The Springfield News-Leader responded to the extreme and lengthy "dressing down" Mayor Pro Tem Gary Deaver gave them at Monday night's Council meeting, in today's paper.
Deaver's rant came as a precursor to the unanimous* passage of a "put or pay" agreement between the City of Springfield and two large local trash companies.
One of the first statements to come from the mouth of the Mayor Pro Tem on Monday night, and one of the most troubling statements, in my opinion, was one the News-Leader failed to include in the segment they made available for readers to listen to at their online edition today. Neither did they address it in their editorial column:
"There's obviously been some criticism of this agreement, by the News-Leader, in particular.
You know, I was planning on coming back to speak at a Council meeting after I was off Council to discuss some of the coverage that I've felt that we've received on issues, not this, but other things in the past...."-Mayor Pro Tem Gary Deaver, March 23, 2009
What the heck is that about!!!??? Is Deaver saying he has been feeling the coverage of the City and the City Council the News-Leader (and possibly other media presences) has published or broadcast in the past was questionable or lacking, but rather than address those issues as they arose, he's been saving it all up for an address to a new Council AFTER his term is over???
I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be harsh, here, but I'm envisioning a bitter, past, City Councilman, second to the Mayor, no less, who simply refused to address errors(?) of the press and media, as they arose, during the term of his service. Instead, the Councilman seems to be saying he has been holding grudges and saving them up for such a time as he felt he could what? Speak more freely? As though he could not pick up the phone and call any News-Leader reporter (not to mention, Springfield Business Journal reporter, Community Free Press reporter, KY3, KOLR10, KSPR, or KSFX reporter) throughout all the years of his service on the City Council, to correct errors or right the record for all of the constituents who he has been "serving" these years, to whom he could have offered clarification of issues so that they might have a greater understanding of the City and the City Council, or the issues facing them?
What kind of "service" is that?
I'm sorry, if Gary Deaver feels he has no platform with the press in this City, as an acting City Council member, it's in his own mind, and is no fault of the press, News-Leader or any other variety.
I find it absolutely incredible that he has been saving up his grievances for when he was no longer sitting on the City Council. I just don't get it. Who told him or where did he ever get the idea that he could not speak to the press freely or tell his side of the story anytime he wanted?
I would have been thrilled, as the City Council beat writer for CFP for almost two years, to have received a phone call from Gary Deaver to correct the record or tell his side of the story on any issue he wanted to discuss. I would have sat with him for untold hours if he'd ever ONCE seemed to be interested in talking with me. In fact, the one, single time, I ever called him and left a message for him to call me back, he never did. Not in 12 hours, 24 hours or 6 months.
I'm STILL waiting for him to return that call.
Communication is a two-way street or, in this case, it's even more than a two-way street. A vital part of the story was missing while the Mayor Pro Tem was saving all his grievances for a time far removed from when his communication could have assisted the public's understanding of issues facing our City.
I do not understand the mentality of some that the press and City officials must be natural adversaries but, the sort of attitude Gary Deaver has gives great insight into why many members of the press and government officials are unnecessary adversaries.
To listen to Deaver's and other Council members' statements about the News-Leader's coverage of the issue in their entirety click this link, click "City Council," under "Previous Meetings" click "March 23, 2009, " then, click Council Bill 2009-044 under the drop-down bookmarks.
*Mayor Tom Carlson and Councilman Doug Burlison were absent.