Monday, April 11, 2016

Journal opinion writer on the wrong side of history

journal photo
Journal opinions are expressed
by opinion writer, Sharon Hendrix.

I intend to take issue with the one
she expressed Saturday last, link.

Before I begin, by way of disclosure, Hendrix seems to have an issue with me personally.  I don't know why, except that I often write about the Journal's complicity in the cover up of the ethics, standards and accountability crisis in the leadership of the APS, and perhaps she takes that criticism personally.

She writes at every opportunity;
"MacQuigg ... was accused of being disruptive and threatening, allegedly taking hundreds of photos of APS employees in attendance, speaking out of turn and looming behind the then-superintendent while videotaping ..." or words to that effect.

The statement is of course, absolutely true.

Nevertheless, it is misleading.  Hendrix and the Journal repeat them to create impressions and beliefs that are misleading.  Readers who don't know the truth gain an impression every time the Journal repeats the allegations, that because the Journal keeps spreading them, there must be something to them; that I actually did these these things and somehow got away with doing them.

Hendrix and the Journal steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that with all the resources that APS had available to them, they could not produce a single shred of hard evidence to support even one of their allegations that I did anything ever, that justified banning me from school board public fora for life.

Nor will Hendrix and the Journal admit that they keep repeating the allegations in the interests of Marty Esquivel.

Hendrix is consistent in her lack of candor, forthrightness and honesty in her failure once again, to point out that the villain in the piece; the guy who cost taxpayers more than a million dollars in a cost-is-no-object legal defense of his ego.

She is consistent in her refusal to disclose her and the Journal's personal and professional connections to Esquivel and the appearances of conflicted interests in both Journal coverage and opinions regarding Esquivel's well documented violations of my (and Bralley's) civil rights.

Now, on to the editorial she wrote.

Hendrix and the Journal picked a side in the struggle between the "protesters" and city councilors.  They think it's the protestors who are pushing the limits on free speech.

They see nothing wrong with council rules that limit poster size to something they can't see from where they sit.  Nothing to do with protecting the rights of all participants to see, nothing to do with disruption; simply, your "poster" has to be to small for us to see.

I am reminded of a public forum where candidates for the APS superintendency were answering questions.  It was their practice to not entertain any questions about the obligations of the senior most administrative role model of the standards of conduct s/he would enforce upon students.

So, I constructed a poster, wondering if any one of them could summon the character and courage to talk about role modeling.  I stood quietly against the wall, creating no real disruption whatever.

I was asked if I would mind standing somewhere else, somewhere where the candidates could not see the poster or read my question.

Alternatively I suppose, I could have used a poster too small for them to see.

I declined.

That the people who run public meetings have an obligation to maintain order in meetings really doesn't require reiteration.

Unfortunately, the power they are given to maintain order in meetings can be abused to include disallowing simple dissent.

The city council meeting in this case was disrupted, but by whom?

Was it disrupted by a dissident refusing to obey an unnecessarily restrictive rule, or by a city councilor's efforts to enforce an unnecessarily restrictive rule?

Hendrix and the Journal see only the abuse that the councilors (sometimes) see and paint all protestors with the same brush,  The editors are unwilling or unable to see the abuse that the little people see when they step up to the podium during a public forum to speak truth to power.   Clearly they identify with the powerful and not the powerless.

The Constitutionally protected human right to petition one's government is at stake, and Hendrix and the Journal are on the wrong side of the fight.

photos Mark Bralley

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