Reply
  43. Michelle Hawkins said:

    The apology I offered was for the hurtfull statement I made whilst expressing my opinion. The apology was then extended to Victor, as I felt it was only right to do so and was indeed sorry for insulting either of you in the way it was done.
    I was ready to leave it at that however apparently your followers(Phil and carol)weren’t. They took up your banner, and I might add, when truly you need no defending. I find you a quite capable woman. Thus the word clique.

    If you click on my username “ladyFRIEND2” (not ladybird2) you will find my name at NN.

    We do differ on things,Kiffi, however I bet we agree on many more. We are alike in at least these respects; we are wordy women of opinion and a sense of fairness, a desire for better in our little part of the world.

    And our approaches at voicing that.. are very similar indeed.

    July 22, 2010
    Reply
  44. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Kiffi -just a side note, I in NO WAY mean to offend ANYONE WITH, just an observation I’ve commented up front about -here;
    “a venue for personal attacks, off-topic personal comments and insinuations of vague crimes…”
    describes what i have found here at LG quite well and why i started posting at NN shortly after trying the LG venue.

    What i find pleaseantly surprising is that seeing most of Northfield citizenry in the course of my work, at least once a month, many several times a week; the friendly neighborliness and joy all bring to my day and one another’s, is in direct opposition and stark contrast to what I find at both LG and NN.
    Is it that we vent and get on with being Community? Perhaps this is a healthy thing despite our wordy opinions! Maybe because of them?

    July 22, 2010
    Reply
  45. kiffi summa said:

    Michelle: The comments you make here are related neither in tone nor content to those you make at the NFNews. There you repeatedly bring up, as does “fairandbalanced”, old accusations and innuendo, and you also congratulate “fanb” when he does… telling him he speaks truly and even bravely !
    And so very often, the content of what I will call ‘rants’, on the NFNews site do not even bear relevance to the article they are attached to … so it is very difficult to ascertain what position you actually espouse.
    Obviously, I find that duplicity one of the major problems.

    More on “fandb” and duplicity, later…

    July 23, 2010
    Reply
  46. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Kiffi- I often disagree with f&b, I don’t take it personally. I have observed you engage in the same as he with bringing up past slings&arrows, innuendo, whatever, and it does READ like it’s very personal to you. That right or wrong, you just can’t stand anyone agreeing with F&B, on anything.

    I could be wrong, I don’t know the history between the two of you, but anyone with only the knowledge ascertained by what they read on both sites, would draw the same conclusion. You hate him with a vengeance.

    Not my concern, my opinions are my own. I agree with SOME of what he says as much as I agree with some of what you say.

    I retain an open mind, and am willing to sit face to face with people, all people, and listen to their perspectives. every person is my better in that I may learn from them. When one writes, the emotion another reads it with can be vastly different than the writer is having or intending to convey, a calmly stated position can be interpreted as a rant. sarcasm and parody are often taken as a position in all earnest. It’s happened to me, and I’ve been guilty of doing it. Thus to me face to face has far more value than what ANYONE, including myself, posts ANYWHERE.

    Perhaps that’s due to my being face to face with much of Northfield on a daily basis.

    July 23, 2010
    Reply

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