Carl McWilliams responds to PI article

October 23, 2012

Garfield County

FTS: Silt Mesa resident Carl McWilliams provided the documents and research for my blog post:  Hell of a deal (10/19).
In this guest post, he responds to the article in today’s (10/23):  Garfield County’s downtown Glenwood land deal scrutinized

By Carl L. Mc Williams

I hold a BA in Sociology from The University of California (UCR, 1975). As a formally trained social scientist, I fully understand how a survey’s questions can be front-loaded to manipulate the participant into responding as the designer of the survey desires. The quantitative numbers (results) of the survey becomes “weighted” and in reality has no scientific value to make informed decisions (aka GI-GO — Garbage In & Garbage Out).

In political science the same phenomenon applies: A news reporting entity such as the Post Independent can manipulate the reporting of events so that the reader of the newspaper is misled in another direction and away from truth. The first to master the manipulation of the truth through the modern media was Paul Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda in Germany, circa 1933-1945. As an undergraduate at the University of California, I studied Goebbels and his manipulation of truth through the media of the printed press, radio and the newsreel. It is frightening how easily a populace can be manipulated. Have you ever heard the expression: But the trains ran on time?

A perusal of today’s (10/23/12) Post Independent article by John Stroud on the Garfield County $2.5 million purchase of the Worrell & Durrett property is a perfect example of the media manipulating the truth to lead the reader in a direction that is desired by the newspaper writing the story. The basic vagueness and absence of detail in Stroud’s reporting is the first indication.

Furthermore, irrefutable proof the Post Independent is intentionally misleading their readers in this election season is seen in the same article where Stroud justifies Martin, Samson & Jankovsky over paying for real estate by citing two examples:
(1) The City of Glenwood Springs and Colorado Mountain College joint purchase of the 802 Grand Ave. building and adjoining parking lot in early 2011.
(2) The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s purchase earlier this year of the former Honda dealership site on Highway 82 in south Glenwood for the new Bus Rapid Transit station.

The complete difference between these purchases and the $2.5 million Garfield County purchase of the Worrell & Durrett property is quite glaring and proves the Post Independent is manipulating truth on the behalf of the incumbent County Commissioners.

First, both purchases had an immediate end use by the purchasing government entity for a public purpose. The Glenwood Springs/CMC acquisition was to immediately begin construction of a new public library and CMC office building. The RFTA purchase was to immediately start construction on a new bus stop. Quite a difference from speculating with tax-payer cash in commercial real estate without a specific end use for a public purpose, as the $2.5 million Worrell & Durrett property acquisition clearly is.

Second, the $2.5 million Worrell & Durrett property acquisition is for 240% (two hundred forty percent) of appraised value. While the Post Independent asserts that RFTA paid more that appraised value, the article does not say how much more, a very serious ethics in journalism failure and clearly not acceptable for reporting facts regarding public money. Furthermore, a close examination of the Glenwood Springs and CMC purchase shows the purchase price was the average between the “appraised value” of $4.25 million and the “assessed value” of $6.6 million, or $5.4 million, which proves that the City of Glenwood Springs and Colorado Mountain College did not overpay for real estate and squander one dime of tax-payer money. Obviously, there is a complete dissimilarity between these real estate acquisitions and the 240% of appraised value by the Garfield County purchase of the $2.5 million Worrell & Durrett property.

Quite frankly, I find this manipulation of truth by the Post Independent to be repugnant to the immunities and rights given to the Post Independent by the First Amendment.  Furthermore, if I were an official of either Glenwood Springs, Colorado Mountain College, or Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, I would find the Post Independent reporting offensive and demand an immediate retraction and a public apology from Editor Heather Mc Gregor, Publisher Stephanie Schafer and reporter John Stroud.

Downtown Revitalization Projects

In California, I was actively involved in numerous Redevelopment Agency projects for downtown revitalization. From what I can observe of the three Garfield County Commissioners, these guys are clueless and Garfield County is a ship without a rudder.  Furthermore, the Post Independent is enabling this absolute incompetence by Samson, Martin, and Jankovsky to continue.

In reality, the three Garfield County Commissioners, with the full support of County Manager Andrew Gorgey, signed off on a $2.5 million real estate transaction without any simulation of a plan. In California, a Memorandum of Understanding between the downtown Redevelopment Agency (Glenwood Springs DDA) and the County would be the first step. The Memorandum of Understanding would be based upon a Redevelopment Plan that has been through numerous public meetings and allowed to be discussed within the community and the county citizenry at large. If the Worrell & Durrett property was to be included as part of the Redevelopment Project Area, then the proper procedure would be to first “option” the subject property at the proposed $2.5 million purchase price and then publicly discuss the purchase of the Worrell & Durrett property vs. the appraised value. Not to foolishly speculate $2.5 million (which = 240% of appraised value) of tax-payer cash on a “maybe”. It’s the proverbial “cart-before-the-horse” syndrome and the vagueness of the Post Independent article completely disregards this incompetence by the three County Commissioners.

Evidently Samson, Martin, Jankovsky and Gorgey believe the Garfield County treasury is so flush that using tax-payer cash to invest in commercial real estate is proper stewardship of the public’s cash.  If the county treasury is that flush, then I suggest the best use of that $2.5 million would have been to first establish a Garfield County Capital Improvement Trust Fund and through the Trust Fund use the moneys to retire school bonds for public schools RE-1, RE-2 & RE-16.

The article avoided the fact that proper governance demands that public moneys may never be used for real estate speculation. So the question becomes:  Why are Editor Heather Mc Gregor, Publisher Stephanie Schafer, and reporter John Stroud using the Post Independent to manipulate the truth and why are they carrying water for incumbents Martin, Samson and Jankovsky?

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One Comment on “Carl McWilliams responds to PI article”

  1. Dylan Lewis Says:

    So, I highly doubt Heather and her socialist army are doing anything to cover for the BOCC. They are just incompetent. No more, no less.

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