By reading the work of staff writer John Lentz in our Bavarian Goat Farmer Association Award-winning thrice weekly local newspaper, you might think that Tim Lea is the only Moore County commissioner who ever shows up at meetings and the only one who ever speaks. Tim likes to hear himself talk, and Lentz is picking up where his predecessor Florence Gilkeson left off — dutifully transcribing every word broadcast from Tim’s perpetually-running mouth.
Tim has learned well from his political mentors and allies, Richard and Cindy Morgan, on how to relentless promote oneself while destroying fellow Republicans. The Democrat activists who own and operate The Pilot are more than happy to facilitate these kinds of activities.
I get the same media releases from the county that Lentz and the newsroom gang get. I saw a number of interesting topics that got discussed at the last county commissioner meeting:
- Early bond payoff that saved taxpayers about $1.5 million in interest payments
- An update on water sources from the public works director
- an indemnity agreement with the airport retroactive to August 7
- change order to the public safety center construction project cutting $400,000 in project costs
None of that stuff makes the pages of The Pilot, because it’s not on Tim’s agenda. Tim and his allies like to moan about what a boondoggle the public safety project is. Reporting on six-figure savings for that project runs afoul of Timmy’s narrative. Pointing out that Timmy served on the committee that approved the design and selected the designer is also — ahem — ‘inconvenient.’
THIS information, detailed in an internal county government email that Timmy got copied on, is also inconvenient to his narrative and The Pilot’s coverage. Tim has been crowing about the level of county debt — using a county prepared spreadsheet as his illustration.
The problem? The starting point for his documentation is 2007 — just before voters approved large bonds for the public schools and community colleges. Those voter approved packages make up the overwhelming majority of county debt. But Timmy and Lentz are trying to present THAT debt as part of alleged “irresponsible” borrowing by Timmy’s colleagues on the board. How can you blame these elected officials for debt that was APPROVED by voters? (By the way, Timmy VOTED IN FAVOR of sending those same bond issues to the voters.)
Weeks ago, chairman Larry Caddell read a letter in open session from the Bojangles CEO saying that they were no longer interested in coming to Carthage, thanks to the uproar stirred up by Timmy and The Pilot. Anyone who watched the video of the county meeting could hear about it. But The Pilot never mentioned the letter in its pages. If The Pilot is your only news source, you might think the war memorial is still in danger of being “desecrated” by a — gasp — fast food restaurant on an adjacent land parcel.
The uproar facilitated by Timmy and The Pilot has resulted in the formation of a committee to “protect” the county war memorial from a fast food restaurant that has already said it isn’t coming to Carthage. The committee — stacked with a handful of veterans who also happen to be Tim Lea political allies — is debating the idea of blocking THE ENTIRE 20-plus acres of county-owned land from ever being sold or developed, to protect the “sanctity” of the land the memorial sits on.
Excuse me. The land is not Arlington Cemetery. In fact, it’s not ANY kind of cemetery. It’s not Bull Run or Gettysburg. No one died on the property in defense of their country. Calling the property “sacred” is a stretch. I’ve talked to quite a few Moore County veterans who had NO IDEA there was a county war memorial until Timmy and The Pilot started hollering about it.
It’s too bad that this is occurring in the middle of an election year when politicians are even more reluctant than usual to speak their minds. County leaders are bending over backward to placate this handful of Tim Lea allies. Someone should have the guts to suggest they BUY the whole parcel of county-owned land if they want to keep it as is. Why not move the memorial to Hillcrest Park? It’s a secluded area, off the highway, and will NEVER be sold or developed.
The Carriage Oaks property is in a prime location for commercial development. If the county is not going to do anything with it, the parcel needs to be sold to someone who will make good use of it. It needs to come OFF the taxpayers’ books. For someone so allegedly interested in fiscal conservatism, it’s puzzling to see Timmy working so hard to block an unused county asset from being sold to private interests.
If Lentz was actually interested in doing a service for his readers, why not ask Timmy about his work to put a county office building on the same parcel he is now trying to “protect”? Why not point out the fact that the last budget Tim Lea voted FOR included a tax increase?
Stuff like this just screams for an alternative news source to serve the people of Moore County.