Differing between opinion and #039;spam#039;

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2003

Any time there is a tax raise proposed - especially one of those tax packages that requires the assent of the people - public opinion becomes widely voiced. This is as it should be; this is how we learn and teach and discover every aspect of the tax package. Those for the plan will present all of the benefits and those opposed will present all of the flaws. It is up to the everyday, average voter to draw his or her own conclusions from both arguments, and to make their own decisions.

Sometimes, however, in their zeal to present their view, people get a little carried away. We have been inundated with letters to the editor over the weekend from those in support of Gov. Bob Riley's proposal for tax reform and increases - all from Birmingham, Hoover and Vestavia Hills. All bearing the same last names of those who wrote many lengthy letters during Riley's campaign.

While we encourage voters to be active in politics, and to speak out their opinions, we are also leery of what is obviously a coordinated letter-writing campaign on behalf of the governor.

This is not to say we are for or against the tax proposal. In fact, there is little doubt in our minds that some sort of reform has become a necessity for Alabama to progress in the 21st century. But we would rather hear from our own readership, our own citizens, our own voters, than from those living in the wealthy seclusion of Vestavia Hills. An occasional viewpoint from someone outside of our community is refreshing, especially when he or she can offer a unique approach from a unique perspective that might not be obvious from our locale. But pages of letters, with carbon copy sentiments offering support for the governor and no tangible facts mass emailed from 300 miles away do little to enlighten our readership, and teeter on the dividing line between public concern and spam.