Retiring Mayor: Bloggers Biggest Danger to City; AP Ignores Dem Party Affiliation

The Associated Press wire relayed a short item on Friday about how outgoing Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman (D-Salisbury, Md.) recently slammed bloggers as the greatest threat to her fair Eastern Shore city.

Via the Maryland Daily Record:

SALISBURY — In her final State of the City address, Salisbury Mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman warned residents of what she sees as a great danger to the city: malicious bloggers.

Tilghman said in her address Thursday that over the last five years, the presence of a small group of suspicious, mean-spirited people focused on the negative has grown, endangering the city's vitality.

Tilghman says some people are avoiding serving their city because it's not worth chancing the scorn of bloggers. But Tilghman says they need to stand up for the city.

Tilghman's final day in office is April 19, but she says she plans to remain active in the city. She says she plans to give a less formal farewell address before leaving office.

As you can see, Tilghman's Democratic Party affiliation is curiously missing from the story, even though her party affiliation is no mystery to mainstream journalists such as Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun, who took note of her retirement in a December 15, 2008 blog post:

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that the city's mayor, Barrie P. Tilghman, will retire this spring after 12 years on the job. The Democrat is the town's first woman mayor and, according to a nice appreciation of her in the Daily Times, one tough lady.

I only met her a few times on trips out to the Shore, but she struck me as focused and very much in  charge. Any intel on her (or scuttlebut on why she's hanging it up now) from folks on the other side of the bridge would be much appreciated.

Maryland political blogger P. Kenneth Burns picked up on the story in a March 16 post to his Web site, where he argued Tilghman's gripe about bloggers isn't surprising, given her record of chafing at political scrutiny from citizens and journalists:

It should also be pointed out that this is not the first time that Tilghman has gone after the bloggers.  In the past, she has called a press conference to direct attention to the blogs she says were unfairly attacking her.  She has also participated in dirty tricks during an election.  The last municipal election in 2007, she invited the candidates for city council for a community forum she hosted.  Which is all well in good, but it was with her three picks.

In addition to that, she has gone through great lengths to control the media, forbidding anyone in city government from speaking to WICO Radio host Bill Reddish, after Reddish gave the good old fashion grilling to City Council President Louise Smith.  The station had to give her a show in order to have city coverage.

Believe me, it is not the scorn of bloggers that city workers are afraid of.  It was the scorn of Barrie if they violated her gag order and let the truth out.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.