Saturday, April 21, 2007

Standing By Our Word

From Our Publisher
Phyllis Schaltenbrand
Standing By Our Word

The First Capitol News strives to bring you the news you won’t find anywhere else. Our stories are often ones other newspapers can’t or won’t print. “Can’t” because our sources know we won’t sweep their information under the rug. They simply choose to talk with us over other media outlets. “Won’t” because the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Journal Newspapers are both owned by the same Iowa based company. They are first and foremost in the business of making money. That puts them in a very delicate position when it comes to covering what rich and powerful special interests may be doing.

During this past election, we reported that two sources within the Police Department of the City of St. Charles confirmed that Mayor Patti York had promised the Fraternal Order of Police she would get rid of Police Chief Tim Swope.

Rather than developing their own sources for independent confirmation of our story, the Post and Journal chose to cover a press conference by the Mayor and officers of the Fraternal Order of Police to criticize our reporting and deny the story. Further, the Mayor then promised to not fire any department directors for one year if reelected.

Many voters took her at her word. But we stand by our word, to you, our readers.

On the day before the April 3rd election, residents awoke to find a newspaper made to look like the First Capitol News on their lawns. It loudly proclaimed that our stories had been false and proceeded to attack in a most cowardly way, the Mayor’s opponent and several members of the Council.

Only after the election, did it come to light that millionaire developer T. R. Hughes had paid $58,000 to Voters for Good Government to run a negative smear campaign on behalf of the Mayor and a slate of Council candidates. Buddy Hardin, the treasurer and only member of Voters for Good Government, also runs the O’Fallon License Bureau.

Hughes had previously poured tens of thousands of dollars into the recall efforts against two Council members, efforts which were tainted with fraud according to an investigation by St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Jack Banas. Prior to making his fortune in homebuilding, Hughes was a police officer and former head of the local Police Association.

Where are the editorials in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Journal newspapers decrying how big money unduly influenced the City elections in St. Charles? Where is their righteous indignation at the smear campaign tactics?

If Police Chief Tim Swope is here one year from now, then the Mayor will have kept her word. If, however, he ceases to be Police Chief, as our sources said he would, then the citizens of St. Charles will know on which newspaper they can depend for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Phyllis Schaltenbrand
First Capitol News