Monday, February 25, 2008

Burlington City and the BCT Public Relations Alliance

By now I am sure you have read the story in the Sunday edition of the BCT "Cameras could limit crime in Burl. City" by Lauri Sheibley.

The BCT story states Mayor Jim Fazzone wants the city to purchase 12 surveillance cameras to keep an eye on crime in the New Yorkshire neighborhood along with other crime ridden areas of the city. Some of the cameras would be able to detect the sound of gunshots. The city would hire new staff, to monitor the cameras and they would be able to adjust the cameras to zoom in on any illegal activity they spotted. The staff would then dispatch police to the site of the incident.
Mayor Fazzone would like to include the purchase of surveillance cameras in his annual 2008 budget, that has not been formally introduced to City Council by him.
Some members of the City Council are questioning the cost of the project and wondered if the city could get by with fewer cameras. Police Chief John Lazzarotti stated that, "This is what we thought we needed to get the job done". 
Mayor Fazzone admitted that the cameras would be expensive, and that he would seek out grant money to help cover the cost.
Mayor Fazzone said he believes the cameras would be worth the price. He stated "My question is, can we afford not to?"
Of course, the story doesn't give credit to the proper origin of the camera idea, the Police Department.
Why would Mayor Fazzone, be involved with a story about a project he doesn't have funding for? Could he be trying to give the impression to the residents, that he is doing something about Burlington's serious crime, and quality of life issues?
What you have in Burlington City, is a public relations campaign on the mayors behalf. Get enough "feel good" news stories in the BCT and the public thinks you are doing something to solve the problems, when in reality, nothing is changing except the jobs for his friends!

Wow, that is five big stories in the BCT written by Lauri Sheibley, about Mayor Fazzone in a one month period. I can't think of another town in the county, especially Burlington Cities size, that has gotten such press coverage. Hell the BCT reporters don't show up for meetings in Edgewater Park. They only publish stories when the E.P. Administrator and Mayor put out a press release.

Did you notice that the real substance of these BCT stories? Nothing in them is definite. The stories are full of wording like; "may move", "may be on board", "need additional loans", "demolition of six homes is a start", and "If the City Council Agrees to purchase". I call it, wishing language.
The BCT increased coverage, seems to have started with the newly elected Mayor Fazzone's term of office. Could it be that his friend John Alexander Director of Public Planning, is feeding stories to the BCT's  Lauri Sheibley?
One of John Alexander's previous careers was as a public relations writer. John also, may still be into a catering business with Edgewater Park Committeeman Tom Pullion.
I am amazed, that the BCT Editor hasn't sniffed this out, but then again, if you don't have to spend money sending a reporter to investigate the facts behind a story, but instead have them just write what they were given in a press release, you look good to the BCT owners. Maybe the BCT also likes the murders and crime stories in Burlington City, because it helps sell the paper.

Why didn't Mayor Fazzone wait until he had the projects funded, and a commitment from the businesses, before making a big news splash about wannabe projects? Why didn't he give credit to the department and city personal, who came up with the ideas'?
My congratulations to John Alexander, you are doing a good job for  Mayor Jim Fazzone. 
Lauri Sheibley and the BCT, you need to get out into the real neighborhoods, attend town meetings regularly, and ask tough questions of our elected officials and administrators. Quit giving them a free ride in your paper. Your circulation will continue to drop if you don't invest in good reporters and have the reporters visit our towns, and look for real news stories. I do miss the old beat reporters that you use to have, and their local interest news stories.
To my friends in Burlington City, please keep the information coming and I will post it. 

To Edgewater Park Mayor Hall, you see I don't just pick on you, I am an equal opportunity blogger, by pointing out inconstancies, and PR bull in the Burlington City Mayor's actions also.
The Edgewater Park Reporter


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I heard that whwn the police presented the proposal to council it wasn't looked at favorably from a cost standpoint, but shortly after a double shooting in the Yorkshire neighborhood it was revisited and is now part of Fazzone's plan to fight crime and yes the article made it sound like it was originally his concept. Wrong way to start your new administration; taking ideas from others and taking credit for them. Not very professional for someone so educated. Would you be so quick to take the blame for someone else?

E. Franklin Guy said...

Speaking of the media printing the "political powers that be" propoganda...

Did anyone see the Beverly Bee?

Linda Dougherty is plugging for her new family business in Burlington City. Full article.

It seems only the politically connected make money off of business in this area.