When readers complained, the newspaper sent this response.
“The advertisement submitted to us is potentially libelous, which is what we told Dolcefino.”
First, the newspaper refused to tell us why they couldn’t run the ad, and when we asked what we could change to get it in the paper, they hung up on us.
The ad matches a political flyer Expose Green Group has placed in many Lockhart area stores. It is simply the answers to questions, records of the votes of public meetings, and details of phone records received under state law.
“The Lockhart Post Register has ignored this dump controversy, and cheated its readers,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, “They should disclose immediately just how much ad money they have received from the garbage dump folks, Green Group.”
Here are the facts.
When Dolcefino Consulting first sought public records from Caldwell County, the County Judge spent tens of thousands of dollars of your taxpayer money on legal bills fighting your public right to know. They could have saved all that money.
The Lockhart Post Register was silent. How could the local paper not report the waste of taxpayer money?
When we learned former Caldwell County Judge Tom Bonn had destroyed public records as he left office, the District Attorney took no action.
The Lockhart Post Register was again silent.
We learned that Hoppy Haden and Ken Schawe had been secretly communicating with Green Group while county taxpayers were spending tens of thousands of dollars fighting the company to stop the dump. We even have video of the meetings where Haden himself admits it on the record.
The Lockhart Post Register was silent.
When the public counsel for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality warned the dump should be denied because it was potentially dangerous, we sent the newspaper his comments.
The Lockhart Post Register should have sounded an alarm. It didn’t.
The newspaper knows the 130 Environmental Park has no current plans to include an industrial park. It may employ less than a dozen people. Sure, the dump will share money with local government, but maybe all that money should go to the people who will see their property values drop, or worse, must live with the fear of contamination, the smell, the mix of garbage trucks with school buses.
“We think voters should be reminded how politicians stand. Who has kept their campaign promises? Commissioner Joe Roland has fought against the dump from the start. Judge Ken Schawe has fought your right to know about the dump. Those facts matter,” says Dolcefino.
Hoppy Haden helped set up a citizens committee to meet with Green Group. The company never showed, issued some demands, and then Haden just dissolved the committee. That matters. Haden was part of a group that promoted the dump.
Haden, Schawe, Theriot and Moses all voted to stop the legal fight against the dump, even though the lawyer paid by the county thought it was a bad move. Those facts matter.
Caldwell County says they have had no communications for months with Green Group. The garbage guys are waiting for the election results too.
Caldwell County has a siting ordinance that prohibits a dump where Green Group wants to put one. Will the new County Judge protect the ordinance, or toss it in the trash? What about commissioners?
Fred Bucholtz is running for Precinct 2. He doesn’t think the siting ordinance prohibits the dump. Facts matter.
Based on their votes and their campaign promises, we know that only two candidates for County Judge have publicly promised to fight the dump. Alfredo Munoz and Anna Ybarra. Ybarra says she will emphatically fight to protect the siting ordinance.
That is why we are challenging the editor of the Lockhart Post Register to a debate.
“This is not just about an ad anymore,” says Dolcefino, “Now that the newspaper is claiming our voter guide was potentially libelous, we would love to find out which part.”
The Lockhart Chamber of Commerce recently fought to hide e-mails about the dump, even though they are more than happy to get a bunch of tax money every year. More than happy to make money off a dump that other people will have to live near.
The newspaper has been silent on that too.
“Maybe catering to the Chamber of Commerce is good for business, but it is an insult to every small-town newspaper reporter who knew their job was to ask tough questions, even when it made them unpopular with the political class,” says Dolcefino.
We will come to Lockhart. We will even bring the camera. You can have one too. Let’s videotape the debate and put it on your website and ours. Won’t cost you a penny.
Let’s educate the voters together.