Saturday, January 31, 2004
Yes, Bureaucracy is frustrating.
So are newspaper articles published with little regard to the facts.
Paula Cooper Black said on Jan. 28, "The newspaper's editorial page is geared not only to inform, but to shape public opinion."
Is this the understatement of the century?
Much has been published about my politics, motives and moral character lately. I'd say Paula Cooper Black was correct -- public opinion has indeed been shaped to portray me as a troublemaker bringing bad karma upon myself by filing a frivolous lawsuit against the city.
Black goes on to say "I realize how deeply these editorial decisions are researched and how thoroughly they are discussed prior to printing."
Folks, I think the newspaper has the power to distort facts and alter public opinion to benefit those in the community with long-standing ties and deep pockets.
Despite the research that was done to ensure only facts were reported, there were many misstatements of facts in a Jan. 15 article and a Jan. 21 editorial about me. I don't have enough room in this article to counter all the inaccuracies reported to date. I do want to address the most important ones below.
My original liquor license application was submitted about Aug. 6, 2003, with my fingerprints being provided for background checks as part of the application process. On the application, there was a question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Being a character with a colorful past, I answered, "yes."
During the months leading to Nov. 18, the office of City Clerk made many requests for further information. Among them was a request for further detail regarding the prior convictions question. When I went into the clerk's office on or about Nov. 1 to provide this information, the office had received the details of the background check. At this meeting, I reviewed all the items listed and commented that the items were pretty insignificant. The clerk told me that if I thought they were insignificant, then I should cross out "yes" and put "no." So, I chose to change my answer from yes to no. It would not have occurred to me to do so otherwise.
I received a letter from city dated Nov. 10 stating that the background checks were complete from the Steamboat Springs Police Department.
On Nov. 18, the City Council agenda item No. 17 for the "Jazbote" liquor license included, "staff supports City Council approval of a new Tavern License" Further, "final CBI/ FBI and police department clearance has been received." Further still, "There is no evidence indicating that the applicant, its officers, or directors or shareholders are not of good moral character; therefore, it is concluded that they are of good moral character."
The liquor license was not approved by City Council on Nov. 18 because of unrelated issues.
The delays continued until Dec. 16 when the City Council held an executive session and then denied the Jazbote liquor license without allowing me representation or due process guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The "embroiled" municipal case involves boulders, which already were on the site. Furthermore, I entered into an agreement in good faith with the city on these issues and took corrective actions per the agreement at my personal expense. This agreement held for about six months until, a week before the election, the city dragged me back to court because it refused to be held accountable for a mistake in placing the city sewer line 35 years ago.