Editorial: Council Bankruptcy

Trent Ernst, Editor


In September of last year, Lawrence Lessig announced that he was running a campaign to win the nomination for the Democrats as their presidential candidate.

Lessig is a lawyer, best known as a tech guru and social activist, and his campaign platform was exactly one plank deep: the Citizen Equality Act, which would make changes to the way corporations and individuals could finance elections.

Lessig dropped out of the race just over a month later, as he was unable to participate in the debates and had not been officially welcomed as a candidate by the Democratic National Committee.

Lessig is a big thinker around issues of technology, and, before his failed run at the presidency, was best known as the founder of the non-profit organization Creative Commons, which seeks to expand the range of creative work for people to build upon legally and share.

Lessig is also one of the first people to use the term “email bankruptcy.”

The idea of email bankruptcy is to solve a problem many people have faced. Too much email.

The solution is simple: declare email bankruptcy, delete all previous email, and start over again.

Dr Sherry Turkle may have been the first person to use the term in an essay by Constance Rosenblum in the New York Times. Rosenblum writes about how a virus ate three years of her work email. She was devastated, but after a few days, she realized she barely remembered any of those emails: “if I barely remembered what I had, perhaps I never needed it in the first place. Even today, two months later, no one has called to complain about something that slipped through the cracks.”

Rosenblum talked to Turkle about this, and Turkle told her about email bankruptcy. “‘In my case,’’ [Turkle] said, ‘when I feel that ‘doing my e-mail’ is taking me away from the people and the work that I care about, I might declare bankruptcy.’’’

Of course, as with real bankruptcy, notice has to be sent out to all the previous senders of email saying “I’ve declared email bankruptcy, and your messages have been deleted. If it was really important, please send again.”

Over the last year, we’ve been running into a similar problem here at the News. Too much Council.

Even though Council meets three times a month instead of four, we have slowly fallen behind in our Council coverage.

Part of the issue is that our Council coverage is exhaustive. We’ve received mixed feedback on this. Some people complain that there’s too much detail, while others love the fact they can keep track of what’s happening in our local government.

But with Council frequently running at 3000 words plus, it becomes hard to fit that into the paper with the other stories.

So today, we are declaring Council bankruptcy. Last week, we published the November 18 Council notes. This week, we’re publishing the January 4 Council notes, and skipping over December entirely.

Well, okay, not entirely. Over the next little while, I am hoping to get notes from the two regular meetings of Council and one Policies and Priorities meeting up onto the Tumbler Ridge News website.

If you are unable to access our website, or just prefer the experience of reading things on paper, you can swing by the office and we’ll print off a copy for you.

Moving forward, this may happen again. With the downturn in the economy, we haven’t been printing as many pages as we normally do, and so stories like Council Notes may wind up getting published online only. Or, we may publish an abbreviated version in the paper and point people to the full version on-line. Or, I may pull out an old Council note to fill up some space because nothing happened in town. If you have an opinion on the matter, feel free to write: editor@tumblerridgenews.com