Guest column: Response to local news editorial


Blake Koger

Special to the Ledger

JCCC Alum, 2004-2006

Recently, the Campus Ledger published a staff editorial on “why local news is important,” and I couldn’t have agreed more. Far more important decisions are made here locally which impact our day-to-day lives, than what we tend to focus on with the flashy mess in Washington D.C. If most of us would follow the decisions of the state and local governments around us, we’d all be better off. As the editorial pointed out, I don’t think our local media outlets do enough work on this front – which only exacerbates the issue. It feels like the Ledger is trying to correct that disparity.

However, not many know to look to the Ledger for this coverage. The Ledger does not have the brand awareness nor following of other local publications. The Ledger’s reach is mostly individuals with close ties to JCCC. Because of this and the average citizen’s misaligned focus on national issues rather than local, many JCCC decisions go unnoticed.  Here’s to hoping the Ledger keeps breaking local stories and expands their following.

With respect to the JCCC Track program issue and board meeting attendance – we elected these officials to protect the best interests our community. We all have lives, jobs and other duties to attend to, which makes it hard to follow every board or committee meeting, public event or report. Citizens can’t be expected to both elect these officials, then also be present to do their jobs for them. Without close JCCC knowledge, this decision was not known to the public and it’s not reasonable to think we should have known. Not to mention, if I had shown up last spring and voiced concern, I would have been disregarded like my friend, Brian Batliner was when he reached out to JCCC Administration. That’s unfortunately how politics go, you need to show voting power. Which is what we’re doing now.

Outside of the $100 million price tag, what else could the average citizen really know about the Facilities Master Plan? Compounding the issue, the original plan called for moving the Track complex to the southwest side of campus where the softball and soccer fields are today. Reallocation of funds happens frequently in business as organizations need to shift focus to areas of new need, or which might have been overlooked – we should expect the same flexibility with our governments and community colleges.

Regardless of how “late” community input is voiced, they need to be considered. We feel the decision lacked well-rounded vision and consideration of ripple effects. I hope students and the community continue to speak up and influence the college on this issue and others – and the Ledger reports on them.

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