The town of Bristol has been fortunate throughout the years to have numerous talented and dedicated individuals serving on town boards and committees, with none more talented and …
To the editor:
The town of Bristol has been fortunate throughout the years to have numerous talented and dedicated individuals serving on town boards and committees, with none more talented and dedicated than the members of the 4th of July Committee. However, recently they became embroiled in controversy after the committee chairperson removed comments on the committee's Facebook page which complained about the lack of Portuguese music at the 4th of July summer concert series at Independence Park when the concert schedule was recently released.
First of all, let me state that I have the utmost admiration and respect for members of the 4th Of July Committee, and they have the right and the authority to choose whatever musical acts they desire for the concert series, but problems arise when the chairperson removes critical comments from the committee's public Facebook page simply because he finds them "inappropriate". While it would have been acceptable to immediately remove comments that were profane, threatened violence, or were of a similar nature, simply deleting them because they criticized the lack of Portuguese music is not a valid reason for the chairperson to remove them.
And while the 4th of July committee is somewhat of an independent organization, the members are appointed by the town council, the committee receives town funding, and they indirectly represent the town, and as such, removing comments on a public Facebook page just because the chairperson doesn't agree with them raises some serious first amendment issues, and does not reflect well on the committee's otherwise stellar reputation.
On the positive side, I commend the chairperson of the 4th of July Committee for admitting that he removed the comments, and I feel his explanation was sincere and sufficiently addressed his removal of comments that he disagreed with. And instead of vilifying the chairperson for his removal of the critical comments, I feel his actions should be considered an honest mistake, and that he and the entire committee can use this unfortunate incident as a learning experience regarding first amendment rights.
The 4th of July Committee does an admirable job of organizing a large celebration that portrays the town in a very favorable light, and while this comment removal situation portrayed the town and the 4th Of July Committee in a negative light, I have every confidence that the committee will learn from it, recover from it, and continue to do much good work on behalf of the town.
245 Chestnut St.