August 18, 2009

Comments give public a rolled up newspaper to smack union

by tolles at 1:02 PM

Great story on SFGate from the Chronicle regarding how their commentary helped show the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, who had threatened a BART strike, just what the public thought of this during these difficult economic time.

We here at Topix do pretty well with local discussions with over 140,000 comments a day, but in San Francisco, SFGate rocks, and there were over hundreds of comments on several articles on the issues reflecting what people think about the Union, and its threat to strike.

A particularly nice feature of the SFGate's comment system is the "Most recommended comments". Some of the highlights here with hundreds of "votes" behind each of these:

It is incredible that, at a time when California is really on the ropes partially because of bloated payrolls for those working for the State, these workers would even consider striking. How about a lockout followed by a last, best, and final offer, and then hire people who want to work and replace these greedy people! --sheridanw

I was really hoping for the strike because: 1... A lot of lazy jerks would get fired... 2. A lot of people who are out of work would be able to get a new job... 3. I would get to work from home! --inmyopinion

In a region where every politician of note is a Democrat, and the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, is currying the favor of a core constituency by promising to be be a "warrior for labor", commentary on the SFGate provide a key and critical place for the public to make its opinions known about issues that a one sided set of elected officials can't touch with a ten foot pole.

I've said this before, but SFGate gets my vote for best use of comments for a newspaper in the US, for actually referring to them in its articles, and wielding their commentariat as a club against the vested interests that prevent discourse on subjects where a few really obscure the opinions of the many (homelessness, unions, club closings, etc). It's a shame that they don't use our commentary system, but I'm a big fan of a major US daily standing behind the opinions of its readers.

Bravo to Carla Marinucci for calling this issue out!

Update: I just noticed Carla wrote up an additional piece on voters, unions, and commentary sentiment here., which is also worth reading.