On Thursday the Daily Times published an article by Sarah Lake, “Black Friday Security in Jeopardy”. Ms. Lake writes that the city council received a memorandum of understanding (MOU) from Wal-Mart about providing police security on Black Friday. What Ms. Lake wrote was untrue. Worse, she was present at the meeting where this matter was discussed and knew it was untrue.
The meeting’s audio is available on the city’s website. Our discussion of the matter begins about 9 minutes into the recording. Any objective listener will understand that a majority of the council wanted to move forward with the matter. Unfortunately, contrary to Ms. Lake’s article, we never received a copy of the agreement between the city and Wal-Mart. At the time of the meeting, it hadn’t been reviewed by the City Attorney. When we asked if the agreement was the same as a contract already in place with the Centre at Salisbury, the administration’s response was that they thought so, but weren’t sure. It would have been irresponsible for the council to agree to a contract that we had not seen and that had not been approved by City Attorney.
Ms. Lake also included comments from Mayor Jim Ireton that the agreement would have gone through except that it was signed by Muir Boda. Mr. Boda has twice run for the Salisbury council. Again, Ms. Lake was present at the meeting. The only question that was raised was whether the local people at Wal-Mart could legally sign the document. This question was asked because in our agreement with mall, the city had to get a signature from the owner’s corporate headquarters. Again, Ms. Lake included something that she knew was false.
Anyone listening to the recording would also note that we discussed adopting a standard contract at a later date. This would allow the administration to enter into future contracts without having to get council approval.
Perhaps this could be chalked up to bad reporting on the part of Ms. Lake. Unfortunately, it goes deeper. On Tuesday, Ms. Lake participated in a “strategy session” with Mayor Ireton, Laura Mitchell, Shanie Shields, and others to discuss Ms. Mitchell’s petition drive to overturn our recent charter change.
Ms. Lake may deny this, but she foolishly sent me a copy of her notes of the meeting for me to comment on. Why would the Mayor and his political allies invite a reporter to a strategy session? To be the beneficiaries of a nice, flattering, front page article. What happened on Thursday? They were the recipients of a nice, flattering, front page article.
Unfortunately, there is not enough space available to refute the false and /or hypocritical charges leveled by Ireton, Mitchell, Louise Smith or Barrie Tilghman. Of course that’s what happens when a newspaper permits itself to be used as a propaganda tool rather than a deliverer of news. A previous op-ed by councilwoman Terry Cohen persuasively refutes their initial attacks on the charter change. Now they level a new set of charges / arguments because the first obviously did not ring true with voters.
It is my sincere hope that the publishers of the Daily Times have the honesty to retract both stories and apologize. Allowing a reporter to knowingly print falsehoods and collude with one political group against another violates every tenet of journalistic ethics. A newspaper should be an important part of the community. However if we cannot trust its coverage of something as basic as a council work session, what can we believe?
Publisher's Notes: With all due respect, I have personally asked the Mayor why he has refused allowing me to have access to any press releases and or invitations to events or press conferences. His reply to me was as follows. "You play nice with me, I'll play nice with you". Unless you are doing so you will have NO ACCESS. He went on to tell me that he cannot, in good conscience, work with me because I am a racist towards Obama. I tried to express that my Posts on Obama are from the Main Stream media. His reply, he doesn't care. The Mayor stated if I ever publish this he'll deny it.
You see Folks, IF we do NOT play nice with Mayor Ireton or even Mike Lewis, if we do NOT agree with them on any issue, we're cut off. All the more reason to follow Salisbury News. We do NOT lie. The last Mayor Tilghman pulled this kind of crap and even went so far as to sue me, she lost. She lost because I never once lied. I'll never forget just one part of her lawsuit. She stood before the Judge and they claimed I had published an article about her kids being raised in a Boarding School. The Judge asked me if this was true, I agreed. He then asked Mrs. Tilghman, were your kids raised in Boarding School. Her reply, yes. She then immediately went on to say, but he was suggesting I was a bad parent. The Judge replied, no he didn't, he simply stated the facts.
There's are certain select group of people who only want one side of a story being told. Clearly the Daily Times "PLAYS NICE" but YOU are only seeing what they, (and other special interests) want you to see. The Daily Times has pulled this on line article from today's paper. We have NOT changed a single word Mrs. Campbell produced. I'm not even sure if they published the above letter word for word. Salisbury News ALWAYS publishes 100% of any press release, unlike the Daily Times. So how we can be told that we're now racists or nasty bloggers is beyond me.
As our readers know, we do not tolerate gay bashing or racism of any form. On the rare occasions when an inappropriate comment slips through, as soon as we recognize it we pull it immediately.
Nevertheless, now you know what you're getting from the Daily Times referencing Laura Mitchell and Jim Ireton. Play Nice News.
I want it to be known that I requested an exact copy of this letter from Councilwoman Debbie Campbell provided to the Daily Times this morning.