By Terri Commonwealth



  Are Justice Village Board Trustees using public service media to express their views?   Is the Justice web site a political tool?  Recently, a comment authored by Village of Justice trustee George Pastorino was posted on the Village of Justice Official Blog.  On the front page of the blog is a statement heralding the service as being the “most complete” source of news and information.  Justice’s Village web site links to the blog.  The blog link and web site are paid for with Justice taxpayer dollars.  Due to the subject of the posting, a question has been raised over what is considered news.  Because of this query, an issue has arisen over the legitimacy of this resource.

  At issue is this: are tax dollars being used to inform Justice residents of important news and events?  While it can be argued that some of the news on the blog can be labeled as dubious, some entries are clearly not informational.  The most conspicuous is the Pastorino entry.  It refers to the public comment period of the Justice Village Board on August 23rd.  Written by a trustee and to his advantage, the writing is neither newsworthy nor actual information.  It is merely an opinion and we all know what opinions are like.

  Justice resident John Small, who is derided on the blog, said “not only did trustee Pastorino show lack of respect to people he doesn’t agree with, but he took a swing at a newspaper he didn’t agree with either.”  He did all this while providing the public with the most complete news and information.  Small further said of the Pastorino rant, “the man doesn’t get his facts straight.”  If you are going to serve the public through elected office, by all means get your facts straight.  When residents state an assumed truth, listen to them, you may not agree, but please don’t go on a tirade.  Many other people present at the meeting joined Small and they agreed with him.  Talking to Small, it’s clear he didn’t single out Pastorino.  However, this village trustee just couldn’t stop himself from firing away with publicly paid invectives.  It is quite odd that village political media consultant Ray Hanania, who oversees the Justice blog, approved of such a posting.    

  So is this what taxpayers are getting for their money?  Are the Justice Village Trustees using your tax dollars and resources to play up to the voters?  The new political media consultant is paid $12,000 a year to inform people.  Maybe it is true: if you speak out at Justice board meetings, either praise the board or ask for their help.  These two items get a lot of coverage on the taxpayer-funded official village of justice blog.  Is that news and information?  There’s an election coming up.  You be the judge.