Six years ago today the Daily Progress sent me a cease and desist order because I was emailing articles off their website to people concerned about the funding of public education.
Apparently when I sent Peter Savodnik's April 6, 2000 article reporting on the Board of Supervisors public hearing on the budget, that was the last straw. His article read in part:
"The crowd, which filled the second-floor auditorium and spilled over into the aisles and balcony, was split about fifty-fifty between those for and against the tax increase. Supervisors offered no comments during the hearing, which lasted more than four hours and included at least 75 speakers. County officials called the turnout 'unprecedented.'"
The 2000-2001 Albemarle County budget was approved that year with a 4 cent increase in the real estate tax rate (from 72 to 76 cents). I am pleased to say the Board of Supervisors has been a strong supporter of public education every year since.
Last night, the Board of Supervisors held a similar public hearing on the budget, and what a contrast from the tax battle of six years ago. Jessica Kitchin has the full story here. Her article starts as follows:
"The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors faced only two challenges to its proposed budget Wednesday night as the supervisors breezed through a public hearing that didn’t even fill the few dozen seats in front of them."
I never got the inside story from Daily Progress Editor Wayne Mogielnicki as to why I was being singled out. I was not making any money on the emails and I certainly wasn't hurting their newspaper sales.
It was at a time when the Daily Progress website had no online archive of articles. If you didn't cut and paste them immediately, they were gone. Google was just out of BETA testing. Waldo Jaquith hadn't launched cvillenews.com. We were in a major information black hole and I was one parent trying to share news and information about the school budget. Newspapers were terrified we would not buy a paper if they put their content online.
I did change my ways and started sending only excerpts of the Daily Progress articles. I added the following at the bottom of each message:
[Copied ONLY IN PART from The Daily Progress, http://www.dailprogress.com . Unfortunately, The Daily Progress doesn't maintain an article archive I can link to. Nor will they allow me to reprint entire articles about educational matters in e-mail.]
Later, most newspaper websites including the Daily Progress started creating online archives and many started allowing you to email the full content of an article from their website. We take it for granted today. As technology moved forward and the tax battle dust cleared, the Daily Progress left me alone. I am still a subscriber to BOTH the Daily Progress and the Washington Post and my morning routine begins with a trek to the mailbox in my pajamas to pick them up, well after I check my email and blogs.