Saturday, July 19, 2008

When mayors blog

Ken Pringle, the mayor of Belmar NJ, discovered that having a popular blog does not necessarily make for being a good mayor.

The comments in his blog for summer renters in this legendary party town on the Jersey shore were meant, Pringle says, as tongue-in-cheek jabs at visitors behaving badly - which Belmar surely has each summer.

But they struck a nerve far beyond what was intended, offending Italian-American groups, New Yorkers, and yes, blondes. And, following an exchange of insults, they even earned the mayor an invitation from a Staten Island tourism group to visit and find out what it's really like.

So Pringle is shutting down the blog, the Belmar Summer Rental News, with an apology and a bit of regret that the furor his comments created has overshadowed very real concerns about tourists and their effect on the quality of life here.

I think Pringle has a real flair for blogging, and somebody should hire him for something after he is no longer mayor. I really liked this one:

But it was in the July 4, 2008, edition of the newsletter that Pringle may have crossed the line between satire and offense. One article recounted a bar fight between two female tourists, one of whom was from Staten Island, N.Y., that ended with the New Yorker hitting her opponent's face while still clutching a drink.

"Journalistically speaking, 'SI woman punches other woman' is right up there with 'Dog bites man,'" Pringle wrote. "But here's the twist: As the Staten Island girl was pummeling the Boonton girl's face, she used the hand she was still holding her drink glass in. Now, we're not sure if the glass was stuck to her hand cause of all the hair spray, or if this is a technique Staten Island girls learn in Brownies, but we are thankful she left her brass knuckles and straight razor in her other purse."

If he restarts it, I can't wait to subscribe.

Update! Here is the actual newsletter in question. Beats getting into a debate with Brookfield and Delafield whether or not they're pretentious.