We are supposed to count on The Union to inform us what’s going on in our community, and the newspaper’s management would like us to believe it is a serious newspaper.
In the Terry Lamphier case, The Union wrote a news story and an editorial — yes, an editorial — before charges were even filed in the case. The newspaper obviously thought it was on a “hot trail” — uncharacteristic for a newspaper that typically waits for a press release handout.
As it turned out, the feds kicked the case back to our local jurisdiction, where it is now.
While hot on Lamphier’s trail, The Union filed an FOI request to gain access to the content on his computer — and made a big point about this.
But since then, The Union has been underreporting this case. More and more people in our community are suspecting the case was largely politically motivated — not an altruistic motive. It effectively cost Lamphier a voice in local government, including, at least in his words, opposition to big development.
More people in our community justifiably want to know who “anonymous” is. It’s a small-town version of the quest for “deep throat” in Watergate, which also helped our understanding of that case.
“The anonymous person has been positively identified (admitting to a sheriff investigator on record),” Lamphier wrote in a comment on this blog. “He has an unsuccessful history of attempting to bring me down as I have opposed his big developer friends and their projects.
“I would love to say more but have withdrawn from public view due to sensationalism associated with this situation. Too bad I never received this kind of coverage with all the good things I did in office.”
In the Supervisor’s race, Lamphier was outspoken in questioning the proposed Dorsey Drive shopping center. The project applicant has been politically active himself.
An FOI request to the Sheriff’s Office and the DAs office might turn up “anonymous” — and help us better understand whether this case was politically motivated or not.
In the past week, hard-right political activists such as Barry Pruett (who donated money to Lamphier’s opponent in the Supervisor race) and Don Bessee have come to The Union’s defense in this case, with some flawed logic. They are deflecting the real question: The Union is our newspaper of record in our community, and it is not following through to find “anonymous.”
I also wonder why they bothered to comment at all. What is their motive to speak out on The Union’s behalf?
The Union got the ball rolling with its reporting on the Lamphier case well before any charges were filed. Why won’t it follow through? It’s a reasonable and appropriate question. And so far, the silence is disturbing.