February 24th, 2024

Council facing defining moments


By Lethbridge Herald on December 8, 2023.

LEAVE IT TO BEEBER
Al Beeber – Managing editor

We all know the cliche that there are only two things certain about life – death and taxes.

But it’s not that simple. Life is complex, and between birth and death, life is adventurous and demanding. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Part of the complexity of life involves relationships and in this job I’ve strived to build them. Being a journalist that isn’t easy because our job involves putting the spotlight on issues that impact people and often not in a positive light. There are times when we will be in conflict with those we cover, it comes with the territory. But I  – and my reporters – strive every day to be fair. And I believe we’ve had success in that.  I personally  have developed numerous contacts in the political world on the local, provincial and national level and created good relationships which are based on mutual respect. I  know under my stewardship the direction of this newspaper has been generating positive responses and respect  in the community. 

Part of respect means politicians and everyone else knows just as they can expect this newspaper to be fair and accurate in our reporting, they also can expect us to be critical in opinion pieces when that’s deemed necessary.

Politicians know when they get elected they’re going to be under the microscope for their entire careers in office. They’ll be questioned and criticized with every vote and public statement they make. Some of that will come from the media but most will come from the public – often anonymously on social media.

Politicians have tough jobs; they know if they make one mis-step, one momentary lapse in judgment or cast a vote in an unpopular way, they’re going to be hammered like Rocky Balboa in the first rounds of his fight with Apollo Creed.

But good politicians don’t stay on the canvas. They fight back and they fight until the final bell rings.

We have some good fighters in our city, representing us on the local, provincial and national stages. 

They’re warriors who are committed to doing what they feel is best for their constituents.

And thanks to the relationships that have been developed, which are based on mutual respect, I know we in this newsroom can make a phone call or email to any politician or his/her representative and make contact.

Those pipelines took work to build and it’s because we all believe – at least I hope – we can trust each other to be fair and honest.

Right now in Lethbridge, we have a couple of major matters that are on the minds of everyone in the community – the City’s fiscal situation and the Exhibition – and our civic leadership knows they can trust this newspaper to be fair in its coverage of both. And by “this newspaper,” I mean me because I’m the one doing the writing. Just as I trust them to be honest and fair with me, they know I’ll be honest and fair with them.

Anyone following council coverage of late can see the respect this paper has with council – on several occasions, our coverage of the City’s financial situation has been mentioned in meetings and that’s because of the thorough and fair job we do here.

Fairness is critical for any relationship to be healthy. And in healthy relationships the people involved know there will be rough patches in the road. 

Council right now is staring at two of those patches. How they deal with the financial situations of both the city itself and the Exhibition will be scrutinized by everyone in this community for weeks and years to come.

These two issues could be defining moments for our council, perhaps their future political aspirations and the future of Lethbridge itself.

 Council is under huge pressure right now to make decisions that shape our community moving forward. But they can trust the coverage of this newspaper will be fair. 

They all know me – and this newspaper – and they all know that’s true.

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