The Whidbey News Times and Keven Graves releases another ill-informed editiorial with another direct attack on one of our local politicians.

Author:Cliff Howard

In the online edition of the News Times Keven Graves again stepped up to bat with another ill-informed editorial in “his” newspaper. His comments in this editorial shows just how low our local newspaper editor will go to attack those who they know so little about and have never spoken to.
In this editorial he states:

“At 7 a.m. Sunday, those chain saws were firing up at the exact moment someone with Mayor Scott Dudley’s administration was pressing the “send” button for a press release to the Whidbey News-Times.
That in itself is an alarmingly calculated effort to subvert public notification and keep the public in the dark.
To his credit, Dudley owns the decision to keep the tree-cutting a secret. However, his stated rationale for keeping the plan secret is as rotten as Dudley claims the old oak was.
Dudley claims his intent was to lessen the city’s exposure to a potential lawsuit if the tree would have caused injury or damage. If that’s the kind of flimsy excuse for keeping the city’s activities secret, then Oak Harbor’s citizens have a lot more to be worried about than just this oak tree.”

A “alarmingly calculated effort to subvert public notification”? Obviously Keven Graves knows very little about executive sessions and how they work. The information discussed in an executive session cannot be discussed or given to the public if the information being discussed is about a potential liability the city may be facing. RCW 42.30.110 (i) Concerning Executive sessions states the following:

(1) Nothing contained in this chapter may be construed to prevent a governing body from holding an executive session during a regular or special meeting:
(i) To discuss with legal counsel representing the agency matters relating to agency enforcement actions, or to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation to which the agency, the governing body, or a member acting in an official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party, when public knowledge regarding the discussion is likely to result in an adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency.

The city of Oak Harbor more than likely went into executive session to discuss with the cities attorneys the potential liability and potential litigation surrounding the tree which has been determined to be a hazardous tree, this is a correct action and allowable under RCW 42.30.110 especially if there is a chance of damage and litigation. The Mayor has already stated that the decision to remove the tree was his so we have to assume that no decision was made by the council in this executive session. If Oak Harbor had not taken action on this issue the city could be liable for any damage that the tree causes. If this would have resulted in the death of a person, which a 200 lb. limb could very easily do, Keven Graves would be singing a different tune but still blaming the Mayor but this time for not taking action. A permit was applied for and the permit was approved. All of this is a public process and public information Mr. Graves. Nothing was done in secret.

Keven Graves then states:

“One thing is becoming crystal clear — Dudley has little to no regard for public opinion, nor the spirit of open government.”

And how would Keven Graves know? He has never spoken to the Mayor, Ever. How would he begin to know anything about the Mayor? He has never even talked to him.
If he had maybe he would know the efforts the Mayor has made in the attempts to have a more open government, a new Ombudsman position in the city, he created his own blog on the cities website and encouraged videotaping of the Council workshops. This Mayor has done more for open government than the last 3 Mayors have done.

And Keven Graves final ill-informed comment was:

“This isn’t the kind of leadership Oak Harbor deserves.”

I don’t think you have much room to speak of leadership Mr. Graves. Real leaders lead by example.  If this is the example you are giving your reporters it may explain why many people treat your newspaper as they do.

 

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  1. avatar

    The tree was flat out dangerous. Losing branches of several hundred pound weight that fell without warning from the tree isn’t reasonable.

    Taking the tree down on the one day of the week that the Post Office is closed is prudent, and safe.

    Sure, the old tree was both historical and cool. But to take all the big branches off would have been a hideous thing to do to the tree too.

    The duty of public safety comes first.

    This wasn’t something that should have been disclosed ahead of time either. It just was a good decision.

    It’s time for the people of Oak Harbor and surrounding communities to stand up in agreement on this one.

    Reply

  2. avatar

    Don’t know if Liberal Gravy reads this but, just in case, here goes. What difference would it have made if a public notice had been posted twenty or thirty days ahead of the removal? The useful idiots could have had a hug fest, did some damage, rioted? Yes, and then Liberal Gravy,could have written more extraneous slop. Fact: The tree has to come down. Perhaps the city could chip it up and sell chips so every one could have a piece of the tree to kiss daily.

    Reply

    1. avatar

      I think Kevin R. Graves should introduce himself to mayor Dudley and arrange weekly meetings to get and keep things straight. Then report on them, fair and balanced. What say you, Kevin?

      Reply

  3. avatar

    Gravy, other editors, reporters and writers are not interested in getting and keeping “their” stories straight. That is not their purpose. The purpose is to generate reader interest, emotion, and passion, facts are at the bottom of their priorities. Agreeing to be interviewed should require contemplation, but most people tune right into the attention aspect. Presenting a reporter with a news release maintains control of the facts and what was intended.

    Reply

    1. avatar

      Kevin Graves really should be ashamed of himself. He has written an absolute “classic” yellow-journalist hit piece…

      …with such wonderful yellow-journalistic quotations and sentences as:

      “At 7 a.m. Sunday, those chain saws were firing up at the exact moment someone with Mayor Scott Dudley’s administration was pressing the “send” button for a press release to the Whidbey News-Times.
      That in itself is an alarmingly calculated effort to subvert public notification and keep the public in the dark.”

      AND

      “One thing is becoming crystal clear — Dudley has little to no regard for public opinion, nor the spirit of open government.”

      Sickening… This is an age-old technique of yellow journalists (so called because such attacks are the epitome of cowardice) but perhaps the manner of such a technique can be best illustrate (and seen through) with a more generic [fill-in-the-blank] example:

      Several persons of note (who desired to remain anonymous for security reasons) that the Mr/Ms [insert name here] in fact MAY or MAY NOT be associated with [insert nefarious name here], and also MAY or MAY NOT have been seen [insert: i.e. exiting a brothel, visiting Sen. Larry Craig, etc.] during trips which heMAY or MAY NOT have taken to [insert location here]. Now, I have no reason to believe that he has actually engaged in such activities [BUT...]

      And there you have it, instant character assassination without having to verify or be accountable for ANYTHING you just insinuated.

      No journalist with an ounce of respect for their readers would write such a piece (they know HOW, they just wouldn’t do it — its the ethical equivalent to murdering kittens!)

      IMO, no editor or publisher with an a ounce of character would send it to print; they would resign first.

      Reply

      1. avatar

        I wonder if colleges actually have courses in yellow journalism or if they’re taught under other names? Whatever, yellow journalism does have its purpose.

        Reply

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