And why aren't Adkisson's communications with other officials and staffers also relevant to how he manages the MPO? Why are only his communications with me relevant to informing them of his "management style"? Enter the Express-News' vendetta against Adkisson and the grassroots.
In fact, there are some things in the emails the Express-News obtained that prove the toll plans for 281 violate the law. Yet there has not been ONE Express-News story informing the public of this monumental fact. Clearly, the Express-News isn't interested in reporting such newsworthy information, just emails between a citizen taxpayer advocate and an MPO Chair who actually represents the PEOPLE impacted by the toll regime...
For Terri's full response, go here. See the San Antonio Current's take below.
Adkisson sought toll road foe's advice
By Josh Baugh
July 20, 2010
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, who was elected chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization last summer, has served as a fierce opponent to toll roads, and he's relied heavily on advice and direction from grass-roots toll opponent Terri Hall, public records show.
The founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, Hall and her group have taken aim at the Texas Department of Transportation, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority and other groups that support toll roads.
To more clearly understand Hall's role in Adkisson's chairmanship, the San Antonio Express-News in February sought e-mails between the two back to June 2009. Bexar County released hundreds of pages of messages from Adkisson's county e-mail address.
Those e-mails show Hall has played an intimate and significant role in Adkisson's management of the MPO, which oversees federal transportation spending locally. A longtime outsider among transportation officials, Hall found a de facto seat at the table when Adkisson took control as MPO chairman.
To read the rest of the story, go here.
Link to blog here.
But is it news? Adkisson, Hall, and anti-toller intolerance
By Greg Harman, San Antonio Current, July 20, 2010
The tug-of-war between the Express-News and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson has been partly settled, with the County releasing hundreds of pages of emails to toll-road opponent and Mysa.com blogger Terri Hall from Adkisson’s official email account. Readers piled on in the comments section, though not to raise torches against Adkisson and Hall. Instead, the majority of comments were irritated by the daily’s apparent siege on Adkisson, a vociferous critic of efforts to turn U.S. 281 into a toll road.
There is nothing improper exposed by the records, but it’s understandable the writer and editors in this case would feel compelled to make something out of it as Adkisson has so resisted complying with the paper’s full request. And yet … that doesn’t make it a news story.
POLITICAN SEEKS REGULAR ADVICE FROM UNCOMPENSATED LOCAL CITIZEN
The article shrieks that Hall plays an “intimate and significant role” in Adkisson’s management of the Metropolitan Planning Organization. That through Adkisson, Hall has found “a de facto seat at the table.” For starters, we thought that was sort of the job of our elected leaders, to carry the concerns of residents to the table for us. For finishers, hasn’t Adkisson been loud and proud in his anti-toll posture from the start?
“I move around the community as any public official in Bexar County,” Adkisson told the Current this week. “I don’t get any comment from anybody saying, ‘Hey. Toll those roads.’ They’re all saying, ‘Hey. Be careful about those tolls.’”
Adkisson has refused to release emails to Hall from his private email accounts, ensuring the fracas will continue. “I just feel like it ought to be possible to think out loud without having every measure scrutinized for its stupidity or its brilliance,” he said. “In the process of arriving at public policy, you’re ‘What do you think about this?’ and the other person may say, ‘I think you’re a dumb ass if you say that.’ And I’d just rather not shower that on everyone and their brother.”
If there is a story at the MPO, it has long been about the intersection of private gain and the public good. From the cashing in of Perry cronies on the now-slumbering Trans-Texas Corridor to TXDOT and MPO skirmishes over tolling 281, pressing highway needs mean there is the scent of mad money in the air. Perhaps, the Express should listen to their readers when they suggest they should instead be shooting for MPO board members who may be overly influenced, I don’t know, by the monied interests at work and not gunning for two ideologues bridging a yawning political divide through their mutual distain for the notion of double-taxing residents for a functional roadway.
Hall frames her objection to the article by asking:
Why is [the Express] so interested in what I have to say to Commissioner Adkisson, but have no interest in what Richard Perez (Greater Chamber of Commerce, former MPO Chair), Carri Baker-Wells (Greater Chamber of Commerce), the Dawsons (owners of Pape Dawson Engineering, Sam Dawson is President of the Greater Chamber of Commerce), and SAMCO (lobbies for toll roads with taxpayer money along with dues from over 70 private highway construction, finance, and engineering firms, chaired by a tolling authority board member, Jim Reed, who has the power to vote to give contracts to firms in SAMCO) have to say to public officials? These people actually profit from the public trough by their actions, versus us taxpayers who foot the bill for their feeding frenzy!
Asked one reader mildly: “Why is this news?”
And, yet, still unresolved is the question of Adkisson’s emails.
“It shouldn’t be a crime to try to include more public comment and input, especially when it’s not driven by some big, powerful, wealthy corporation type or special interest,” Adkission says.
Of course, it’s not illegal. Unless, like our other politically well-grounded friend, Mr. Nico LaHood, treated in this tomorrow’s feature story, one’s good work is at risk of being polluted by questionable gropings after secrecy.
Undoubtedly, I also support strong open-records laws. However, I also support journalism functioning in the public’s interest. If the increasingly thin Express has the resources to run and publish investigative campaigns like this one, I can think of a few possibly worthier email accounts they could be hacking.