Someone called me a couple of hours ago dunning me for payment for my morning paper subscription. Hey, it's in the mail. Or more precisely, it was in the electronic banking system, which for a payment to the Midland Reporter Telegram takes longer than it does for the other payees. But each year it raises the same question: Why am I paying so much money for this?
Well, there are times when the newspaper hits a homer. For example, on Sunday there was an editorial about the Energy Tower that the city council rammed down our throats. The editorial writer was actually questioning the process by which it came about. Not the result, mind you, just the process.
So if the newspaper is interested in an examination of the process, we can make a few suggestions for reporting.
First, this very same newspaper reported on September 17, 2013, this:
Three council members -- Mayor Wes Perry, at large Councilman Scott Dufford and District 1 Councilman Jeff Sparks -- abstained from voting because of conflicts of interest regarding the property.
Those "conflicts of interest" would be a pretty good starting place.
Second, the newspaper reported on December 29, 2013, this:
He [Mayor Wes Perry] then told the audience that the courthouse was going to be torn down.
The site was going to make way for Energy Tower at City Center, a 53-story skyscraper planned for construction in the heart of downtown.
Perry said at that point he didn’t know the impact his announcement would have. “I had no clue of the extent of the project at that time; the concept wasn’t final yet. But I knew afterward that we had to make an announcement.”
What did the mayor know and how did he know it? Were any other council members privy to this information? The destruction of the courthouse and the construction of a skyscraper is a pretty big deal, and citizens have wondered how it simply popped up out of the blue. How many secret meetings involving elected officials took place in which they discussed this thing? There's a law in Texas prohibiting those, you know.
So please, Midland Reporter Telegram. Prove to us you're worth $208 a year to subscribers. After all, we're the reason you can pull in the big bucks from the advertisers.