A FACTS MATTER EDITORIAL

in Addison Texas Council by

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

– Winston Churchill

Sometimes the truth hurts.  No one likes negative publicity, but generally bad publicity doesn’t happen unless something negative has happened.  And when the truth happens to be negative, it’s generally better to get it out in the open than bury it, hoping no one will ever find out.  Addison’s had enough of that in the past.

It’s clear there are those who are trying to blame Facts Matter for being negative about the wind turbine lawsuit.  The fact is, had Facts Matter not attended the Summary Judgment hearings, it is doubtful citizens would have heard anything about them.  Not until Facts Matter wrote about the first Summary Judgment hearing did any elected official even care enough to attend the hearings.  And you’d be hard pressed to find anything written about the hearings before or after in the Town newsletter.  As a matter of fact, not until a citizen pressed the Mayor at a Town Meeting did anyone even know that two previous settlement offers had been turned down.  If that in fact was true, those decisions agreed upon by the council were never brought to the light of day for a public vote as required by law.

One doesn’t like to think that their elected officials are making secret decisions behind closed doors, yet appearances speak louder than anyone’s slanted, opinionated conjecture as presented by one individual who professes to be all-knowing.

Perhaps there are those who really don’t care about this lawsuit or whether the town ever gets reimbursed for the tax dollars spent on a boondoggle project.  But there are others that do.

It’s certainly understandable that specifics must sometimes be withheld when legal matters are involved.  But this whole shroud of secrecy could easily have been avoided if in an effort to at least appear transparent, the latest decision to settle the lawsuit would have been handled more honestly with the public—the taxpayers whom those officials are elected to represent.

If after taking a vote to direct the City Manager to settle the lawsuit with the terms discussed in Executive Session, the Mayor would simply have stated that as soon as the details had been worked out the taxpayers would be advised, that could have avoided the entire controversy.  Yet instead, the entire situation was handled with a veil of secrecy from the very start.  So let’s be honest.  Facts Matter didn’t create the issue of secrecy.  This Mayor and council did.  Furthermore, nothing further was conveyed to citizens until after Facts Matter wrote about it.

When the handling of tax dollars reaches such a suspicious point that it attracts the attention of The Dallas Morning News, you can be assured that the council’s handling of the matter has been badly mishandled.

It’s reminiscent of those who were critical of the attention given to the fact that the Town had inadequate financial controls.  Of course that was embarrassing, but it never would have been an embarrassment if the sloppy system had never existed to begin with.  But it’s a lot easier to blame the honest person who brings to light the problems so they can be fixed than it is to blame the person who screwed it up to begin with.

Adequate record keeping, solid financial controls and transparency are all key to honest, productive government and to shame those who have the guts to stand up for anything less is anathema to those who expect and deserve transparent government.

Facts Matter has no intention of ignoring the truth or twisting the realities of history. The mission of Facts Matter from the beginning was to report reality—the good along with the bad—and in doing so to encourage an expectation of accountability. It still is.  And if for that Facts Matter is considered “negative,” so be it.

As for any additional wind turbine settlement details, we’re still waiting.