2016-10-20 / Views

Letters, a point of pride

It’s letter season at the Leelanau Enterprise, and we’ve got plenty of them this week alone. We were approaching 30 as of this writing.

Most of them are extremely positive about a favored candidate — endorsement letters, we call them — and short by requirement. We limit endorsement letters, which after awhile grow repetitive, to 100 words.

And then there are letters that take candidates to task. Those can run longer. But why allow more room for negativity?

We’ve found that endorsement letters can be part of organized campaigns, and so we limit their length lest their sheer volume crowd out other voices. Two years ago we had evidence of one campaign in which a candidate was writing letters and emailing them to backers, who were asked to attach their names and forward them to us.

That’s probably still happening. When done discreetly, how would you know?

There is one additional caveat in place for letters published in our final edition before the election, in this case dated Nov. 3. We won’t publish letters that make new allegations — “gotcha” letters — that don’t allow time for a candidate to respond.

So if you want to say a candidate would make a poor commissioner, for example, go ahead. But we won’t repeat a specific allegation of wrong doing.

Overall, we appreciate all the letters we receive, and consider them a point of pride in our mission of connecting the people of Leelanau County. So please, write away.

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