A little comeuppance

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

My wife accused me of getting a big head after publishing the ad the other day about how great this blog was.

I was concerned about it as well. I’m a shy person at heart, almost to the point of it being an emotional disorder, and it’s difficult for me to do stuff like that, but I was encouraged to do so by some folks to try to drive more traffic to this site and participation.

I prayed it wouldn’t be seen as bragging. The reason is because people who brag generally get their comeuppance.


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Mine arrived at the office this morning in the form of an unsigned letter (I seem to be on the receiving end of a lot of those of late). Since we don’t run letters in the paper unsigned, I’ll share it with you here n as far as I know, there are no rules for what goes on the Internet. And, like the ad said, “Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.” Maybe that was a mistake? (Also, please forgive any errors, I’m not the best typist in the world and I’m trying to get out of here this morning to go play golf)

“I did not want to comment on this through your call-in line until after the election, so there could be no question about any improper attempt to influence the results.

“You have constantly ignored the efforts of your reporters to assist people like Mayor Ralph. You even had one report in your paper indicating that “Mayor Ralph” was asking for a tax reduction, when the other paper on the same day reporter that it was “the council” that was asking for this. Also, your reporter apparently was generally thought to have inflamed the Confederate issue, which worked against Mayor Ralph. Finally, you had a poll that somewhat eerily reflected exactly how the result would with Mayor Ralph and Mr. Parr, and you even were so brazen as to comment your front page in order protect Mr. Ralph that it was “not likely” that this poll was accurate and even impeached your own poll in order to help Mr. Ralph. Finally, you wrote a glowing praise of Mr. Garcia and evidenced an amazing lack of understanding of “conflict of interest,” which I address these comments.

“Although your office did not understand it, Mr. Garcia is not the most financially successful at what he is doing in Suffolk even though he does appear to have much more financial help from the city council than any other developer has gotten in the past. More specifically, there are certainly more than a handful of people in Suffolk who own more real estate than Mr. Garcia does in the residential area, and there are probably a hundred or so businesses that own more than he does. Additionally, there are at least twenty or so home builders who have built more homes and certainly a better quality home, than any of the rehabbing Mr. Garcia has done in which you somewhat incorrectly refer to him as a “developer” instead of a home remodeler.

“The conflict you do not seem to understand relates to the Affordable Housing Committee. That committee is charged by the city with setting the future for providing housing that is affordable to most people, and this is primarily renters and primarily blacks. To all Mr. Garcia, although whom you openly have acknowledged to have displaced more people than anyone in the history of our community from their rental units, to serve on that committee and to know what its recommendations are and to even flaunt them creates a conflict of interest that is insurmountable, and only your paper would not see that.

“Additionally, the Housing Authority is charged with setting “reasonable” rents for Section 8 properties based upon the “reasonable” rents for non-Section 8 properties in the community, and it is also tasked with providing for and planning for future affordable housing, including but not limited to confidential negotiations with parties that should not be revealed to the open public at the first stages and certainly should never be revealed to someone whose business is to replace rental property users. Even though the paper acts like it does not understand this, this conflict has been so great in the past as to have called special council action involving former Mayor Barnett, former Housing Director Barrett, former Mayor Mizell and even former City Attorney Johnson, al who were at one point or another questioned by City council for whether or not they could even own any rental properties (much less the fifty or so you say that Mr. Garcia owns) while having anything to do with any policymaking or even appointing people to the Housing Authority Board.

The conflict of serving on the Board would be obviously one hundred times even greater.

“I am sorry that you have, especially in your effort to justify the Mayor (at least until after the election when you suddenly realized that you had intended to criticize him all along) as a result of in your failure to this and in your failure to serve our community.

Even though I have been involved with our government for many years here in Suffolk and do not think it is appropriate to reveal exactly who I am since that might cloud these issues, the issues are very real and Suffolk deserves a better newspaper that is designed to serve the public, or in the alternative, is designed to make it very clear that it is intending to take one side or the other in conflicts.

It is not fair to your readers to present yourselves as a neutral, community newspaper when some of the matters to which I have spoken here continue to exist without any real explanation by you other than attacking anyone who has criticized you or the conflicts.”

Wow, some letter.