The Pilot sings Tammy Wynette’s greatest hit

Sometimes its hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
You’ll have bad times
And he’ll have good times
Doing things that you don’t understand
But if you love him you’ll forgive him
Even though he’s hard to understand
And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
‘Cause after all he’s just a man
Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your man
And tell the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man
Stand by your man
And show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man
— Tammy Wynette

Well, The Pilot’s newsroom has put out another laughable editorial.  

(John Chappell says I can’t blame it on editorial page editor Steve Bouser.  John says these unsigned screeds are the paper’s beliefs — as though they were magically transported down a mountain on stone tablets. Apparently, Steve has *NO* influence on what appears on the page he edits.) 

I’ve put out a number of posts laying out the facts on the Tim Lea-Bojangles kerfluffle.  Yet, the folks in the newsroom down on Pennsylvania Avenue  continue to stake their credibility on and stick with county commissioner  Tim “The Wizard of Eastwood” Lea:

State law – which the commissioners vow to uphold when they’re sworn in – is crystal-clear on this subject: Governmental boards may meet in closed session, under certain circumstances, to discuss buying land – but not to discuss selling it, as our board did. There’s a good reason for that: Opening up the process can encourage higher offers from unexpected sources. It can also prevent cozy sweetheart deals.

It is not so surprising, perhaps, that Commis-sioner Tim Lea’s fellow members would ignore his advice that they be more forthcoming on the details of the proposed land deal – until he went public with them. That is symptomatic of the dysfunctional nature of relationships among the various board members – especially as regards Lea.

What is surprising – and wholly unacceptable – is that the board would insist on proceeding with further secret discussions on this relatively piddling matter after turning a deaf ear to multiple warnings not to do so from County Attorney Misty Leland.

That could hardly be more clear than it is in this later-released transcript: “Misty said this was not supposed to be discussed in closed session. (No one acknowledged her statement).”

This is such a twisted, biased version of the events that I don’t know where to begin.  Wait, yes I do.  Let’s run with the spot-on comments posted on The Pilot’s web site, in response to this fallacy-riddled editorial, by “CoolDaddy’:

Poor research by this person. Listen to the first couple of minutes of the [audio-taped meeting] minutes and you will hear TIM LEA. He is the one egging the conversation on. Misty warned them all. No it should not have been discussed, but don’t ignore who the big mouth is here. It is Tim. I bet he was hoping the tapes would not be released (even though he acted big and bold as usual and said otherwise) well, if you listen…there is the proof. If he was the man the little band of nutcase bloggers on here (Toda’s 3 or 4 lu lu’s) say he is, why didn’t he just say, “Hey fellers…yeah, ya’ll four…we ain’t supposed to talk about this” No, he did not do that. He started it all. This is poor bs and qualifies the writer to join Toda’s bs club. I have been here since 1998 and have seen this paper turn into the enquirer.


Couldn’t have said it better myself.  County sources tell me that commissioner Lea was so upset about audio tapes being released that he spent  a good chunk of the business  day following the board meeting berating various county employees via telephone — trying to put the kibosh on the deal.

Even the written minutes indicate that commissioner Lea did most of the talking about real estate sales.  Why is The Pilot beating up on commissioners Picerno and Caddell so hard?   SURELY it has nothing to do with a former Pilot employee running against Picerno in November.  

The editorial is right about land sales being inappropriate for closed sessions.  The tape reveals — and so will the commissioners, if you ASK them — that the discussion centered around a potential land swap pending the completion of the developer’s feasibility study.

Sounds like a winner.  Talking about acquiring land IS OK under the open meetings law.  This was land that has been sitting on the county books for years.  Swapping it with Bojangles would turn it into a piece of property paying property tax into the county coffers.

No money changed hands.  No contracts were signed.  No action was taken. What is there to punish?  Who gained anything?  

The Pilot has also let commissioner Lea’s misstatements stand about who wants to move the war memorial. Check meeting minutes back to 2009 and you will find that Lea first brought up the idea when the commissioners were looking at building a new government center.  The soon-to-be-released audio tapes will also reveal Lea still championing the idea of moving the memorial.

This is yet another chapter in the long sad story of The Pilot’s coverage of Moore County government.  One former Pilot correspondent regularly turned in stories for publication on the commissioners THAT WERE WRITTEN BY A  LOCAL POLITICAL OPERATIVE. The stories showed up in the paper word-for-word just like the operative wrote them.   Current reporters run to Lea at every meeting and transcribe whatever comes out of his mouth.

It’s the worst of Soviet-era Pravda and Joseph Goebbels’ BIG LIE strategy playing out in modern-day Moore County.  Whether this is rooted in a personal grudge someone at the paper has with certain county politicians, or egos on Pennsylvania Avenue being too big to admit being fooled by Lea, it has to stop.  Do some research.  Ask some questions.  Be fair.  Your friends, neighbors and customers deserve better.