THAT is a question being asked by many people — who attend Moore County government meetings and then compare what they witnessed to The Pilot’s coverage.
I checked in with one of my faithful readers — an insider in county government — on this matter:
“It’s really astounding. A lot of things will get accomplished at a meeting. When it’s over, The Pilot’s writer will make a beeline to Commissioner Lea, with his or her tongue hanging out, ready to take dictation. Then, the paper comes out, and you read the story. In the story, it looks like Commissioner Lea was the only one with anything to say. The Pilot’s story also typically follows the twisted, exaggerated version of events that come not from the official record, but from inside Commissioner Lea’s head.
There’s more to county government than just Commissioner Tim Lea, and what comes out of his mouth.”
My County Government Mole offered up this example:
“At the last commissioner meeting, the budget was discussed. One of the major accomplishments in the budget was that six million dollars in debt was paid off EARLY. That action saved county taxpayers roughly $2 million in interest payments. You would THINK that would make news. But no. We get treated by The Pilot to Commissioner Lea’s sermon about transparency, the evils of Bojangles, and supposed disrespect to the veterans memorial.”
The mole pointed out that The Pilot frequently quotes Lea preaching the virtues of fiscal conservatism and bashing his colleagues on the board for alleged fiscal irresponsibility:
“The last budget Commissioner Lea actually voted FOR raised taxes on Moore County residents by 33 percent. How conservative is that? He’s voted against four straight budgets that made county government more efficient and less costly to taxpayers. But you won’t see that in The Pilot. It’s so much easier to fawn over Tim Lea and transcribe whatever he says, without bothering to talk to anyone else or to fact-check him. ”
The mole also points out that one of the favorite topics of Lea, and his small, loud band of followers on the message boards at thepilot.com is the currently under-construction public safety center. Lea bashes his colleagues for allegedly wasting taxpayer money on the project:
“Commissioner Lea knows better than that. Every bit of credible preliminary research on the project shows that the route the commissioners took was the most cost-effective to the taxpayers. In fact, if you check the official record, Commissioner Lea took the lead in hiring the architects and engineers to design the project.
Tim Lea changed his tune on the public safety center after losing a bid to become chairman, and coming out on the losing end of a number of votes he saw as important. It’s more about Tim Lea’s ego than about doing what’s right for Moore County. He didn’t get his way on some very selfish things, so he is going to burn all of his bridges and take the whole board down.
The official records SHOW that — if the commissioners had taken the route Tim Lea is currently championing — the taxpayers of Moore County would be on the hook for a whole lot more on this public safety project than they currently are. ”
My mole describes the latest kerfluffle over Bojangles as “the last straw”:
” Tim Lea is just exaggerating — and in some cases, outright lying — on this whole issue. The written minutes of those executive sessions show that Commissioner Lea was the one who got the ball rolling on EVERY discussion about the Bojangles deal. In fact, he won’t shut up. When you listen to the audio, that will be even more clear to you. If you read the transcript and listen to the audio, you also do not hear Commissioner Lea raising ANY objections to discussing Bojangles in executive session. He then gets to the open meeting, and runs to The Pilot, expressing his supposed outrage over a lack of transparency. Incredible. Tim Lea is a real piece of work.”
The Mole also takes a dig at Lea’s efforts to rile up veterans groups:
“Commissioner Lea has accused his colleagues of trying to desecrate or move the war memorial. If you check out county records back in 2009, when there was talk of putting a government center on this SAME piece of property, Tim Lea was openly talking about how the memorial would need to be moved. He’s the one who introduced the idea, and now he’s trying to turn it around on the rest of the board.
Purposely trying to anger people and destroy the reputations of others is despicable. The Pilot ought to be ashamed about their laziness and complicity in helping Tim Lea push this agenda. If you do a little research, you’ll find that there are very little facts supporting much of what comes out of Tim Lea’s mouth. You learn a lot more by looking at Commissioner Lea’s record than you do from reading The Pilot or listening to what he says.”