• Michael Maguire

The Ledger needs an intervention

I loved my career at The Ledger. I have friends remaining, trapped in what now seems to be a disaster movie skidding downhill into an ignominious ending.

I hate its failures. I do not relish reporting them. But now, before it’s really too late, we as a community need to insist on a higher standard than maximum profitability.

The Ledger needs new owners. I have said that before, but I wasn’t specific enough. It does not need any more greedy corporate bloodsuckers, it needs Lakeland proprietors who - one or many or hundreds - live, work, and commune here. And it can be done. Gatehouse doesn’t care how it gets its money’s worth and will not fight to sustain it.

We are 100,000 in Lakeland and 650,000 in Polk.

We ought to have a reliable, professional, credible, news source.

We must have a reliable, professional, credible, news source.

At its peak, The Ledger news operation numbered 99. This is what's left:


Other bylines appear, but they belong to stringers and retired former employees to whom Gathouse no longer needs to provide full compensation or benefits.

Thomas Jefferson, writing from Paris while he was Minister to France in 1787, declared:

“The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty.

“The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people.

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

“But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.”

Insist on a higher standard.


E-mail the commissioners

But one at a time, please!


For the most part, when recipients open an email that includes others they are less inclined to take it personally. Make sure your message resonates by sending it to each commissioner separately.

Scott Franklin - Stephanie Madden -  Sara McCarley - Chad Mcleod

Bill Mutz - Bill Read - Phillip Walker

Each of these noble citizens represents all the rest of us. The four geographic designations - Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, etc. - apply only to the residency requirements for commissioners, not to their constituents. Bill Read, for instance, lives in the city's northeast quadrant and is likely to be more in tune with the businesses and neighborhoods in that area, but serves us all as our representative to the city management and staff.

It will always help to send your message to City Manager Tony Delgado  because it's his job to implement whatever projects, resolutions, and ordinances the Commission proposes in response to our communication.


State legislators representing Lakeland

Representative Colleen Burton

Senator Kelli Stargell