UPDATE: Judge Kay Bates has ruled that CH2MHill is not a public entity, and therefore is not required to provide records in regard to an advertisement placed in The Advocate newspaper. (Community Press, LLC vs CH2MHill, Inc.) Woody Jenkins is the individual behind the law suit that was dismissed.
Jenkins formerly enjoyed financial profit from CH2MHill advertisements in Community Press, LLC’s publication Central News, and lost revenue when CH2MHill chose another newspaper for the ad in question.
Note: *Added statistics on election results!
Additionally, I opened the forum for comments in hopes of receiving factual information from either side of this argument. Instead I receiving bashing of individuals and ‘he said, she said’ claims. None of these comments can be considered factual. If you have proof of any wrongdoing on either side, I recommend you address the judge assigned to this case.
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
In five years, the City of Central has incorporated, developed a Master Plan, created its own School District, and elected a Mayor, City Council and Chief of Police. All of this while standing up to the bully pulpit of Mayor Kip Holden’s massive tax increase and threats to oust the City of Central from East Baton Rouge Parish elections.
In recent months, Central’s leadership has come under attack by the editor of the Central City News, Woody Jenkins.
By all appearances, Jenkins was happy until election time rolled around earlier this year. Some say Jenkins had another choice for Mayor, however, Mac Watts won his bid for re-election against Jr. Shelton.
What else is bothering Jenkins?
CH2M Hill was contracted by the City to handle contractual issues and hire the necessary personnel to carry out city services. Birds were chirping and everyone was happy. Even Jenkins, since some of CH2M Hill’s money was flowing into the coffers of Central City News evidenced by ads introducing Central City personnel hired to handle services.
The day before an election, CH2M Hill ran a 4-page advertisement in The Advocate explaining building permit fees. This topic was also a hotly contested election issue between the two Mayorial candidates.
This ignited a firestorm of criticism from Jenkins.
Post-election, Jenkins made a public records request to determine who was involved in the 4-page advertisement – a costly proposition at best to reach 5,000 readers of The Advocate. CH2M Hill responded by providing records required, but claimed that information regarding the ad were irrelevant as they are a private company.
Jenkins retaliated again. And, again. And again, in his publication as well as in the courts by filing a lawsuit demanding information regarding the advertisement. He wanted to know if anyone in Central’s leadership played a role in creating, approving or placing the ad in another newspaper.
CH2M Hill stood fast to its position by not discussing the ad due to the fact that they are a privately held company and no money from the City of Central was used to place the ad.
Journalism requires factual reporting, the discipline of verification, and to remain independent monitors of power.
No matter what side you stand on regarding this issue, one fact remains. When CH2M Hill was running ads in Jenkins’ publication, all was well. Until, a costly 4-page advertisement ran in another newspaper. That ad, some say, initiated the attacks and also may have played a role in Jenkins’ candidate losing the race for Mayor.
That ad didn’t appear to affect the race in my opinion. Mac Watts went into the election with overwhelming support and always appeared to be the winner. *Watts won the election with 52% of the vote, and his opposition took 48% of the vote.
I’m a believer in presenting the facts.
In checking the City of Central records, it appears that CH2M Hill has provided monthly reports of services for the Mayor’s review. Those reports are reviewed monthly by the City Council. On a quarterly basis, a synopsis is provided to the residents at Council Meetings. Additionally, I easily obtained a copy of the work performed by CH2M Hill through my contacts.
Based on this, there doesn’t appear to be any secrecy on CH2M Hill’s reporting methods.
So, if the services were being performed to everyone’s satisfaction prior to the ad in question being run in The Advocate, and regular reports are provided, what’s the problem?
You figure it out.
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican