Being a good neighbor
sometimes isn't the best way to go
The Clarksburg Police Department announced Monday
that it will be cracking down on people who have not paid their city citations.
Clarksburg Police Chief Raymond Mazza said too many people have taken advantage
of the department's leniency, and now the police are cracking down. "They
have to pay the price," he said. "We're going to make sure that the penalty
is issued through the DMV. We're out to make sure these people obey the
We believe the city should crack down on those who
break the laws and then don't pay up. But we also wonder what took them
so long to crack down. Leniency isn't an efficient way to be running a
According to the chief, any person who receives
any city citation other than a parking violation has five working days
to appear in municipal court. After that time, the department will forward
the citation and a letter to the state Division of Motor Vehicles, asking
the agency to suspend the person's license. "This is something we've always
done. he said. "We've been letting it go, trying to be good neighbors,
but people just run over you."
No kidding. Perhaps if the police department had
been collecting on the city's citations all along, it wouldn't be in the
dire straits it's in now. Perhaps it could afford a new vehicle once in
a while or other equipment.
Clarksburg and other cities must develop an efficient
way of collecting for citations and making sure they are collected. That
money, however small or large it might be, can go into the coffers for
the things that departments need.
Sometimes, especially in law enforcement, cities
must realize they can't be everyone's 'neighbor.' Sometimes they have to
be their police force.
Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial
board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser,
James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.
CBS-TV owes all West Virginians an apology
On Tuesday, Feb. 16, CBS-TV aired an hour-long episode
of J.A.G. on prime-time television which did a major disservice to all
West Virginians. The episode stereotyped residents of a fictional place
called Appalachia County, West Virginia, as antigovernment, racist, gun-toting
hillbillies. We were appalled and you should be too.
The plot involved a Navy Seal team on a training
mission in the mountains of West Virginia. Unfortunately the Seal unit
came upon two local youths who evidently opened fire on the seal team due
to their antigovernment upbringing. The squad leader returned fire with
an automatic weapon, killing a 14-year-old youth.
The squad leader was taken into custody by a group
of locals and court was held in a barn. The courtroom was filled with gun-toting
hillbillies dressed in flannel shirts and blue jeans. The parking area
in front of the barn was filled with old dilapidated pickup trucks. The
judge was stereotyped in a similar manner and acted with total disregard
for the law or proper legal procedure. When the black Navy seal defendant
spoke out in his own defense, he was gagged at gunpoint.
The jury, without deliberation, found the defendant
guilty and the judge ordered him hanged before supper.
An FBI S.W.A.T. team moved in on the courtroom and rescued the defendant
and the J.A.G. team from the barn. The defendant was then proven innocent
since it was discovered that the victim was shot in the back by his older
cousin. The show ended with rolling captions on each key character giving
the impression that this episode was based on a true story.
I n summary, this episode of J.A.G. totally misrepresented
our state, our people, our culture and our system of justice. CBS-TV and
the producers of J.A.G. certainly owe every West Virginian a prime-time
apology on national television.
Mike Smith, general manager of the local CBS affiliate
WDTV-5, was also disappointed with the negative stereotype that the show
portrayed of our state. He explained that TV-5 does not have preview rights
to network programming. He suggested that we direct comments and complaints
directly to the network at: CBS Audience Services, 51 West 52nd Street,
New York, N.Y. 10019. You can also call at 212-975-3247.
As for the rest of the nation, it's time to stop
stereotyping West Virginians as uneducated hillbillies in bare feet. Certainly
we are proud of our heritage, proud of our culture, proud of our state's
natural beauty and proud of our contributions to modern society. It is
a form of discrimination similar to bigotry against blacks, prejudice against
Jews and defamation of native American Indians. Our society no longer condones
such behavior and it's time that we put a stop to the 'hillbilly image'
that others place on us. West Virginians deserve better.
Telegram Editorial Board member