By Willie Gilbert

I was pleasantly surprised when I read the “Share your views with us” headline and first few paragraphs in the editorial in the Aug. 11 Triplicate. But after reading the editorial several times I was left wondering how this new less restrictive policy actually differed from the old. So, I re-read the “We welcome your views” policy statement on the right side of the editorial page and, once again, I was disheartened to read that the restriction of one letter or Coastal Voices column a month was still in effect.

So, straight to the point. If the Triplicate wants more dialogue with its readership the once-a-month rule has to go. This is not the first time I’ve made this point to Editor Robin Fornoff. We have way too many important issues facing our community which need more public discussion. The Triplicate should be leading that effort. Some of those issues include, but are certainly not limited to:

Passing the proposed TOT (transient occupancy tax) increase to provide long-term funding for our harbor.

Adopting sensible legislation regulating all aspects of both medical and recreational use of marijuana.

Developing and supporting more recreational and tourist activities which are critical to the long-term survival of our community.

Finding humane solutions to our homeless problems with an emphasis on getting children and vets off the streets first.

Dealing with the social ills of drug and alcohol addiction which are linked to much crime, not the least of which are spousal and child abuse.

Strengthening the relationships between all our ethnic communities.

Continuing educational reforms to better serve our underperforming students.

And I don’t want to leave out the syndicated political PR hacks whose frequent columns cry out for intelligent rebuttal.

Lastly, if I compliment Bryant Anderson on one of his photo pages, I’m then locked out for another month. I often send him an email telling him how much I appreciate his eye for detail, whimsy and sense of wonder but I would also like to be able to say so publicly without penalty.

There have been many times when the once-a-month rule kept me from writing a letter to the editor or a Coastal Voices column knowing that would be it for the next month no matter what the subject. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has self-censored because of this rule.

I, too, have been long aware of the drop-off in letters and Coastal Voices pieces from community members and I sorely miss their comments. We have a lot of great characters in our community who usually have something to say on a wide range of topics and, whether I agree with them or not, I almost always appreciate their contributions and don’t want their voices stifled.

In a time when newspaper readership and paid subscriptions are down, when more and more people look for news and opinion on websites and social media with no journalistic standards, I think it is incredibly counter-productive for the Triplicate to adhere to a policy which limits reader involvement and interaction. So, once again, I strongly urge the Triplicate to rescind this policy. In addition, I encourage all my fellow readers, if you agree with what I’ve written here, to please write to our editor and publisher so they can see how important it is to us to have a free and open debate without arbitrary limitations.

Willie Gilbert lives in Hiouchi.