Editor’s note: The following letter to the editor was sent to Josh Trust, publisher of the Rockford Register Star. As it also pertains to this newspaper, the letter is republished here as a guest column with permission of the author.
Dear Mr. Trust:
I am the marketing director of the West Side Business Association. We are a group of small business owners on the west side united for commerce, entrepreneurship and a pleasant shopping experience for those who do business on the west end of Rockford.
My husband and I also co-own Rockford Deliveries LLC, a delivery business that services greater Rockford (both east and west).
I want to let you know how disappointed we are at Brian Leaf’s recent article about how deplorable and miserable the west side of Rockford is to live and do business in. This is simply untrue, as well as offensive.
My husband and I live on the west side off Halsted Road in a very lovely home. We also draw 90 percent of our customer base for our business from the west side (though we service all of Rockford). We also attend one of the best churches I have ever been to — Faith Temple Church on School Street. The co-pastors there have been leading their flock for more than 30 years and are truly an institution on the west side.
Additionally, I have enjoyed fishing along the Rock River with my husband since moving to the west side, many of the parks here and have come to be much more in tune with downtown Rockford and the numerous mom-and-pop small businesses here. Most are a hardworking, delightful, dedicated group of people who care very deeply about their community and customers.
We invited Brian Leaf to come to our business meeting held last night. He declined, saying he had a “singing engagement.” We then spoke to your editor who said if he did not come himself, he would send another reporter to come. No one showed from the Rockford Register Star. However, the publisher of The Rock River Times was present.
It may also interest you to know that while drinking at a local bar three days before this abysmal article ran, Brian Leaf approached one of our board members and started asking him questions about Rockford, where he lived and his perceptions about the west end. The board member reports he had all positive things to say. None of it got into Leaf’s article.
I would appreciate the following actions taking place:
A follow-up article about the positive things being done and achieved on the west side with the same play and space devoted on the front page.
Your staff actually showing up to our meetings when they tell us they will be sending someone.
Less biased reporting.
And an understanding by your employees that a ZIP code does not define you.
Rockford Deliveries LLC
West Side Business Association Board member
From the March 27-April 2, 2013, issue