Launch time for our newest version of the website is growing near. The site will be significantly more powerful and provide users with many more communications options.

One feature I am continually tempted to change is the anonymity now provided to bloggers. Frankly, the blog has been a thorn in my side much of the time since we first launched it. It is a remarkable thing to see how bold (read savagely disrespectful) some bloggers can be when they can post without giving their true names.

Sometimes, when a credible threat of retaliation exists and important information should be divulged, anonymity is justified. But, when it is used as a shield to hide behind in order to spew malicious detraction and false or unfounded charges, it’s clearly wrong. Because this happens regularly by a few bloggers I think the Gazette will have to demand that bloggers use their true names. Several already do, like Roy Payne and Steve Conaway.

I believe only one blogger has been banned (another on the edge) from the site after a series of angry, false, and outrageous statements; Not bad after 3 years.

Frankly, the website has been a very significant expense these past 3 years. But for the fact that it has proven to be a valuable resource for the Fillmore community, it would have disappeared long ago. In times of emergency (earthquake, fire, civil disorder, terrorist attack, etc.) the website is invaluable for sounding the alarm and providing assistance because it is ready 24/7 for instant updates. I really do want it to continue, and expect it will.

I expect the site to become more of a true online newspaper in the future, with many more sections and forum threads. We will, for example, be adding an emergency preparation page to the site, bringing in information from many local, state, national, and international specialized agencies. This will include video, text and numerous related links as well as book references and reviews answering practical questions.

Viewers will probably be able to chuck a few spears at me personally as I think I will have a blog of my own. We expect this will reduce the onslaught on other parts of the site.

On another issue, we will be more diligent in weeding-out trolls who only post to make false, irrelevant, and destructive comments for personal purposes. Making wild, unfounded condemnations, or purely personal attacks, will trigger a ban after appropriate warnings. It takes too much time to refute every intentionally false accusation, clogs the blog, and dampens the spirit of the site.

With the election cycle approaching the site will also enrich the dialogue. I expect a large number of candidates again this year. Several will be members of the Katzenjammer clique, some will run for the purpose of diluting the vote as happened last year, and at least one will be completely unqualified. I hope at least 2 qualified, non-Katzenjammers, will run for office. Then we may once again have a mature, experienced, businesslike city council, instead of the childish, petulant, inexperienced micromanagers now in the majority. Beware of those office-seekers who vie for face time on the Channel 10 camera. They are bursting with ambition, but busted in terms of experience and ability. Their desire to be seen on camera at every meeting is just embarrassing.