Opinion

An anonym in Presque Isle

To the editor:

I was born and raised in Presque Isle. My grandfather and father owned and operated Northern Pipe & Supply on Chapman, and later on State Street in the current Catholic Charities building. I moved away in 1986 and returned in 2010 to start my current business at the former MBNA site. I live in Austin, Texas. I care about the community and, like many others who move away, I stay in touch via Facebook. 

To that end, the following is my opinion of a colorful Facebook group, the “Concerned Citizens of Presque Isle.”

The Rupert Murdoch or Ariana Huffington of this burgeoning and controversial enterprise is a mysterious, dodgy figure, the pseudo-named “Paul Lister.” With the aura of a pirate radio operator from the 1960s, Lister takes pride in anonymity. The Facebook account associated with this name is fake. 

The page has a whopping 2,700 members. Lister, the page’s founder, once jokingly asked me for compensation to reveal his identity, which I was happy to accommodate. I promised a Captain’s Platter, beverage and a cream horn at Teresa’s Café in trade for the revelation. Lister believes I low-balled, but I’d hate to admit what I’d be willing to pay to have that meal teleported to my table in Austin. Different perspectives. Alas, efforts to have the Real Slim Shady please stand up were shot down. Lister remains a phantom mystery to us all, and seemingly to the good folks at Facebook. 

I hesitate to digress into what I believe are the controversial topics, wild-eyed conspiracy theories and unhinged proposals hurled toward city leadership that make up the patchwork of content within this Facebook community. Do I think the entire platform is just a bunch of kooks trolling one another all day? Not exactly. Wade through the noise and you’ll find that this forum serves as a convenient and sometimes fun gander into the local hubbub. There are intelligent, worthy opinions traded, and people feel heard. 

It’s critical that we each have the ability to exercise our right to respectfully express our opinions, openly disagree with one another, and illuminate the decisions and actions of city leaders. However, it is my perception that Lister cannot be held accountable for the content distributed, and therefore can operate with impunity. With the click of the mouse, this virtual town hall could disappear forever.

It is my opinion that Lister should either come out of the shadows, or shutter the community until it can be led by those who can be held accountable for the news and information they distribute. 

In the meantime, keep those fryers hot, Teresa.

Tim Lavin

Austin, Texas

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