Valentine: No changes for Making Salem Better

Linda Valentine

Salem town Chairman Linda Valentine said she plans no changes for her Making Salem Better Google Group website in the wake of action taken Tuesday by the Salem Town Board to distance the town from the site.

The Salem Town Board, following a closed session at a special meeting Tuesday night, voted 4 to 1 to request that Chairman Linda Valentine discontinue her Google group website Making Salem Better.

In answer to a question about whether she planned any changes to Making Salem Better in light of the Town Board action, Valentine replied with the following statement:

The MSB is not a town document… I have no intention of closing the discussion board. It is not a blog. Others post to it. Anything posted on it can be substantiated. It is a vehicle to give people a common place to discuss those things that are MAKING SALEM BETTER. The town can distance itself from the list by these words and that is fine. It has never been a TOWNOFSALEM vehicle. I have said that from the start. It was created before I ran for office and is not at all something that the town has control over. Anything written that implies that town business OCCURS on the list doesn’t know what they are talking about or are deliberately presenting a false statement. The only reason that it became somewhat associated with the town is because of the complaint of Dziki who portrayed it as DOING TOWN BUSINESS…. SO no.. no changes and no handling activities changes are planned.

The status of Making Salem Better as a town communication was called into question by a complaint filed by Gail PecklerDizki, a town resident and freelance reporter. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued an informal opinion that Making Salem Better most likely did constitute official communication.



  1. valentine says:

    The MSB is not much different than these very comments on

    One must have an email address. to join and to post.
    One must follow certain rules.
    One’s post may be moderated.
    Posts are archived.
    More than one person can participate.
    It is, at the moment, a world wide discussion board.
    Others get copied by joining even if they dont post and so there is no need for the CHECK THE BOX for the NOTIFY ME OF FOLLOWUP COMMENTS VIA EMAIL as below.

  2. Darrel Damon says:

    It is unfortunate that the town board felt the need to wade into this issue. Wouldn’t it have been better if they just let the issue alone? Next, they will be asking individuals in the town who have websites that they don’t like to shut them down. (See the handwritten note regarding a site by Carol Dienthal on the original letter to the AG). The real question is: does an individual give up their individual rights when they get elected to a public office? It would seem that the balance of the town board feels so. One has to ask where the town board feels the lines are and how far they can step.

    One could also question why, when an individual writes to the AG, they get told that the AGs office is not allowed to respond to requests from individuals, but this particular issue (from an individual per the original letter submitted) DID get attention from the AGs office.

    From an outside perspective, this looks rather sophomoric. Is it really the town board versus Linda Valentine? Sure looks like it. I think in football it is called “piling on”. Politics ala Chicago is alive and well in Salem.

  3. Robert says:

    Mr. Damon obviously hasn’t got a clue what happens to one’s personal life when being an elected official – you haven’t got a personal life. Everything that you do is “out there” for anyone to see. As an elected public official, in essence, you DO give up your individual rights. Do you think anyone would have made a big deal of John Edwards sleeping around if he weren’t a public official? As far as who the AG responds to – that’s a question that you should be asking the AG’s office. Your question of: “Is it really the town board versus Linda Valentine? ” I think it’s the other way around – Linda Valentine versus the Town Board. Chicago politics in Salem?? Oh, I don’t think that’s the case – before that accussation is made, I’d wonder just how many of the board members have lived in the Town of Salem, for more than 20 years.

  4. Darrel Damon says:

    Incorrect, Robert. I WAS an elected official, so I DO have a clue. I know that much of what an elected official does is in the public spotlight. But not all. Were YOU an elected official? You speak as if you are an authority. And you may well be. I have no clue since I have no idea who you are. You know who I am.

    You said – “in essence” you give up your individual rights. That is absolutely incorrect. Please research. No individual rights are abrogated when a person is elected to public office. Having your activities in the spotlight is much different than giving up individual rights of speech, expression, etc. I see a lot of discussion regarding Valentine’s activities and comments (and no, I do not always agree with what she says or does), but I don’t see a great deal of discussion of what the other board members say or do. Why not? As a matter of fact, when one town elector attempted that last year, he was roundly chastized for bringing up “personal issues”. Whats fair is fair. I don’t play favorites. I think there is plenty of blame to place at every board member’s feet.

    You may very well be right – it might be Valentine versus the board. All I know is that I get very little value out of watching the comedy that is a board meeting playing out in front of me. Instead of planning and working together, I see a number of individuals playing oneupmanship. I see individuals disagreeing just to disagree. That can’t be helpful.

    Regarding the specific issue, I encouraged Valentine to put someone else in charge of MSB when she was elected. If it is not a violation of law in fact, it certainly has the appearance. For reasons of her own, she chose not to. But is it the place of the board to request for her to shut the site down and presumably attach some sort of sanction if she does not comply? I don’t think so. But that is my opinion and I recognize everyone’s right to disagree.

  • Follow us on

  • Archives