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What’s In A Name? Apparently, Quite A Bit!

October 29, 2002

First, let's be up-front. John Snyder has the right to his opinions and The Tentacle has the right to publish them. However, with a multitude of Snyders in Frederick County and many John Snyders in the telephone book, the public has a right to know: WHO IS JOHN SNYDER AND WHY IS HE SAYING THESE THINGS?!

We do know that Mr. Snyder has suddenly become a prolific columnist for The Tentacle. He seems to have appeared out of nowhere and generated three columns within the first two weeks of October. We also know that Mr. Snyder considers himself smarter than me, because he claims to know that Republican voters prefer Democrat Bruce Reeder over Republican Lennie Thompson for county commissioner, a claim I cannot make.

As a member of the Frederick County Board of Appeals, I have become accustomed to comments from people who have watched our televised proceedings. As a private citizen attending a recent county commissioners meeting, however, I was totally unprepared for a discussion with a couple of commissioners after the meeting, about whether I was responsible for the latest Tentacle column. A subsequent email from a civic association colleague, hoping I was not the author of the offending column, made it clear that a real problem existed.

It is quite likely that the Tentacle writer does not know me and had no intention of creating such a controversy. However, I need to know that no one is trying to put words in my mouth. The public needs to know who writes the columns.

Like a public official, a journalist opens himself to public criticism. His name is intended to give him credit - not to provide a shield from public scrutiny.

(Editor's Note: Future writings by the columnist for The Tentacle who shares MOST of the name of this letter writer, will be ascribed to John P. Snyder.)

John S. Snyder, Monrovia

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