The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shaw Watch 2

Jim Shaw's not running for mayor. But he is trying to influence the outcome of the mayoral race. His column in the Rapid City Journal today is a rambling vitriolic diatribe which appears to justify his – and Alan Hanks' – support of a lease-leaseback tax dodge scheme that Sam Kooiker exposed as a sham.

Shaw claims that Kooiker noting the accomplishment, while also noting that his opponent voted three times to advance the scheme, amounts to negative advertising.

The fact is, Hanks' support of the lease-leasback of the city's waste-water treatment plant is part of the record Hanks claims to be proud of.

Shaw's column points out that the matter was moot, because after being presented with Kooiker's evidence, the city council discussed it and voted the plan down. But, Shaw forgot to mention that they only did so after being presented with evidence uncovered by – wait for it – Sam Kooiker, and testimony from a local retired judge Kooiker asked to look at the contract. Roland Grosshans at the time said he believed a "pervert" wrote the contract. In the end, when faced with the fact that the scam had been exposed as a scam, Hanks voted to end negotiations with the scammers.

To that point, however, Hanks had voted to advance the negotiations with a company that intended to dodge taxes at taxpayers' expense. Congress later filled the loophole that allowed such stuff.

Shaw doesn't like Hanks and he really doesn't like Kooiker. And, he does have a bit of a temper. He has already revealed that he's likely to support candidate Ron Weifenbach, a councilman from Ward 1. It will be interesting to see how long the Journal allows a 1 col. x 21 inch political ad to continue running for free.


BFleming said...

What's the diff between your trying to influence the outcome of the race and Jim Shaw's, Mike?

Les said...

It looks to me like anyone can come to this blog and support whomever at no charge.

Can we do the same at the Journal?(letters to the ed that might get printed don't count).

Most of us don't believe Michael is working for a back door gain such as being funded to help promote a candidate.

Michael Sanborn said...

The difference is that I have said in the post below that I support Kooiker. Shaw is passing himself off as an objective observer.

Les is correct. I am receiving no pay of any kind from any candidate for any reason.

Also,I will be trying to set up a forum at the Forum. I'm working on the logistics. And, I'm not sure people will participate.

Bill Fleming said...

Are you guys saying you think Shaw is getting paid to support Hanks? And if so, by whom? I thought you used write a column for the RCJ once, Mike. Or do you still from time to time?

Michael Sanborn said...

No, Bill,
I'm saying Shaw is being paid by the Journal. I'm saying he is positioning himself to use his space in the Journal to badmouth both Hanks and Kooiker (especially Kooiker) and to advance Wiefenbach's candidacy.

You know I don't write for the Journal anymore. The new publisher canned me upon taking the office, due in large part to a long history of disagreement with him.

I'm saying that if Shaw is supporting Wiefenbach, he should say so, but he can't because if he did, he would not be writing on the mayoral/council races anymore.

Shaw thinks critical writing is character assassination, usually without naming the victim. Very little true analysis in his columns.

The Journal will want to at least give the appearance that their columnists are thinking about more than the fact that two of the mayoral candidates whopped his butt in his last election and he has 21 inches weekly to exact revenge.

Les said...

I hope none of us are exacting gain from this election, that it might be looked upon as the best man for the job rather than politics as usual Bill.

However, I don't believe in Santa anymore so I won't hold my breath on that one.

Michael Sanborn said...


I think there's a level of fairness, one should expect from an opinion columnist...particularly at the local level. You will notice in an earlier post, Shaw giving a typewritten high five to Wiefenbach for bringing up the fact that Hanks' personal assistant, is the wife of his political advisor.

That decision by Hanks was defended here on the Forum, because Trudy is very qualified for the job.

I think you can count on Shaw to go on the attack aiming his venom at Kooiker first, Hanks second.

That should come as no surprise to you. You have worked for Alan in a race against supposedly strong incumbent Jim Shaw.

Bill Fleming said...

Thanks Mike. I was just looking for a little clarification and you provided it quite nicely.

Moses said...

Shaw looks like he is ready to part the red sea in this picture, haha

Les said...

Shaw, Red Sea? You're off your meds Moses.