Not The Item



May 23rd, 2013

In Sunbury our local newspaper and our mayor share two things in common – dwindling support and a disdain for public opinion.

Mr. Persing received 378 votes in this week’s primary, or the support of only 6% of the adult population – supporter numbers have continued to dwindle – down from 589 in 2001 and from 441 in 2009 – a dismal set of statistics for our “popular” mayor, however you choose to look at them. It could also be said that 94% of those old enough to vote did not give him their support, and, in fact, over 20 voters wrote “Anyone but Persing” on their ballots.

The Daily Item had to lay off some staff members recently – one from each department within the organization. They are obviously losing significant amounts of money. If their news is failing to excite the population and to sell sufficient copies then there is only one man to blame – the editor. Gary Grossman has unashamedly backed Persing throughout the campaign, and was making confident noises of victory at a time when many others thought it was going to be close. Of course, outsiders knew nothing of the ambush they were preparing for election day.

Misleading Press Release

On Monday 20th May, Dan Ramer, general manager, held a press conference at the Municipal Authority. Francis Scarcella duly attended and latched on to every word. We were told that the Army Corps had certified the flood protection system in 2010. We know that. The damage was inflicted in 2011.

We have copies of the flood damage reports and the estimates and the work specification. A grant for $30,500 to cover the cost of repairs was provided by FEMA. The work was never done. Now our City Council want to spend $400,000 which we know they don’t have on something which they claim we don’t need. Go figure!

Julie Brosius was guilty of only one thing – her action in helping expose this huge cover-up, and yet The Daily Item hung her out to dry.

No doubt Messrs Grossman and Scarcella were proud guests of honor at Persing’s victory celebrations, which probably explains their euphoric headline the next morning, proclaiming that Persing had won his fight for a SIXTH term in City Hall. Not so fast folks, this was only the Primary.

Pulitzer Prize? Investigative Journalism?

Certainly there is little chance of a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism coming their way anytime soon, given the way in which they had presented Persing propaganda dressed up as news stories over the previous weeks.

There was the Norfolk Southern story, when they spoke to Kevin Troup but made no effort to contact Joe Bartello, the other councilman present on that day, and whose recollections contrast markedly to those of Mr. Troup.

The reported demands for the closure of the former Celotex site by Sunbury Code Office were taken directly from a leaked copy of a letter from Joe Bartello to his planning officer Mike Rhoads. Again they made no effort to contact Mr. Bartello, and failed to even mention one of the most important issues – the fact that nobody knows where the thousands of tons of fill has come from and whether or not it is contaminated with toxic chemicals and/or radioactivity. Once again these self-appointed guardians failed in their duties to ferret out the truth and publish the full facts of the case.

False Claims

Now The Daily Item is knowingly making false claims about this blog. It was not started by Julie Brosius, and it was not started to support her election campaign – it was started in an attempt to counter the propaganda and misleading news put out by them on a daily basis. We did give Julie our full backing as soon as we became aware of her plans to run for Mayor, just as we will back anyone courageous enough to stand against this reign of tyranny masquerading as democracy in our City Hall. Julie did not launch repeated attacks on Persing – we did!

One leading local politician shared with us his own opinion about the Daily Item – “Tabloid Journalism” was how he put it, meaning that rather than report the news they actually twist the facts to fit their own agenda. Such practices are inherently undemocratic, removing the essential role of the media as the watchdogs guarding our freedoms. We don’t have a watchdog in Sunbury – we have a Chihuahua!

Bring Your Articles to Us!

Many Sunbury-based people and organizations seem to be getting ignored and/or denied publication by the Daily Item. We invite everyone who has something to announce, or who has news about our city, to use our contact form to submit their articles. We can’t guarantee publication, but we will certainly give everything which comes our way serious consideration. Please include a contact telephone number with all such submissions.

Finally, we do offer our congratulations to Mr. Persing – he won. However, his mayoral coronation is far from guaranteed. The coming months are going to be interesting.

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Not The Item