Maryland city under blogger siege, says outgoing mayor
Salisbury, Maryland is not small-town rural America in the traditional sense. The college town stands in the middle of the Delmarva peninsula, halfway between an urban sprawl of Atlantic beachside resorts and miles of farmland, acting as a waypoint for travelers bound for Ocean City, Rehoboth, and Dewey Beach.
It is also, according to the city's mayor, a "city under siege" by bloggers.
Last week, Salisbury's retiring Mayor Barrie P. Tilghman gave her State of the City address in which she said intimidating tactics by local bloggers pose "a far greater danger to the Salisbury's future than the current financial crisis. When people are afraid to step forward, run for office, speak on relevant issues, write letters to the editor expressing individual opinions, then the future is in jeopardy. I leave this job, an adventure that I have enjoyed with a firm conviction that the people of this great city need to stand up and say, 'No More.' Only then can we move forward to meet the serious challenges and build upon the dreams and hard work of the twenty-four mayors who preceded me in service to this City."
Tilghman said that there is a small element of relentless conspiracy theorists who constantly seek "smoking guns" within the city's workforce. She said that citizens are afraid to stand up and serve, because each time they do, they risk "vilification...at the hands of blogs and with threatening phone calls."
Ironically, in making these statements, the Democratic mayor has taken what could have remained a local issue and handed it over to the blogosphere at large, for Internet-scale criticism.
Tilghman's plea for a replacement who can stomach Internet criticism has echoes of Scranton City Council President Judy Gatelli, who last summer won a case demanding thatanonymous message board posters identify themselves because of their poorly-spelled message board posts about her.
Seriously...has anyone in Mid-Atlantic government ever heard the phrase "lol Internet"?