Thursday, December 22, 2005

Reports from the fringe...

Hayduke's favorite candidate for county executive, Harry Dunbar, is at it again with a letter to the editor in this week's Flier. Aside from his usual harmless but utterly contemptible "charade charrette" gimmick, he threw in this possibly libelous statement:

Apparently, corporate entities including the Columbia Association and General Growth Properties Inc., along with a few elected politicians, met behind closed doors and outside the charade charrette process and agreed upon the number of units to be built in Town Center (5,000) and the number of stories (22) for the Plaza tower the developer would be allowed to build.
Because I'm not a lawyer, I won't delve into the question of whether this actually qualifies as libel, but it is certainly not true and it was meant to defame the reputation of several public figures (he single's out "Kenneth 'Main Street' Ulman" earlier in the letter). Frankly, I don't care about what he says.

What I'm concerned about is the fact that the Flier would run something that is patently untrue (this is not the first time they have done so, though I don't have the specifics of the other instances). I understand the letters page is the bastion of the readers and their opinions, however wrong. But this letter asserts a conspiracy as fact, something that is just silly; the Plaza building was proposed long before the charrette was even a glimmer in Ulman's eye, and certainly no one dictated the outcome of the charrette for nefarious purposes. Shouldn't the Flier exercise some control over what they print?

I know it's probably too much to ask to have them fact check every detail of every letter. However, this letter and these statements are clearly false, and the sole purpose of such misinformation was to disparage its targets.

Politics is politics is politics, I guess.

If Dunbar disagrees with the outcome of the charrette, why not have an honest discussion about it? If he really thinks he represents a broad spectrum of voters, where were all his supporters during the charrette when much of these details were worked out?

Oh, right, it was all a charade anyway.

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