editorial 16 THE COURIER SUN • FEBRUARY 4, 2016 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com sun WWW.COURIERSUN.COM VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS BOB BRENNAN ROBERT POZARYCKI AMY AMATO-SANCHEZ NIRMAL SINGH ALAN SELTZER STEPHEN REINA RON TORINA, JENNIFER DECIO, CHERYL GALLAGHER KATRINA MEDOFF, ANTHONY GIUDICE, ANGELA MATUA, ALINA SURIEL KATARINA HYBENOVA CLIFF KASDEN, SAMANTHA SOHMER, ELIZABETH ALONI DEMETRA PLAGAKIS WARREN SUSSMAN CELESTE ALAMIN MARIA VALENCIA VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS PUBLISHER & EDITOR CO-PUBLISHER ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF VP, EVENTS, WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA ART DIRECTOR ASSISTANT TO PUBLISHER ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR ARTISTS STAFF REPORTERS WEB EDITOR CONTRIBUTING REPORTERS EVENTS MANAGER SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE CLASSIFIED MANAGER CONTROLLER PRESIDENT & CEO VICE PRESIDENT Schneps Communications, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361 718-224-5863 • Fax 718-224-5441 Sales Fax: 718-631-3498 www.qns.com editorial e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for advertising e-mail: email@example.com Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by The Courier Sun All letters sent to THE COURIER SUN should be brief and are subject to condensing. Writers should include a full address and home and offi ce telephone numbers, where available, as well as affi liation, indicating special interest. Anonymous letters are not printed. Name withheld on request. No such ad or any part thereof may be reproduced without prior permission of THE COURIER SUN. 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Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl? “Panthers. They have a strong pace to their game.” Mario Villamizar “Panthers. I don’t watch football, but I like the color blue. I don’t like orange.” Justin Lee “Same here.” Joel Park “Broncos. The Panthers are underestimating them.” Roger Pierro “Panthers. I love Peyton, but Cam’s a monster.” Matt Devore BY MIGUEL VASQUEZ “I’m hoping the Broncos, but the Panthers will win unfortunately.” John Halkiadakis “Cam’s gonna outscore them.” Michael Feliciano street talk “Panthers. They’ve been on a long streak and Cam has had a great season.” Jacques Sylvestre “I don’t watch football, but I like the way Denver Broncos sounds.” Chris Choe “Broncos. All my friends post stuff about them on social media.” Shanik Pimentel A dangerous precedent We learned with dismay that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Joint Commission on Public Integrity (JCOPE) has issued an advisory opinion requiring that public relations representatives register as lobbyists and disclose whatever contact they may have with newspapers’ editorial writers or editorial boards, as well as if they write an opinion piece that is published in a newspaper. If passed, this would be an extremely dangerous precedent, not just for the members of the press but for American citizens. The Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of the Press were included in the First Amendment to the Constitution for a reason — they are critical to the functioning of a democracy. The existence of these two freedoms is one of the reasons why the United States has thrived as a free country. Any attempt by government to infringe upon those rights, no matter how limited the exception might seem, opens the door to further erosions of key liberties upon which our nation was founded — very much the fi rst steps along a slippery slope that should frighten this state’s, and this country’s, citizens. Freedom of the press, indeed, has long been an important tool in shining a light into the dark corners of government. Journalists, in the course of our job, need to speak with paid representatives of many organizations as well as the paid representatives of elected offi cials or candidates. That’s how we gather the information that we share in our stories, and how we learn enough about issues to have an informed opinion that we then express in our editorials. We also often get off-the-record tips that can lead to important stories, and the publication of these stories is part of the press’s critical job as a government watchdog. Much of that information would likely dry up, leaving rank-and-fi le citizens the poorer, should JCOPE’s ill-advised recommendation be implemented. There’s a vast difference between lobbying government offi cials on behalf of a client in an attempt to infl uence public policy and providing information to editorial writers, who will evaluate all the data they compile before they take a position. Confl ating the two does a great disservice not only to the fourth estate and the PR people we deal with, but to this country’s citizens, and to the very notion and practice of democracy. Better late than never... Being homeless is a horrible experience, but more than ever, it seems being homeless in New York City is even worse. The current crisis is a refl ection of some bad policies in city government that treated homeless people as numbers and shelters as opportunities for business rather than the means to help people truly in need. It took long enough, but the de Blasio administration is fi nally working to improve the city’s homeless shelters through increased security and upkeep — and, especially important, providing mental health resources to those who truly need it. Still, the old habits remain. The city is once again considering a contract to make the emergency shelter at the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst permanent. Despite the violations that led City Comptroller Scott Stringer to reject such a contract three times previously, the operators continue to insist that this place is fi t for residence. Stringer should turn the contract back a fourth time, and the city should work to relocate the shelter residents to places that are more suitable for living.
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