Chuck McConnell: Reporting on my CORA request was not newsworthy
January 22, 2018
Warning to Steamboat Today readers: if you disagree with a Steamboat Today story or editorial, you could be subject to reprisal. If you have the boldness to ask Routt County for a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request, you could be subject to reprisal. This happened to me on Jan. 17 in a non-related front page story by Scott Franz.
Mr. Franz's story entitled, "Treasurer explains call to campaign strategists from office," was a Steamboat Today unfounded allegation of misconduct by the treasurer. As I read the story, I was shocked to see five full paragraphs dedicated to me. Mr. Franz did not contact me before writing extensively about me. His paragraphs were leaden with inference without the benefit of an interview.
The reference to me was about my CORA request to the county on Friday afternoon, Jan. 12. On Monday, Jan. 15, Mr. Roger Good, past president of the Steamboat Springs School Board, announced to a meeting we were both attending that he had some "bad news," i.e. that I had "made a CORA request to the county." I cannot imagine how or why Mr. Good was even aware of my submitting the request.
Making a CORA request to governmental entities is the right of every citizen. It is the way we find out what is happening with our government and elected officials. Roger Good is not an elected county official or employee.
I presented the request to County Manager Tom Sullivan and learned in Mr. Franz's story that the commissioners were aware of the request. I feel like county officials and the Today are shadowing (surveilling) me. This is not a good feeling.
I wrote a "letter to the editor" that was published in the Today on Dec. 22, 2017. That letter brought out a number of positive facts contrary to a Today editorial board editorial that was critical of the Treasurer's Department. I followed up later with an on-line blog that contradicted a new Franz story.
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I found out on Wednesday that writing facts contrary to the Today's opinions can bring five paragraphs about me full of statements absolutely unrelated to the main story.
I can't help but wonder why all this attention to the Treasury Department and now apparently me. I suppose this could be about personal dislike of the treasurer. If not, for the sake of transparency, please tell readers who is pushing these purposely damaging, unfounded stories?
The statement attributed to both Mark Twain and former Congressman Charles Brownson, "I never quarrel with a man who buys ink by the barrel" is alive and well today. So, readers be aware of what can happen to you if you buck the Steamboat Today's agenda.