Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Gray News writes contrary to reality

May 19 edition, Ray Clark wrote:

Example #1: Dale told Foster that the procedure was handled in accordance with State law, and that "at this point, it's a done deal and there's simply no appeal".

Biasbust 1: Incorrect. Dale said that in cases where there is an egregious breach, you may appeal to court. Andy Upham noted that 'egregious' was subjective and therefore Dale's earlier statement that there was 'absolutely' no appeal was now qualified by Dale's admission that some rulings could be appealed. Dale agreed.

Example #2: And although Foster said that Dale had called the amendment "a "substantive" change, in actuality Dale said no such thing.

Biasbust 2: Incorrect. Dale said that the issue was so close to the line one could go either way. Some might consider it a minor change; others, a major change, Dale said.

23 Comments:

  • I don't really understand this issue, but I'm glad that the council is looking into it to make sure the system is working. I've had enough years of "trust me" it's too complicated for a regular citizen to understand.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:38 AM  

  • Thank you for your comment. I do not think it is a bad thing to inquire as to correct procedures. And that they do so openly is to their credit. They did the same with inquiring after incompatibility of office and also with committee productivity. Uncomfortable topics, but conducted openly for the people because it's the people's business.

    By Anonymous biasbuster, at 8:10 AM  

  • Thank you for your comment. I do not think it is a bad thing to inquire as to correct procedures. And that they do so openl

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:15 AM  

  • To Biasbuster, who ever you are:

    In response to your first example:

    Gary Foster had an e-mail from Bill Dale date Monday, May 08, 2006 5:56 PM which said in the second paragraph:

    "First, it sounds as though the procedure was handled in accordance with State law: initially the moderator "runs the show" and makes the precedural calls at the meeting unless and until challenged by seven (7) or more town meeting members. That's by State statue, 30-A MRSA sec. 2524(3). Then, once seven (7) town meeting members challenge his determination, the town meeting as a whole by a vote of the whole town meeting decides the issue. That vote of the town meeting is final; there is no appeal to court or otherwise .

    Bill Dale's e-mail ends with the text: "In any event, at this point, it's a done deal and there's simply no appeal."

    Your note about an "egregious" breach is ridiculous. Mr. Dale's comments about egregious breachs were:

    "I think the only exception to that, Andy, would be a truly egregious thing. If somebody didn’t let people vote on account of their race, color, creed, or gender or something like that. But anything that you are talking about – about substantive change – or anything like that – Town Meeting vote controls. End of story. Not appeal-able. End of story."

    No egregious breach occurred. You, Elizabeth Prata, Gary Foster, and Andy Upham may try to spin Mr. Dale's comments to your liking, but you will not succeed.

    Despite the comments of Anonymous 8:38 and Mr. Upham's repeated attempts to obfuscate, Mr. Dale's comments were not complicated or hard to follow. They were clear.

    The Town meeting attendees voted. The issue is decided.

    Move ON!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:28 AM  

  • Biasbuster:

    In response to your second example:
    Example #2: And although Foster said that Dale had called the amendment "a "substantive" change, in actuality Dale said no such thing.

    Biasbust 2: Incorrect. Dale said that the issue was so close to the line one could go either way. Some might consider it a minor change; others, a major change, Dale said."


    Gary Foster repeatedly said that the Town Attorney called the amendment a "substantive change".

    In the Council meeting on 5/09/06 Gary Foster said:
    "Bill suggested that the moderator in fact was out of order by accepting that substantive change."

    In the Council meeting on 5/19/06 Gary Foster said:
    "And Bill essentially suggested that this could be a substantive change."

    No where in Bill Dale's comments - either written or verbal - did he say the amendment was "substantive." Bill Dale's written comments were:
    As to the change from basement repairs to roof repairs, furniture acquisition and computer equipment, that's a gray area --nearly clearly a minor change nor clearly a substantive change you can argue both sides of that point.

    So, based upon what FACT did Gary Foster make the comment that the amendment was a substantive change?

    You, Foster, and Elizabeth Prata are BUSTED .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:46 AM  

  • "The Town meeting attendees voted. The issue is decided."

    Bill Dale said that there are parameters to that vote/decision. If the town meeting attendees determine that, say, all the town rules would be set aside, that would be challengeable. If they decided to raise the budget, something not allowed by state law, that would be challengeable. If they decided no women cold vote, it would be 'egregious' and challengeable. That the people at town meeting "decided" is not relevant. They decided something that might have been illegal, or challengeable. The Council decided to look into that.

    By Anonymous biasbuster, at 9:47 AM  

  • Biasbuster:

    The Council knew before the May 9 Town Council meeting that in the opinion of the Town Attorney, the procedure was handled in accordance with State law. The Council had (in writing) an opinion from the Town Attorney that the vote was a "done deal."

    In a sad attempt to get things their way, Council chose to bring Mr. Dale into a Council meeting to "clarify" their concerns. Mr. Dale stated clearly in the first 7 minutes of the meeting PRECISELY what he stated in the e-mail to Council on May 8. The read the exact passage from the Moderator's Manual that the Moderator read at Town Meeting.

    It was clear to everyone (with the exception of the Council and apparently you and Ms. Prata) that NOTHING illegal happened at the Town Meeting.

    Your defense of the council's decision to "look into this" is laughable. What next? How much more taxpayers money will this Council spend in a sorry attempt to prove they are right and the rest of the world is wrong?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 AM  

  • It is good that the council looked into what they deemed an impropriety and something possibley illegal. You wouldn't want them to 'let it go' just because, would you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:59 AM  

  • Anonymous 11:59.

    I expect that the Council, after receiving legal advice from the Town Attorney would NOT publicly accuse the Moderator of "illegal" acts.
    I expect that the Council would not bring the Town Attorney to a meeting in a sorry attempt to change the answer the attorney gave 1 week earlier.
    I expect the Town Council to stop wasting taxpayers money because they cannot accept that they were wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:41 AM  

  • I expect the council to make statements when things are wrong, like they did about the Gray News's bias reporting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 PM  

  • I have no problem with someone, including the Town Council stating his/her opinion in the proper forum. However, stating an opinion using the bully pulpit of a Council meeting and a Report from Council Chair is absurd.

    I have a large problem with the Town Council wasting tax payer's dollars on legal fees attempting to argue with the same attorney after receiving clear, legal advise.

    I guess that is just many of the places where we differ.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:45 PM  

  • I think that if the Gray News reported, for example, that the Council is abandoning town meeting, and the council is NOT abandoning town meeting, it is incumbent upon the Council to assure their constituents of the facts.

    By Anonymous biasbuster, at 7:49 PM  

  • Gray News should NEVER have made their false statement that Council was abandoning Town Meeting. Ray Clark knows this is NOT TRUE but, again, prefers to create a 'dark cloud' over this Council. He takes such pleasure in presenting his 'half-truths' and casting doubt on this Council, he is despicable! If it were not for Rays LIES, ASSUMPTIONS, AND FALSE ACCUSATIONS, things would run a lot more smoothly in Town Government!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:19 PM  

  • it does take time from town office and town council to have to spend time correcting Ray's falsities. It is one way he harms the town.

    By Anonymous biasbuster, at 1:20 PM  

  • Gary Foster & town council owe Donnie Carroll a formal apology!

    Fess up to the FACTS that this council has "personal" baggage that is clouding their decision making resourses

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:28 AM  

  • Under what circumstances may the council inquire into any perceived wrongdoing, inappropriate application of rules, or malfeasance?

    And can you give an example of what 'baggage' you see this council as having?

    if I was to say a council had baggage, it'd be Pam Wilkinson, still laboring uner her father's drastic poisoning of this town, causing a section of it to become a national Superfund site.

    Now, that's baggage.

    By Anonymous biasbuster, at 7:34 AM  

  • Well Said!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 AM  

  • Why do you live so far in the PAST

    We are talking about the "current" council not the Dingwell's ancient history lesson

    Why can't you focus on the problems at hand {current} instead of dredging up the past to fling more of your obnoxious mud?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 PM  

  • This post brought up some Ray Clark reporting from May 19. In my opinion, that is surely "current."

    Definition of 'mud': slanderous remarks or charges. The remarks here are simply illuminating those visitors who choose to come here as to the objectionable actions of a certain newspaper.

    Hardly earthshattering.

    By Anonymous biasbuster, at 5:53 PM  

  • Personally, I think the Council Chair, whoever it is at any particular time, should indeed take it upon himself to routinely clarify and correct false information printed in the local press. In my opinion, it was long overdue. The silence allowed lies and misinformation to take root and appear as 'truth'.
    Ignoring it for so long was a mistake. I hope this 'factual clarification' becomes a semi-regular part of Council meetings. But it is truly sad that it needs to be.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:14 PM  

  • I agree. The council has a responsibility to ensure that the citizens have the facts, and when they let the facts go uncorrected, the lie does take root. I agree that all papers shoud be held to the accountability scales. It can only help- both the paper that made the mistakes and the citizens who need to know the truth.

    Many Boards have a policy of ignoring most of it, which is also good, or they end up looking defensive or picky. But for the truly wrong facts, like the council getting rid of town meeting, etc, those should be corrected. Whatever the paper that made the error, too.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 6:21 PM  

  • I don't think the Council owes Donnie Carroll anything! He was part of the Recall; and before the Article 4 vote, he was conversing with Ray Clark...I wonder what that was all about?? {This is a fact, I saw it with my own eyes!} Maybe it had something to do with the Library People's Strategy meeting the night before Town Meeting???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:36 AM  

  • I do not think it is a crime, an indictment, or even a problem to converse with people prior to a meeting.

    The meeting a couple of nights before Town Meeting where the Trustees were to develop strategy was publicly noticed. That meant it was open to the public.

    I don't think one can read too much into people talking before or during or after town meeting. That's what people do.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 10:41 AM  

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