As we promised in a previous editorial, we have done a story about the Valley Ghost Web site’s webmaster. The problem with any story of this type is that it really is a no-win situation. Potential legal action between three prominent Valley residents has forced the disclosure of Dale and Susan Sherman as webmasters with City Councilman Chris Garcia rightfully upset that the site contained possible racial slurs.
There were many things on the ghost Web site that I thought were shots below the belt. That wouldn’t bother me as much if names had been posted along with the opinion pieces. Having an opinion is a right and all of us should feel free to submit our opinions to whomever. But the line was crossed when racial slurs were directed toward an individual who gives everything he has to this community: time, money and many other things. Ask anybody who knows Chris Garcia and few will tell you something without a smile on their face. He is the epitome of commitment to the Valley regardless of his role as a politician.
But the Shermans also give highly of themselves in this community, so it did surprise me when they were identified as the “Ghosts.” Why would they feel it better to be anonymous when posting their opinions when their name carries significant weight in the Valley? They have been involved in the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, the North Bend Economic Development Commission, the Snoqualmie Planning Commission and have renovated two historical Valley structures.
The whole incident has created an air of distrust with people still fuming over the elections, looking to point blame because their candidate may not have won. Well get over it. There will be more elections in the future and many more opportunities for discussions about the appeal of specific candidates. Maybe people are blaming the Valley Record for the way the elections turned out, saying we were biased. I would offer to anyone to show us all where there was bias. Yes, you will see opinions and editorials on the opinion page, that’s why it’s called an opinion page. Last I checked we did not endorse any candidates nor were editorials written to slight any candidate. The one editorial written that mentioned the candidates had little to do with the run for election and everything to do with candidates condemning the Web site that took anonymous potshots at their opponents.
But the whole thing is over, other than the Shermans and Councilman Garcia mending the fences in whatever fashion they decide. There are bigger fish to fry than hashing out the election results. What’s interesting is that as people speak of “hidden” agendas among candidates, or even myself, they fail to realize our agendas are all fairly similar. We want Snoqualmie Valley to be a great place to live, work and raise our families, nothing more, nothing less.
One thing that does concern me is the message that the Chamber of Commerce was somehow involved in the decision to pursue the legal action, which ultimately led to the Shermans revealing themselves as the webmasters.
I can only speak for myself, but feel the chamber had nothing to do with the issue at all. In a small community we wear many hats and it is nothing more than coincidence that the pursuit of the webmaster came from chamber members. The argument could be made that the decision to pursue came from wrestling coaches, or members of the Fall City Community Association, etc., etc.
I think it’s also important to clear up some misconceptions about our editorial policies. We only edit letters to the editor for length, libel, spelling and grammatical errors. A letter is typically only held if it comes in after deadline, is way too long to fit in that week, or is not from a local resident. We do require a signature and a phone number and stick by the policy that anonymous potshots are useless to making Snoqualmie Valley a better place to live and work. My opinions are my own, not formulated in some “green room” in the offices of the Valley Record. If you don’t like them let me know, my office is pretty easy to find.
I hope Dale and Susan continue to stay involved in the community and feel their contributions are important without condoning their ghostly tales. I also hope councilman Garcia continues his involvement in the community. Many Valley organizations depend on his generosity to help them succeed.
I’m sure there will be more fallout from the whole thing but hopefully the healing process is starting.