I find Tony Payne’s essays in The Forecaster to be both eloquent and thoughtful, and even on those occasions when I don’t agree fully with his message. It’s clear that he’s a skillful writer. That said, I believe that it is unethical of Mr. Payne to be writing an opinion column for a community newspaper. That The Forecaster continues to allow him to do so shows both disingenuousness and poor judgment on the part of its decision makers.
As an elected official Mr. Payne should be responsible enough to know that publishing his political point of view on a regular basis shows a lack of principles on his part, as well as on the part of those running the publication which prints his observations. Allowing Mr. Payne to air his views on a regular basis at no charge is wrong; it amounts to a free political advertisement.
Unless The Forecaster is prepared to offer regular column space to every member of the Falmouth Town Council (not to mention any and all of Mr. Payne’s opponents in future elections) they should discontinue Mr. Payne’s column immediately. The content of Mr. Payne’s columns makes it clear that he is an intelligent man. Unfortunately, the fact that he’s serving up his opinions in print at no cost to himself while serving as an elected official makes it look as though he is a less than honorable one.