This is my (J.R.) response to the letter on a point by point basis.  The text of the letter I received is in bold italics (unaltered except for my insertions), while my responses are in plain text.

I apologize, in advance, for the length (yes, it's pretty long)

March 9, 2004


This letter is being written by a group of people that don't agree with your Town Hall Meeting each day. This program has turned in to a destructive program aimed at individuals or businesses. This program is getting worse by the day, month, and year.

I would completely agree that the tone of the program has been far more negative than in years past, but then this has been a far more negative winter than any I have ever experienced in my almost 12 years here.  We seem to move from ugliness to ugliness almost seamlessly.  Just when we think there's a breath of fresh air, SPLAT!  We get another nasty mess dropped on us.

However, I can't make sense out of an assertion that the PROGRAM has turned destructive, or has "gotten worse".  The program is EXACTLY the same as it has ALWAYS been.  I  (J.R., the host) have not changed a THING.  What HAS changed is the number of, and tone of, the users.  The show has ALWAYS been an open forum, open dialogue, open open open open open (did I mention OPEN) program.  The town has been free to express whatever it wants, whenever it wants, in any manner that it wants.  It just so happens that THIS winter, lots of people are using it; and yes, a lot of the correspondence has been negative, if not vicious.  But my point is that the SHOW has not changed, it's the USERS of the show that have changed.  The SHOW is absolutely no different than it has ever been.  If someone doesn't like the tone of the show, their argument should be with the USERS, not with me.

In the same vein, the SHOW has not "taken aim at individuals or businesses".  It's the CALLERS and WRITERS who have taken such aim.  I still insist that I have NOT changed.

In fact, to do what you ask would represent a HUGE change in policy, as I would be forced into a role of being a sole arbitrator over what is "good" to broadcast, and what is "not good".   Do any of you REALLY want me playing God over your opinions, comments and questions?  I don't think I can possibly assume that kind of responsibility.

Town Meeting does not create hostility -- it merely reflects it.  A show that is totally driven by callers reflects the hearts and minds of those callers.  If the show has turned negative, it's because the USERS have turned negative.  Any hostility that comes out on the show already exists within those who express it.  The difference is that that such hostility doesn't remain hidden (and that's not ALWAYS a bad thing, as it so frequently STOPS the rumor mill cold).  I would agree 100% that it would be better if people would keep their hostility to themselves.  But I say again -- am I to be the one to judge when communications with the show are hostile and when they aren't?  Do you really want me to do that?  Or do you want that power to be in the hands of the people, and for the PEOPLE to accept that responsibility (which is where I believe it belongs).

And speaking of accepting responsibility, why haven't YOU called in anything better to discuss?  Is there someone in town worthy of praise?  Did someone do something nice for you recently?  Are you glad Tom and Darla were citizens of the year, or that the Wolverines played well in the last tournament, or that the Problem Solvers hosted a great dinner, or that Ludy Villa's latest fundraiser went well?  If you're so concerned about the negativity, why aren't you taking control of the show by infusing it with POSITIVITY?  You have just as much right to celebrate as others have to vent.  Nothing shuts down a run of negative bile on a talk show like a caller with something better to discuss.  So rather than jumping on me, why not DO SOMETHING POSITIVE?

In effect, all you've done here is complain that others are complaining.  That just makes more complaining.  The big steaming dunghill of complaints just got one bigger!  Doesn't that strike you as a little silly, if not a bit hypocritical?

You do not realize what it does to the individual, family and friends that are being attacked. It's like seeing a family member die a slow death.

WRONG! -- I ABSOLUTELY understand how that feels.  Maybe some of you don't remember the times that such attacks have been leveled at me in the past, right there on the air for all to hear.  Now it's true that they have not gone on for a week, but that's because I DEAL with any such attacks RIGHT AWAY.  I don't keep it secret, and I don't let it simmer.  Frankly, I wish that everyone would take the same approach, because if they did, I believe problems like this could be avoided much more easily (if not eliminated completely).

And lest anyone think I don't personally understand the way it feels to be on both sides of this, you are wrong again.  I have been persecuted by a supervisor in a previous job who was more interested in being bossy than a boss, and I dealt with it up the chain just like I was supposed to.  And I have also been in the reverse situation where I was a manager of staff who questioned every move I made for no other reason than my Father was my boss.  If you've never been in a situation where no one respects you or your decisions (even though you work harder than any 3 of them combined), just because your Dad is the boss, then I'm very happy for you because I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  It's excruciating!

After being on a Board that lived through one of these vicious attacks, you are doing a disservice to the people and the town as a whole.

I'm not sure I understand this statement.  I have never been on a board that was under vicious attacks.  And even if I had been, how would that have anything to do with the amount of "disservice" that I am doing to the community?  If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong -- regardless of whether I've been on an "attacked board" before.

Now what you MAY be saying is that YOU have been on a board that underwent vicious attacks, perhaps attacks that were discussed on my show, and thus it is YOUR opinion that I am doing a disservice because YOU have been in the "attackee" seat.  If that's what you meant, then I can totally understand why you would be sensitive to seeing a similar situation being played out with this current controversy.  And I don't fault you for that.  If I understand you right, this must dredge up a lot of bad memories.

However, I've been doing this long enough to know that people ALSO get hurt just as badly when they feel like they DON'T have a voice.  They may hear more powerful voices touting one side and be desperate to counter with their information, but feel like they have absolutely no way to do so.  Isn't that also a possibility that needs consideration?

So herein lies the dilemma:  On the one hand, there's the possibility of people getting hurt by an open forum show.  On the other hand, there's the possibility of hurting people just as badly by giving them no voice at all.  So what am I to do?

My solution has been this:  given that there's potential for harm either way, what method can I use that gives BOTH sides the BEST POSSIBLE CHANCE of sharing their views?  The answer I have been given over and over is the OPEN FORUM.  That way, the powerful and the meek can share their views, side by side, and respond to each other with the kind of freedom that America is supposed to be about.  Now if people have bad manners, then that's a shame -- I couldn't agree more with people who feel that's wrong.  But here again -- do all of you really want ME to be the judge of that?  If that's what most of Cordova wants, then I guess I will do my best to accept that near-impossible responsibility.

But consider -- what happens if I do that, and then some issue comes up where YOU really want to be able to say something, and I decide that your perspective is too mean or too accusatory or just wrong for the town?  Am I not then in a situation where MY judgment, MY politics, and MY views end up governing your right to be heard?

Remember to consider how YOU would feel if the shoe was on the other foot.

Things are not better afterwards as friendships and respect are lost towards either side.

I can see that possibility, and in my continuing deliberations on this matter, I will be looking for public input on that very issue.

But I also assert that true friendships built on a foundation of rock will survive such things because true friends listen to each other and work to understand each other.  On the other hand, relationships built on a foundation of sand that are based on false assumptions of similarity and agreement may not, in fact, be especially good friendships to begin with.

I can't judge the friendships of others, but I can tell you this about myself -- to my knowledge, I have NEVER lost a true friend as a result of my politics or opinions.  Part of this is because I listen to, and try very hard to understand, where people with opposite opinions are coming from.   The other part is because even if we don't share all the same views, I can still get along with, do business with, and enjoy any person I see.

To those who have lost friendships in the heat of controversy, I tell you before God that I am genuinely sorry for your loss.  Not much feels worse in this world than having a "friend" turn on you.  Believe me, I know -- in my position, I've certainly had friends turn on me.  But it's never been permanent because we've talked about it and fixed it.  If you had a friendship go sour on you (1) take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are SURE that you did EVERYTHING you could to REALLY LISTEN to them and try to understand where they were coming from, and (2) if you KNOW you did EVERYTHING you could, then forgive them and let them go because they were probably not destined to be your friend in the first place.

And one last thought -- maybe a friendship you think is beyond repair is not as bad off as you think.  Maybe if you've been hating (or have been hated by) someone for years over some controversy, today might be a good day to call them in forgiveness, seek forgiveness from them, and see if there's still something there.  I know that may seem goofy, and I certainly know it would not work for everyone who tried it today; but then again, maybe it WOULD work for YOU today.

In the times the town is suffering through, we do not need more dissention and conflict.

I couldn't agree more.  But I would reemphasize that the dissension and conflict are ALREADY there whether my show exists or not.   All my show does is keep it from being hidden, and the only reason it does not stay hidden is because listeners CHOOSE to bring things out.  If you want to blame someone for that, blame the USERS.  Blaming me is silly, unless (as I already said) you expect ME to be some kind of judge over what's good and what's not.

And how can anyone say that giving air to issues is ALWAYS bad?  Do we think it was an injustice for the Exxon Valdez whistleblowers to have a voice?  I'll bet the Exxon Company didn't like it much and would have preferred their "enemies" to be silent.  But how many of you authors of this letter would have liked it if little Cordova's voice had been squashed on account of someone higher up thinking we were "griping"?  Aren't Cordovans still arguing even today that our voice is not being heard or respected on this issue?

I know it's no fun to hear all this fighting.  Do you actually think I like it?!  I can't stand it!   But at risk of being nauseatingly repetitive, the ONLY alternative is for me to act as some kind of judge over the material.  And I know exactly what would happen if I did that -- not only would I be taking on a responsibility that no human being can possibly assume, but I'd be facing an outcry from people accusing me of censorship and the arbitrary squashing of "certain" voices.

We know you say that you are not promoting this and are neutral, believe us, it doesn't come across that away. It comes across as sensationalism journalism to promote your ego and station. I'm sure you don't want that.

You're absolutely right that I don't want that.  But how you can say that my motivation is my own ego, getting listeners for my station, and some sort of fetish for "sensationalism" is absolutely beyond my comprehension.  Anyone who could possibly say something like that about me is either so deeply lodged in their own opinion that they can't see past their own tunnelvision, OR is someone who does not know me AT ALL.  How many times do I have to tell you that sensationalism is the LAST thing I want?  I would NEVER sacrifice my beliefs or integrity for the sake of "better ratings".   Aside from the fact that such an idea is repugnant to me, WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT WHEN I HAVE THE ONLY 2 LOCAL STATIONS?!  It makes no sense.  I wouldn't do the kinds of things I've been accused of in this letter even if I DID have competition.  Do you know how many stations in the lower 48, and even in Anchorage and Fairbanks are under attack because they DON'T offer a forum like Town Meeting?  Do you know how many talk shows across this country are criticized for not being truly "fair and balanced"?  There are Americans coast to coast DESPERATE for this kind of chance to voice their views, and they can't get it ANYWHERE.  In fact, people are even trying to force the FCC to force stations to make their shows MORE like mine.

Given the complete lack of understanding of my personality, I have to assume that this assertion was made by (a) someone who is pretty new to the town, (b) someone who already doesn't like me for some reason, (c) or someone who is really hurting about something and doesn't know what to do with the hurt other than lash out at me.  If you are an (a), (b), (c), or anything else, I hope and pray that you will choose to contact me personally, preferably on the phone, so we can talk about this.  I've been in intense emotional pain before, and I've learned a thing or two about dealing with it.  Please don't hide from me.  There's no reason to do so.  Even if I know who you are, I'm not going to tell anyone.  I'm very good at keeping private things private.  If some dialogue can help, let's have it.

This latest attack on the Phone Company has gone too far or should we say the straw that broke the camel's back. As usual there are vicious attacks by one group and the other side can't really respond because of the protected rights of those making the most noise. In this case, the people are union and represented by a very active, aggressive union. Having belonged to a Union, if things were as bad as these few people paint, the union would be pulling them off work and striking. How come their union is doing nothing? Maybe they just don't like their boss and have no legitimate claims and should just quit and move on. This is another railroad job by a few and being enhanced over your station. This letter that was sent to the community, where is the proof? He has stated to that he is there to get rid of management and take care of his fellow brothers. This is not what he signed on to do. He has told a lot of his fellow members that this is his mission. There are proper channels for filing bad working conditions, either unions or government, not over radio stations.

You haven't said one thing in your above opinion statement that I would flat out disagree with.  I can't pretend to know that you are right in your assertions, but your opinions certainly seem valid on each point.  And if you called in or wrote in those opinions, I'd gladly share them and support you for doing so.

Of course, if I wasn't the host of an OPEN FORUM program, I would never have bothered to read your opinions.  Someone of the opposite point of view could very easily view what you just wrote as an attack on the integrity of the Union, on the integrity of Roy, and an attack on the workers (i.e. "Maybe they just don't like their boss and have no legitimate claims and should just quit and move on").  See the dilemma?  Would you want me to judge, and summarily dismiss, your opinions as "not air-worthy"?  I don't see much "fact" in this paragraph, but I sure do see a lot of opinion and interpretation.  Do I have the right to judge your work as either helpful insight or vicious tripe?

To me, this whole paragraph is a bit telling.  It would appear that you have felt the sting of the one-sidedness of the discourse so far.  And taking into consideration the earlier statement (if I interpreted it right) that you have likely been on an attacked board before, you most likely feel some empathy for the "quieter" side.  Maybe you are even friends or family of the people you believe are being attacked.  But let me share a few things with you:

(1) I have quite a lot of information that contradicts the claims that have made by the majority of the speakers on the show over the last week.   But up until very recently, that information has been requested to be private, for my eyes and ears only.  But the next time this issue comes up on the show (if it even does), I have been given permission to share these "counter-points".

(2) On 3/10, I made the statement that I personally believed it was time to stop talking about this on the show and start talking to Paul, Roy, David, the board, or whoever.  The speculating period was, in my opinion, done -- time to take it to the source and leave me out of it.  Now I did NOT say that I would start ignoring calls and emails about this subject, but I DID say it was my personal belief to let enough be enough.  Frankly, I was very thankful that there was basketball on 3/11 (the day I got this letter), Trivia on 3/12, and then a weekend.

(3) To take this a step farther, there is a new issue having to do with fishing that I am going to bring up on Monday, 3/15 that needs immediate attention.  That should also help to focus attention elsewhere.

So, I am doing everything I can without violating the core principle of the show, which is to give voice to EVERYONE.  Maybe there are arrogant people out there who think they have the ability/right to judge what's worthy of airtime and what isn't, but I'm sure not one of them.  I would NEVER presume.  I'm not so bashful that I won't tell people when I think enough is enough, but that will still not stop me from letting them be heard.

Please change your format and quit this type of radio, it's not healthy.

Quit WHAT type of radio?  What do you mean by that?

Do you mean no more local talk radio?  How can I possibly do that?  After all the good things that Town Meeting has done in the past, how can I just stop doing it because people get mean sometimes?

Do you mean stop doing nasty radio?  Well I'm not doing nasty radio.  I'm not encouraging nasty radio. I'm not condoning nasty radio.  I'm doing the same thing I've done for over a decade -- absolutely no change in 11+ years (except that I now have a computer terminal by my console, but that's just geography -- emails have been encouraged and welcomed ever since email was invented).

Do you mean I should keep talk radio, but somehow stop people from being nasty?  Well I CAN'T CONTROL THAT.  It's the PARTICIPANTS that control that.  It's the CALLERS and the AUTHORS that do that.  God Himself doesn't stop people from being nasty.  How in the world do you expect me to?  Has it occurred to you that sometimes nasty people are allowed to be nasty so that they can be seen for what they are?  Maybe the Almighty allows people to be nasty in order to hasten the consequences for them?  Why do you assume (as you seem to do) that nasty people being nasty inevitably results in harm?  Maybe it results in EXACTLY what Providence calls for.

So again, WHAT "type of radio" am I supposed to quit?

We've heard that you are losing listening audience and that some of your sponsors are about to pull the plug because they don't want to be associated with anything that promotes negative when we are trying to save our town.

Oh brother...

Ok, first of all, none of these alleged KLAM deserters have said a thing to ME.  We've been forced to endure "nasty" radio (as you imply) all winter, and I have not lost one advertiser.  I have also not been told by ANYONE that they are deserting as a listener over this.  If people don't have the courtesy or decency to tell me to my face that they are dumping me, then there's nothing I can do about that, and thus I do not lose one wink of sleep over it.  The only people I can work with are people that talk TO ME (which to your credit, you have done -- although I don't quite see why you have to go through the cloak and dagger routine.  What harm can I possibly cause you?)

And here's an irony you might not enjoy, but I have to say it.  Didn't you accuse me earlier of stooping to sensationalism to gain listeners?  Well now you're saying that if I want to gain listeners, I need to stop this "sensationalism" as you call it.  But did I not emphatically say earlier that stooping to anything just to gain listeners is not something I care about?  So why would I be any more likely to opt for censorship than I would be for sensationalism?  See, this is not so simple as it seems.  The way people feel about an open forum is always always always DIRECTLY related to who's on the offensive and who's on the defensive.  The side with the momentum thinks it's awesome, the side under fire thinks it's a horrible injustice.  In the 20+ years I have been in radio, I have never seen it play out any other way.  I'll tell you what I HAVE seen though -- more than once, I've seen people that were praising the show when things were going their way do a complete "180" when the next issue came up and those SAME FOLKS were on the "receiving end".

I'll say it again -- there's a chance of people being hurt no matter how I do this.  So that leaves me with the options of (1) stopping the local talk show completely, or (2) using the model that MAXIMIZES the chances of BOTH SIDES getting their say.  If only one side chooses to speak, then there's nothing I can do except BEG THE OTHER SIDE TO COUNTER.  And if you've actually listened to my show at all, you KNOW that I GROVEL like that ALL THE TIME!  How many times have I BEGGED and BEGGED and BEGGED for the "quiet" side to say SOMETHING, ANYTHING that will help the town get a balanced perspective?  What more do you want me to do?  I can't FORCE them to speak out if they're either legally bound to silence, too scared, or too uncertain of their position to give it voice.

If they're legally bound, they can at least make that clear.  That's helps the town understand and eases rumor tension.  And how many times have I defended the silence of those very people?  Like Rick Hohnbaum?  Or the CCMC board?  Or the City Council?  I have fought to defend their silence AND enhance their credibility when they have AT LEAST confided in me enough that I can understand the necessity to do so.

If they're too scared or too uncertain of their position, then what am I supposed to do about that?  Silence the other side until the scared/uncertain party is "ready"?  If I do that, then I am being judgmental.

 I bend over backwards to get both sides.  I CAN'T believe that's not OBVIOUS.

And by the way, don't anybody believe for a second that the "quieter" side of the CTC issue has been "silent".  They have shared what they can with me, both on and off the air, and it's all very valid.  As I said, the finer details were embargoed until very recently -- and they still don't want me to go off on it unless it's needed to counter a specific argument.  They believe discretion is their calling, and I respect that (although I can't force it on the other side just because that's how CTC chooses to conduct themselves).

I have enough faith in the Big Plan to believe that if a side is meant to stay silent, then they will be rewarded for doing so and their vocal opposition will hang itself.  On the other hand, if a side is meant to speak out and they have truth on their side, then it is the vocal side that will be rewarded as things that should not be kept hidden are exposed.

I will never pretend to be God or anything that even resembles Him, but I will also never pretend that I don't have absolute faith in Him to work His Will in situations just like this one, whatever that Mighty Will may be.

Anyway, back to the point -- if I am losing anyone over this, they certainly aren't stepping forward.  I mean, for crying out loud, if anyone was going to dump me, you'd think it'd be CTC!  But has that EVER come up in my talks with ANYONE over there?  On EITHER side of the issue?  NOT ONCE!  In fact, I have spoken privately with all of the principal parties in this struggle, and far from criticizing me, they are praising me for being fair, giving everyone a chance to speak, and being willing to subject myself to other people's problems.

And whether you folks in this group like it or not, the OVERWHELMING majority of people that interact with me about Town Meeting can't say enough good about it.  In fact, yours is the first "major attack" on my credibility that I've ever experienced in my 11+ years here (and I say "attack" because of the personal comments about my alleged "sensationalism" fetish, my supposed desire to inflate my ego, and my so-called methods of suckering listeners with controversy -- sorry, that's personal any way you slice it.  When you question my character, it's personal).

Another point -- would one of you explain to me how you can say that I am PROMOTING the negative?  How do you arrive at that conclusion?  Yes, I allow negative people their say without censoring them, but how does that constitute PROMOTING negativity?  What evidence do you have that I have EVER PROMOTED the negative?

And finally, when have I ever been accused of not being interested in "saving the town" as you put it?  Would I serve as President of the Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of Little League Baseball, a member of the Sound Alternatives Community Action Committee, attend virtually every council meeting, volunteer for almost everything I have time to do, and invest almost $285,000 in our home and business if my desire was to SINK THE TOWN?  Please!

The return address is phony as we don't want our names out at this time, but will come forward and use your station to stop this type of radio in a small community.

Point #1 -- why the phony address?  Why any anonymity at all on this?  You and I ARE the affected parties here.  There's no one in between.  You're not talking about someone else, you're talking about me.  So what's with the cloak?  What kind of harm do you think will come to you by identifying yourselves?  Do I really have the power to wreck your lives?  OK, maybe I do -- I'll concede that you'd have an arguable fear in that case, although I'd also say that any suggestion that I'd actually USE such power is ludicrous.  I just can't imagine, given my entire history of serving this community, what makes you think I WOULD defame you even if I COULD?  Have I ever sought to defame ANYONE?  Have I not accepted letter after letter after letter, all of them with names on them, without revealing anyone who didn't SPECIFICALLY ask to be named?  What makes you think I would treat you any differently?

Maybe you fear that I cannot hold back desire for retribution when the attack is personal.  Well again, that only tells me that you don't know me very well at all.  You've either got to be new, you don't like me for some other reason, or this controversy is too personal for you.  You have judged my integrity, apparently without even knowing who I am.

Perhaps you doubt your OWN ability to hold back retribution if YOU were attacked, and so you assume I'm no better.

And here's some irony -- if you fear retribution from me for attacking me, then why did you attack me?  Isn't your whole point here that attacking people is wrong?  That people should not accuse each other of things when they have no facts?  If it's WRONG for these people calling my show to do that, then how can it be RIGHT for you to do it to me?  Seems like a contradiction.

I have no earthly idea why you thought you needed to hide yourselves from me.  There is not a fiber, not a molecule in me that would threaten your secrecy.  Give me one example of a time when you think my behavior put someone's identity in jeopardy (someone who wasn't already well known for a particular action), and I'll gladly eat these words.  But it will be a complete shock to me if you can find even ONE.

Point #2 -- Good, I hope you WILL come forward, I WANT you to come forward, I PRAY THAT YOU WILL COME FORWARD -- not because I wish to do you any harm, but because I want to TALK with you.  Do it on the air, do it off the air, do it on the phone, do it on the email.  Do it however you like so we can TALK.  I can't learn a SINGLE THING from you if we can't have 2-way dialogue.  You don't really believe that I will actually change anything about my show as a result of weak, anonymous threats about losing a few listeners or sponsors, do you?  This can't go anywhere if we don't talk.  I swear to God in Heaven that I will not do anything to defame you personally.  I may not agree with your views, and I might even discuss my disagreement on my show; but that doesn't mean I won't still say "HI" to you on the street, give you the best price on ads, work to help your business or charitable organization, or keep smiling at you any time I see you.  And any remaining disagreement will MOST CERTAINLY not cause you to be embarrassed on the air (unless it simply embarrasses you to have your VIEWS disagreed with, regardless of whether anyone knows who you are, in which case there's not much I can do for either of us).

We would hate to see you have to endure what others are at this time and in the past and are still having nightmares over them. It's not pleasant.

I really appreciate that -- not only because it's a caring statement from you, but also because I have ALREADY endured the very same kinds of things that people are enduring now.  I have been as low as it goes.  I have not only experienced debilitating stress and depression, but I couldn't even pin it on anything.  Every time I thought I knew what was stressing me out, I'd move past it only to find something new.  What I have learned through Faith, treatment, and experience is that ultimately, stress comes from within.  I had to take control of the REAL reason I was stressed and deal with it.  And through Grace, I have completely come back, literally, from the brink of suicide.

So with respect, please don't tell me that I don't know about stress.  I know more about it than I ever wanted to know.  Anyone who's never feared actually taking a firearm and using it on themselves has (in my opinion) still got a bit to learn about stress.

But the other thing I know is that the stress, the nightmares, the whole ugly casaba can be BEATEN.  There's no one size fits all solution, but there IS a way for EVERYONE if they can just find it.  I believe God showed me mine; but regardless of anyone's beliefs in that regard, I know that stress is beatable.

So don't worry -- I've been to Hell already, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  And God knows I would never do anything to create Hell for anyone else.

But the solution you propose is not the way to get there.  Whether people talk about their "nasties" on the air or not, the "nasties" are still there inside their hosts.  So whether it's public forums that bring the nasties out, or the rumor mill, the nasties still exist because people allow them to.  If anything, experience has clearly shown that in most cases, the public forum gets people to Hell and back much faster then allowing Hell to fester for years in the rumor mill.

I agree that if we would all choose to behave and love one another, we'd never have problems like this CTC thing, the CCMC thing, the "unfortunate-ness" at the Gospel Musicale, or anything else like these.  But unfortunately, not everyone chooses to be nice.

Or harder still, you have two sides that are equally valid, but simply not compatible.  Those issues are the most excruciating.   But that doesn't mean that there aren't solutions if everyone involved truly cares about each other, and cares about understanding one another and finding common ground.

So again, for the good of Cordova, STOP!

I think we've covered this already.

I know I've probably gone on way too long, and your eyes are glazing over if you've even made it this far.  And by the way, if you HAVE made it this far, let me thank you for being interested enough in my response to put up with all of this.  I believe that shows real character on your part.

In conclusion, let my say in all sincerity that I CARE ABOUT UNDERSTANDING YOU!  I WANT TO UNDERSTAND YOU!    Talk to me.  Call me.  Write me.  Whatever!  (except don't do the anonymous letter thing again -- that won't help any of us understand each other better.  You have my word that your identity is perfectly safe.)  One way or another, let's TALK together and not make the same mistakes we've seen too often before -- namely not getting together, not sharing our differences, and failing to seek resolution based on mutual understanding.

Please forgive me if my use of this internet resource has caused you any pain.  That is absolutely NOT my intention.  But I didn't know what else to do.  I didn't have permission to read your letter on the air, and you gave me no way to contact you personally, so this is all I could think of.  I hope you take this in the spirit with which it is intended -- to reach out and seek understanding.

And I also hope we can all learn something from the poll (which is why it's there, by the way).  I'm not doing that to take a shot at you or embarrass you -- I'm trying to LEARN more about our town and its will.  I am putting MYSELF on public trial, not you -- and I welcome all comments, be they for me or against me.

If you still harbor dislike for me, even after all this, then so be it.  I won't deny you that right (as much as it saddens me).

But if we can talk with each other, then think how much better things can be.  I can learn from you, maybe you can learn from me, and we can all grow and get smarter for the effort -- and THAT'S the kind of behavior that will "save our town"

Very Best Regards,

J.R. Lewis
Host of "Town Meeting"