Originally Published 5/17/2018
Biased, according to the dictionary, means a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned. It means showing favoritism. We have been accused of being biased in our coverage of our current county commissioner Rob Williamson.
This very page is called the Editorial page for a reason. While as journalists, we cannot editorialize (make comments or insert opinion rather than just report the facts) in our stories we can express our opinion and editorialize on the Editorial page. That is where opinions belong. When we express our opinion, we do it based upon fact. Trust me, even we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried. The truth is often stranger than fiction. There is ONE page of the newspaper containing opinions and you are reading that page right now.
Last week we published the public records of our current commissioner. We did this for a number of reasons. Public records (facts) were the only place we could go to find out about the qualifications or lack thereof of our current commissioner. We have repeatedly asked for his resume for four years and he has consistently not responded to our requests. Communication cures a lot of ails. We would really like to know his work history other than landscaper. What we found was he was or is a landscaper who has been in and out of foreclosure, while on a small income was able to secure nearly a million in debt then he filed bankruptcy. Those are indisputable facts. There was a time when his employees had to file a law suit to get paid. That is a fact.
We requested any and all incident reports involving both candidates. Dave Piech had one – someone fraudulently opened a credit card in his name, his bank caught it and the police were called to file a report. Period. End of story. There were a few incident reports in Williamson’s name though we declined to include them because they were trivial at best…someone allegedly vandalized his equipment. The interesting one – which we didn’t publish – was one in which a citizen of the community posted Williamson’s bankruptcy and other financial findings on Facebook. This was after the individual called Williamson to see if he was being honest about his financial situation. Williamson called the police because he said he did not believe this was good for his reputation and stated he was in fear for his family’s safety. And due to there being no crime committed the report was filed as informational. Again, more facts straight from a police report.
The truth is. It just is. Just because the truth is disturbing doesn’t mean it is biased. We would write the same of Piech if there were consequential items to write about. The facts are the facts. Our opinion based on those facts is that Rob Williamson should not be our county commissioner. He has shown he is not fiscally responsible. He is not a good citizen – and he only looks out only for himself as he tries to salvage an inkling of a reason of why he was elected in the first place. He certainly does not have Navarre or Santa Rosa County’s best interests at heart. He is the reason why newspapers exist and why everyone should be reading their local newspaper. We reported the same before he was elected the first time, but not as strongly. We have had to live three entire years of his self-aggrandizing antics and divisive anti-leadership (the opposite of leadership.) We don’t relish in this. It is our job to write the facts and facts are not biased.