Finding default

If you checked out this morning, you’ll notice a story that’s somewhat familiar to Greater Grafton readers — LeClaire’s default on my neighborhood.

But the story goes beyond LeClare and certainly beyond my street. There are five subdivisions either in default or on their way there and that, ultimately, makes it something the town is going to have to look at closely.

Could this have been predicted? In my case, I still say no. We built with a local builder who was well-established in the community who, when I looked at his background (you think I don’t use every resource at my disposal when it comes to buying a house?), had no apparent history of up and abandoning projects, and at the time we bought, the market was going strong,

I wonder if the town could turn down plans from these developers in the future when the market comes back? Probably not, but what else could the town do to protect itself?

I hesitated before writing this story. Was it personal? Did I have a grudge? But it affects more neighborhoods than mine and involves more than one developer. Better to read it now than on the warrant, I guess.

Anyone else find my need to disclose I lived in one of the neighborhoods a bit goofy?

15 thoughts on “Finding default

  1. I agree with Jeff – I appreciate the transparency. As I was reading it, I wondered if you’d have a disclosure at the end, and so you did. Bravo – I think the article was well-written and not at all biased.

  2. I fully agree with the first 2 comments, and let’s face it… this does affect you directly but it has a big impact on the town in so many ways, so you are doing your job well in covering this issue!

  3. Hmmm – I think it was nice that you did – but I really believe that you should not feel compelled to reveal anything about your own personal self or beliefs.

    Consider all of the news articles written today, news reports and talk shows – do you ever see the author mentioning what political party they belong to – or if they ever been a victim of a crime, etc. – bias exists – its a part of who we are.

    Great article – and thanks for watching out for us and keeping us informed.

  4. The disclosure was not manditory, but it was reasonable. I think you had mentioned the connection somewhere before so it was no secret anyway. It does seem to strike an odd contrast with the GT practice of pulling comments out of the response streams. If that is going to be done it needs recognition and explanation to retain credibility.

    On the default situation, people need to talk withp state legislators. The town is doing everything they allow it to do. For a little background on how that works take a look at the saga of the ongoing efforts to reform the State’s land use laws. DOA each time. Too much at stake for the development interests.

  5. BobH’s comments on the GT practice of pulling comments from the response stream piqued my interest. So I made it a point to monitor this story and thread on the GT.

    I was bewildered and aghast as I watched the various posts go up, then disappear an hour or two later. In seeing the posts myself, there was nothing slanderous or especially provocative imho.

    I must say that the GT has lost it’s credibility and standing as an “Online News Center” with me too. I will think of it more as the local bulletin board and water-cooler. Comments and opinions can be posted as long as they are friendly to the people and issues the GT likes. Sort of like a moderated chat room.

    Which of course is all fine, as long as the banner is changed from ‘News’ to ‘Politically Correct News,’ or ‘Gossip Column,’ or something to that affect.

    So why the duplicity and need for disclosure all of a sudden?

  6. I had a personal Catch-22: I knew there were a number of neighborhoods going through the default process. I knew this because one of them happened to be mine. Report it without disclosure and I’ll be accused of hiding my personal interest. Don’t report it and I’ll be accused of covering it up for my personal interest. I figured I’d report it with disclosure.

    That’s my decision, by the way. At my old paper, I would have brought it up at the news meeting so it would be handed off to another reporter. I don’t have that option at the present time, so the next best thing is to be transparent and say “this is what’s going on and by the way, here’s my potential conflict of interest.”

    It’s a bit of a balancing act, really, reporting on your own town. I’ve always made it a point to NOT live in the town/city I cover. It makes things easier.

    I can’t tell you why some comments were pulled, since I’ve been in New Hampshire with very spotty wireless access for the last week. I will say there have been issues with some comments on and a large part of that, I dare say, is due to the old format which allowed anonymous comments. That, thank goodness, is a thing of the past. From now on, you will need to comment under one name. We will have access to your email address. Just like commenting here, you will need to be approved on the first comment. If a comment is found to be not in keeping with the policy (and a policy will be posted), it will be removed and I will likely email to tell you why it was removed.

    Online communities take a while to grow, as anyone who has been on the Internet for a while knows, and is still becoming established. Everyone is still feeling their way around trying to see what the limits are. Most communities, like this one right here, become self-policing after a while and I expect that will happen over at the other site.

    As far as the news — why on earth would you distrust MY reporting?

  7. I am fine with the content and subject matter of this story given the fact that you disclose this. For me anyways, it was good to see that you were wrestling with the journalism and ethics issues of the story. I understand it gets messy when you live in the town you report on. Again, no problem as long as it is out in the light as they say.

    My issue was with posts being deleted and threads being closed on GT. it was very conspicuous when one of the posters POSTED ALL IN CAPITALS PLEASE DO NOT DELETE THIS POST THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. -or something to that affect. And then a couple of hours later, –poof– it was gone. It was sad too to see other posters telling individuals to remove names and re-post. After other posts were up on GT for days with the same names…

    Actually, I wouldn’t have even had a problem with this, if there was a page somewhere on the site that stated this sort of thing was against policy.

    As one of the posts mentioned (I am paraphrasing here) It seems that anytime the topic or discussion brings up the [BOS] or ‘friends’ [certain developers maybe?] of the GT or it’s owners/employees the post is deleted. In watching this play out, that did seem to be the case.

    Hopefully, as you say the new site and technology, and the policy you are going to post will remedy this. I envision that the ‘mission’ of GT would spell out the nature of the site: News and Issues; or gossip and moderated chat?

    It seems like you have a success that has taken off with GT. Good for you. But as you are probably aware in the ‘internet age’ things happen fast, and if the credibility goes away, then your following will too. (See Bob H’s post. Maybe an explanation is in order?)

    Lastly, so what is going on with respect to the BOS? Surely, you must hear the same things I do?

  8. I just think it necessary to make a point about GTimes commenting. The first thing I would like to make clear is that it is NOT a blog. is a news center with the abilty for readers to add comments and discuss the articles at hand. If you would like to preach about your beliefs and insult people anonymously, go join a blog group, there are millions of them available.

    We have worked diligently for the past 4 months building an audience of over 40,000 visits per month and about 6,000 unique visitors. We have built this audience by reporting on everything relevant in Grafton while adding a personal level of interaction with the community of Grafton. Our readers love this format and to have built an audience this large in such a short time is extraordinary.

    In the last few weeks we have had a few commenters who did not identify themselves with real names or used the anonymous tag to make some personal remarks about individuals in town. This will not be tolerated. As in most cases there were a few “bad apples” that were making these comments – 2-3 to be exact. Because of the nastiness of the remarks and personal nature those remarks were taken down and everything else that was entered by these individuals was taken down. We can identify who these writers were so even when they put in a different alias, we took the comments down immediately. There was also no need for erronaeous messages like “don’t take my comment down”.

    If you are “bewildered and aghast” by my diligent approach to protecting the integrity of our news site, then don’t visit. You can always read the old newspaper in town. I believe their top story is still the – Senior Citizen’s prom from June, or maybe they are still on vacation. If you would like to stay on top of all news and happenings in the town of Grafton and add some positive and beneficial discussion to our many articles please do so.

    We appreciate our readers and will always protect them. Part of us redesigning our site is to inprove the commenting section. We were never happy with the first site we had and have been redisigning it since day one.

  9. Dear GT Publisher. Thank you for making my points better than I ever could.

    Paragraph 1; On a blog group you joined, where there are millions available, you preach about your beliefs and insult people, (although not anonymously). Does this mean you could not comment on your own site? I really strive to see things from all perspectives, but help me with this .

    Paragraph 2, Nice advertisement and marketing plug. You have made it clear what is important to you. Audience, visits, and community. I am in business too. I get this. This is much different than, facts, hard news, editorials, and freedom of speech. There are thousands of sites out there that do this and have no traffic. This has been my point all along! Just tell people this; –on your site that is.

    Paragraph 3, OK. Let me get this straight: You put up a public forum (the comments) on the internet; You did not post any policy or guidelines; You allow readers to post anonymously; and then you pass judgment (bad apples, nastiness, personal nature) and take the comments down? On the internet, this is like leaving a $100 bill on the Bandstand (Gazebo) and then being upset when someone walks by and picks it up and puts it in their pocket. Then chasing them and calling them names. I might add, as one of the other posters pointed out (that was taken down), how come this was ‘tolerated’ in the Building Inspector Thread? All of the behaviors you describe occurred on that thread, but it did not seem to bother the censor. Could this be a double standard?

    Paragraph 4, I have moved on. This site is a blog not the GT. BTW, did you really have to take that swipe @ TGN ? It may be true, but smells of a ‘bad apple’ to me. 😦

    Paragraph 5, Maybe there is hope!

    I want to believe…

  10. Whoa Foxy, You showed me! Apparently you couldn’t find the terms and use of the site, so that’s a huge issue for you? They were there just like they are on the new site. Glad you have moved on. I don’t have the time to respond to the rest of your rants, nor do I really care. Keep on Bloggin – Anonymously that is. I guess you’re embarrassed to say who you really are? I would be too if I got so wound up over a blog entry. Good day Bob.

  11. “Good day Bob”?

    Is that aimed at me Jack? You do know I am just me – no Foxy here.

    Is it possible people started using anonymous postings to make a point after trying unsuccessfully to let you know it was a bad idea for the GT site?

    As I alluded to in a posting on the new GT that seems to be gone already you would be well advised to take care with the dynamics of online communities. It is a lot easier to lose credibility than it is to regain it. GT is a good idea and it would be a shame to lose what it can be.

  12. No Bob, not directed at you…to the Bob behind the Foxy name. If you would like to discuss your thoughts on running an online news center feel free to email me. I don’t think that is a discussion that would interest GT readers. Thank you.

  13. Gentlemen, enough. I’ll give you each other’s email addresses and you can arrange for an Obama-type beer to hash this out. This is not an alternative brawling ground.

  14. I love this stuff. Did you guys ever consider a blog spot on the GT? There is such a need for it. People want to rant, and maybe they want to rant anonymously. Give it to them. They’ll visit your site 10 times over. I noticed when you switched to your new layout, comments have all but disappeared. What a shame. I log onto to read those comments. I love to hear what people are thinking. Good or bad.

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