Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stillwater: No Answer From Thole

Well--more than a week has gone by, and still no answer from School Board Chair George Thole to the question I asked him about School Board Member Choc Junker.

Here is the question I sent to both of his public email addresses:

Dear Mr. Thole:

It's Bill Prendergast--I've got a question for you about Choc Junker. I just got off the phone with Micki Adams and she told me she already forwarded a copy of the question to you, but I'm sending you copies of the same question to both your email addresses in the hope that you can give me an answer prior to the election. (I've already sent this question to the Gazette and the Courier as letters to the editor.)
Here goes:
Mr. Thole--I ask you the following question so that I and other concerned citizens can decide what credence they should give to retirement rumors that have been circulating about the School Board recently. On a scale of one to ten, with “ten” representing “fully functional” and “one” representing “severely impaired,” how would you rate the current mental capabilities—including the ability to concentrate on and understand issues before the School Board—of current School Board member “Choc” Junker?

Please be sure to answer the question with a number—1 to 10. If you fail to do so, I must take it that you are evading the question and would rather not answer it.

I hope you will reply to this email address (here I gave him my email address) at your earliest convenience. I will receive your reply as soon aes you send it, since I can check my email on the web while I am travelling.

Good luck to you in the upcoming election, and may the best candidates win.
Sincerely,
William Prendergast
Written in San Francisco, Friday, November 04, 2005 3:14 pm Pacific Time.


Note the date on the above. It's been more than a week since I sent it to Mr. Thole, and no answer.

UH-OH!

I also sent copies of that question to Thole publicly, in the form of letters to our two local newspapers, the Gazette and the Courier. They wouldn't print the question as letters to the editor.

UH-OH!

I spoke to the editor of the Gazette and she made a good case for not printing the question prior to the election. She explained that Thole, as candidate, wouldn't have time to print a reply before the election date, so if the Gazette ran my letter it would come off as a sort of "ambush." I think that's a pretty good rationale for not printing the question just prior to the election.

But now the election is over, and Thole knows that the only possible way to make this question go away is to answer it for the record with at least one word: "Ten."

So far he hasn't. Nothing, not even a "no comment." No answer at all, publicly or privately. It's not as though Thole and I are strangers. We've met and spoken to each other, and he's taken regular notice of me in his column. Why the "news blackout" on this particular subject?

UH-OH!

I think I'd better send another copy of the question around again. Here is what I will send around today, via email:

November 15, 2005

Dear Mr. Thole:

I ask you the following question so that I and other concerned citizens can decide what credence they should give to retirement rumors that have been circulating about the School Board recently. On a scale of one to ten, with “ten” representing “fully functional” and “one” representing “severely impaired,” how would you rate the current mental capabilities—including the ability to concentrate on and understand issues before the School Board—of current School Board member “Choc” Junker?

Please be sure to answer the question with a number— 1 to 10. If you fail to do so, I must take it that you are evading the question and would rather not answer it.

Sincerely,

Bill Prendergast

13 Comments:

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Swiftee said...

Are you attempting to be witty, or are you really simple-minded enough to believe that anyone would give your concerns a millisecond of serious contemplation?

For the love of God, just a couple of days ago, right here you posted a sample of the type of rude, childish pratteling anyone foolish enough to do so can expect.

Really Bill, get a grip man.

 
At 2:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Swiftee is going to start up his own "Bill's The Greatest" blog.

 
At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad! Thole doesn't care if Junker isn't up to the challenge of the board as long as he votes the way George wants him to. Junker is being used and doesn't even know it.

 
At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, You're messing with the Junker mafia, watch out what you say about Choc. I can give you the inside info but not over a blog.

SI

 
At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We cancelled the Gazette because you're not in it anymore Bill. Yet the paper keeps coming to our door. I know this has nothing to do with Junker, but is it to maintain face on circulation numbers with advertisers? Just curious if we will be getting it indefinitely - and by the way, how many protest letters DID the gazette receive?Anyone know how to quantify the showing of pro vs. con?

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

I don't know why the paper keeps coming to your door, anon. The Gazette has had severe circulation and delivery problems over the past year or so--nothing to do with the newsroom, but for one reason or another they have had chronic trouble getting the delivery thing right--which has led to a drop-off in circulation, of course. An interesting thing about newspaper circulation--did you know that in the "new" business model of newspapers, big circulation is considered to be a pain in the ass? Strange but true. In many cases, it costs more to deliver the paper than the paper is worth--circulation is an expense, an outlay of cash by the paper. Advertising, on the other hand, is revenue. So, under the current model of newspapers, a publisher/owner doesn't care if circulation declines, so long as revenue from advertising doesn't--in fact, a paper is more profitable that way. It is also true that under the current business model, an owner tries to reduce the costs of putting out a paper as much as possible to maximize profit--reducing salaries, expenditures on equipment, investing little or nothing in the paper so long as advertising revenues remain steady.
Doing this year after year, an owner can keep realizing a profit from a chain of established small papers--but the quality of the papers will inevitably decline, and so will its circulation--thus reducing a major expense, and increasing profit to the owner still more. It is a paradox, eh? I would send an email and let them know you're still receiving the paper in spite of cancelling and let them know that you will not pay for any papers after the date of cancellation. If they want to keep sending you the paper for free--whatever.

 
At 6:20 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

I forgot to answer your second question, anon. "How many letters, pro or con, did the Gaz receive re: the firing?" I couldn't tell you; no way for me to know. I do know that not all letters to the editor are printed. An editor normally reserves the right to decide which letters are printed, especially if there are a number of letters on the same topic sent in at the same time. By the way, I just sent in another letter to the editor myself, thanking all who wrote in on the "firing" thing. I don't even know if that will be printed.

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

Would the person who sent the following please give me a call at home--my number's in the book.

"Bill, You're messing with the Junker mafia, watch out what you say about Choc. I can give you the inside info but not over a blog.

SI"

 
At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Junker relies on a certain, elderly Stillwater lawyer when things don't go his way. About five years ago, a reporter at the Gazette reported on testimony the city's attorney gave in court regarding a land-use dispute that involved a private resident.

In the article, the reporter quoted the attorney as questioning Junker's mental ability (Junker had given testimony that supported the resident).

Instead of suing the attorney, Junker sued the paper for reporting the attorney's statements. Also, the reporter dealt with a fair amount of harassment from the lawyer at her home (waiting in bushes to deliver subpoena, among other things).

This might regard the "mafia" to which "Anonymous" refers.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

I getcha. They're the types that sue, eh?
I wonder how the Gazette finally shook off the lawsuit. Did they have to retract, did they send a letter of apology, did everybody just agree to drop whatever they were going to do, whatever? I don't understand the theory of the suit--Junker's a public figure in local politics, right? Wouldn't they have to prove that the Gazette had 'malice' in reporting the city attorney's remarks, and wouldn't they have to show that the remarks were false or unfounded? I don't get it--but thanks for acquainting me with the facts as you know them.

 
At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The suit went nowhere, as it was completely baseless. But I hear it was a huge annoyance for the staff.

I don't believe the suit was made public. There was talk about town, however.

 
At 12:03 AM, Blogger Prendergast said...

It's amazing how far you can get in this town simply by threatening the local paper.

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like rough fish, Swiftee seems to turn up bottom-feeding just about anywhere, until he gets banished from the blogs. I don't know why he doesn't use the photo of himself on www.dumpbachmann.com. Scroll about two-thirds down the page--he's the fellow showing you his IQ, between Michele Bachmann and fellow right-wingnut Mitch Berg.

 

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