Crotonblog is grateful for the several expressions of loyalty by its readers that are posted elsewhere on the blog. So that readers do not get the impression that we have a pathological fixation with the back-alley three-card monte game the NCN forums represent, we hasten to explain the reasons for our adversarial position.
It all began when Crotonblog was mercilessly attacked on the original NCN’s Crotonblog rip-off, called Croton Blog by NCN, and this continues to this day on its replacement Croton forum. The trumped-up charge is “Crotonblog is tearing the village of Croton apart.” At village board meetings, Croton’s mayor, Gregory Schmidt, and trustee Thomas P. Brennan also have made this slanderous charge. And Mayor Schmidt, in an explosive outburst before customers at the Black Cow coffee house, lost his cool and repeated the hyperbolic charge before astonished customers.
On NCN’s Croton forum, Crotonblog’s respect for the principle of anonymity has been falsely compared to regrettable instances of false identity creation or identity theft on the Internet that have led to fatal consequences. It is interesting to note that the only recorded abuse of anonymity on Crotonblog was committed by one Maria Cudequest, who is now the principal contributor to NCN ‘s Croton forum.
Crotonblog’s initial reaction was to ignore the NCN forum’s incessant attacks. However there comes a time when an annoying horsefly’s buzzing persistence can no longer be ignored, and so we swatted it. Based on solid research, we exposed the ridiculous charade of the NCN forums in the article entitled, “The Phony Blogging Activities of The North County News.” We call this “running up the rattlesnake flag,” the famous 1775 Gadsden Flag. Its motto, “Don’t Tread on Me,” told King George III to exercise caution—angry colonists can strike back.
If the NCN forum’s participants practiced the principle of live and let live, relations could go swimmingly. But, like a dog worrying a bone, they keep on attacking Crotonblog and its staff. We can offer no explanation to account for this fascination with us. On the one hand they accuse Crotonblog of being the handiwork of one person. Yet they continually talk about obtaining a subpoena to uncover the names of Crotonblog’s staff. We can only conclude that the old biddies, who all have single names like French film stars and monopolize the NCN forum, must be suffering from a severe case of subpoena envy.
We know that the original NCN attack on Crotonblog for its toleration of anonymous postings was nothing more than an ill-conceived and unsuccessful attempt to boost that newspaper’s falling circulation. The hypocrisy of the North County News position was revealed when they embraced anonymity in their forums, largely to protect their shills masquerading as contributors. In fact, almost all contributors to NCN’s Croton forum hide behind pseudonyms, only proving that Crotonblog’s position on anonymity was right all along. As the old expression has it, what goes around comes around. Another area of mock concern on the NCN Croton forum—the only forum of the twelve NCN community forums with a spark of life—is civility, an empty catchall phrase. To them, anything posted on Crotonblog that NCN shills don’t like represents incivility and discourtesy.
Satire is protected speech. Under the rubrics of “What’s up, Doc?” and “Just Asking…,” Crotonblog acknowledges that it has published satirical pieces making fun of Mayor Schmidt’s practice of sweeping village problems under the rug in the hope that they’ll go away. Of course, these satirical aide memoirs also remind the public about the mayor’s dilatory tendencies. We also have made fun of the mayor’s monumentally bad temper, exhibited occasionally at village board meetings and displayed in full glory regularly at the frequent executive sessions when no witnesses are present.
There can be no greater incivility toward the public he pretends to serve than a mayor in A.D. 2008 who is so out of touch with the electronic age as to refuse to return citizens’ telephone calls or e-mail messages, and who claims not to read this blog that covers the village of Croton-on-Hudson. So, if you see puffs of smoke emanating from the roof of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building, don’t panic or call in a fire alarm. It’s probably just Mayor Schmidt sending an urgent message in the form of Indian smoke signals to village employees down at the Municipal Garage.