Monday, June 22, 2015

An important message to my readers

When the Joplin City Council failed to make nine pages of the Loraine Report available to the public, the Joplin Globe, quite understandably, threw a fit.

When the Jasper County Commissioners took a secretive approach to choosing three people to appoint to the Joplin R-8 Board of Education, the Globe threw bouquets in their direction and praised them for ending our long local nightmare.

When C. J. Huff berated two members of the Board of Education during a meeting, the Globe relegated it to one paragraph on an inside page.

When City Councilman Ben Rosenberg was cited for driving with his dog on his lap, it becomes page one news- months after the incident occurred.

The Globe ripped into Councilman Bill Scearce day after day for events that he did not participate in, two decades after they happened, yet when an investigator with a distinguished record as an assistant U. S. attorney documented evidence that raised serious questions of conflict of interest for Councilman Mike Woolston, the Globe buried it deep on its website, even though Woolston was running for re-election at the time.

Because of these things, I am going to attempt something I have not done before, at least that I can recall; I am going to ask Turner Report readers for a favor.

The failure of the Joplin Globe to come anywhere near to giving us the truth where Joplin city government, Wallace-Bajjali, and the Joplin R-8 School District are concerned, created a vacuum, one that I have filled, both with the Turner Report and with my book Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado.

For the first time, the events that have taken place since May 22, 2011, have been put in one volume and more importantly, have been put into context.

If you have read the book and liked it, I am asking you to spread the word and I realize that is asking a lot for some of you. What some people have told me is that they have read the book, they liked it and thought it had a lot to say, but they were not going to tell anyone because they feared for their jobs.

Sadly, this is not limited to people who work in the Joplin R-8 School District.

And while I have understood and sympathize with the people who are trying to protect their jobs for the sake of their families, that is no way to live, and as long as we are letting these people dictate what we can read, enjoy, and talk about freely, things are never really going to change in Joplin.

For the past two years I have written information about the city and school district and our former master developer that could not be found anywhere else. Because of that, I have had people like C. J. Huff and Anson Burlingame refer to me as a pornographer, with Huff telling the district's teachers that I provided pornographic material to 150 students, despite the fact that No Child Left Alive was not pornographic and the district never found even one student who had read the book. I have also had websites that have labeled me as a child predator because of the accusation leveled at me by Huff's bulldog h. r. director Tina Smith at my hearing.

The one thing my detractors have not been able to do is discredit my reporting. The best they can do, even after two years, is say that I am a disgruntled former Joplin R-8 employee. Sometimes they throw the old "He's attacking our kids and our teachers," when I am writing things that are clearly about the misdeeds of their top administrators.

And even then, how does that explain why the Turner Report broke one major story after another about the problems of Wallace-Bajjali? I am certainly not a disgruntled master developer.

When the state audit is released next month, and City Councilman Mike Woolston is called on the carpet, Turner Report readers will remember reading months ago about what Woolston was doing.
I am certainly not a disgruntled former tornado mayor.

For people who want to know how Joplin reached the point where it is at today, Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud delivers that information, including much that has never been written about before, even in the Turner Report.

Among the new items included in the book:

-What MODOT officials were expecting when they turned over their building to the school district

-How C. J. Huff harassed a woman who was running for school board and the one I am referring to in this instance is not Jennifer Martucci

-How the first attempt to fire Mark Rohr started

-David Wallace's unsuccessful attempt to run for Congress

-The state official who arranged a $100,000 a year job for his girlfriend

-The message that Thomas Schweich never had a chance to give me

-The teacher that C. J. Huff threatened and ran out of the district because he thought (incorrectly) that she was providing information to the Turner Report

-How the story of C. J. Huff's "heroism" after the tornado has changed over the past four years

-The city employee that Mark Rohr wrote up after he saved the city half a million dollars, but cost Wallace-Bajjali money

The book features material taken from materials and sources ranging from bankruptcy documents, lawsuits, recordings, government studies, previously published materials and videos, divorce proceedings, finance reports, and personal interviews.

Some major parts of the book are based on the findings of the Loraine Report, including the showdown between Loraine and Woolston, a showdown which might shock people who get all of their information from the Joplin Globe.

The book also reveals the role played by a group of people who decided they knew what was best for Joplin and led us down the primrose path by hiring Wallace-Bajjali, pushing for the creation of citadels rather than school buildings, and forming the Joplin Progress Committee to control the city council and school board.

This book, all 532 pages of it, is based on two years worth of research and follows the story from the day of the tornado through the "retirement" of C. J. Huff.

While I do not want to sound immodest, this book is the best opportunity we have to inform people who have been getting their information from the area's newspaper of record about what has been going on in Joplin while the Globe was sleeping.

Again, if you read it and like it, spread the word. If you haven't read it, please consider doing so.Thanks.

The paperback and e-book of Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud can be ordered through the links below. A meet the author event and signing will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at VFW Post 534, Joplin. Hope to see you there.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't help but notice a few new and affluent names appearing in the comments section of threads regarding the school district. Apparently the affluent think that just their presence alone is enough to scare off any current followers of The Turner Report and prevent any new followers from seeing the light.
Even if you are a prominent lawyer, own a local media group or organize runs for Jesus and are very facebook popular some of us will still recognize you to be over grown bullies. Stating repeatedly that Turner was fired and going on to insinuate that he is a predator is becoming less effective, but still they sling the same mud,hoping to intimidate those they consider to be less worthy of valid opinions than themselves.

Anonymous said...

Can the paperback version of Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud be purchased Saturday at the VFW?

Randy said...

Yes, I will have paperback copies of the book available.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Turner,
I travel for work all over the contiguous states approximately 80% of the time. Naturally, I'm asked where I live while at my destinations, which often prompts a discussion about post-tornadic Joplin. Until last week, I would shake my head and explain that there just wasn't enough time in a day to explain how bad things truly are, despite the rosy picture that has been painted. I am THRILLED to be able to say now, "there's a book" and refer them! Rest assured, I am promoting you and your book to the best of my limited ability. I have no fear of retribution while on the road, but I can understand trepidation around town. I warn my audience of the attempts to discredit that may be found in the comments or other blogs.
At this point, I've told at least dozen or so folks in three states about your book and your efforts to be the people's steward where the Globe fails. I will continue to promote you, Silver Lining, and the Turner Report and I hope this small effort makes a difference. It pales in comparison to the effort you've put into keeping the citizens of Joplin informed. I am happy to contribute in whatever way possible.
Thanks again for all you do. Unfortunately, I think you'll probably have to write a part 2 after the city audit is released. If the school boards audit was any indication, the aftermath will be book worthy as well.

Judd McPherson said...

I can only assume that Anonymous at 9:53 is referring to me when talking about the lawyer that has posted comments. It is unfortunate that you automatically assume that I am against everything that Randy writes. To the contrary, I think that he makes some valid points. On the other hand, there are times that he goes overboard in my opinion. I replied to someone’s comment that stated that the Joplin Globe was slanted, and that if people wanted the actual truth that they should read the Turner Report. I responded by pointing out that Randy’s point of view is also slanted having being previously fired by Joplin R-8. That is not an attack on Randy, but an undeniable fact. When the title of a blog entry states “Banwart Tells Voters To Go To Hell”, there is an obvious slant to that story. I took issue with it because Banwart never actually said that. I would gladly tell Randy my opinion in person, and I assume that he would respect why I feel that way. He might not agree with the way that I feel, but I am confident that he would understand why I feel that way. The point of my comment was that there are two sides to every story, and the truth is usually somewhere in between the two slanted versions.

My other statements have been related to readers’ comments that state things like Judge Hensley is a crooked judge that has been paid off and is one of the “good old boys” simply because he ruled against their wishes. Everyone should respect the fact that he followed the law and wrote a very detailed explanation as to why he ruled the way that he did. If you attack someone that I personally know without any merit whatsoever, you can expect me to respond. And when a reader posted that a Judge Hensley could override any decision in his jurisdiction, I stated that he could not arbitrarily change a decision of the Jasper County Commission simply because it happened in Jasper County. That is not being a bully, but rather simply stating a fact.

Another thing that you will always get from me is my honest opinion with my name attached. I will never hide behind an “Anonymous” post or comment. Posting something as “Anonymous” tells me that you don’t believe in your opinion enough to put your name on it. Contrary to your statement that I don’t think that others are “worthy of their opinions”, you have actually discredited your own pinion by posted it anonymously. I feel that the lawsuit that could have delayed progress of the BOE was hypocritical because at least one of the Plaintiffs started an online petition to remove Banwart because she “unnecessarily delayed the routine business of the BOE”. Then there were comments made about Banwart’s motion for change of judge being filed as a delay. If you don’t see the hypocrisy of being mad at someone for delaying their OWN delay of progress when they were attempting to remove a BOE member for originally delaying progress, then you have really missed out on some entertainment. I stand behind that opinion whole-heartedly and expressed that opinion with my name attached to it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like the Plaintiffs. To the contrary, I consider Jon Buck a friend and believe that he has done a great deal to promote the downtown area of the City of Joplin. In fact, I think that he would be a great asset to the BOE if he runs in the April election.

I hope that helps clear up why I feel the way that I do about some of these events. Just because I post comments that you don’t agree with doesn’t mean that I feel that you are “not worthy” of your opinion. It just means that we don’t see eye to eye on a subject.

Judd McPherson Respondent said...

Dear Lawyer,

I am not 9:53, but feel a few of your comments deserve a response. First, I assume you are who you say you are. While anyone can post any name, you speak like a lawyer. The main difference between the Globe and Turner is that the former purports to be the public record and free of bias. It is increasingly disregarded as both. It is propoganda guised as the news, Insulting. Turner is biased and does not claim otherwise. He provides facts, purposely omited by the local media, then invites all to form and offer their opinions: including you. You waffle on what you acknowledge as valid opinion. At times you say everyone's opinion is valid. At other times you state anonymity nullifies the opinion. As you obviously read this post, you are acutely aware that while you risk nothing attaching your name (and perhaps benefit) to your opinion, others will certainly lose their livelihood. You learned basic logic in law school. You know that the source of opinion does not determine whether it is true or not. Discrediting the witness might work in a court room, but there are too many people who have suffered from the oppression of your kind for that to fly in the court of public opinion.That is my "honest" opinion. As to the "truth" being somewhere in the middle. Not always. Sometimes right is right and wrong is wrong. Those who have endured the machinations and maneuvers of the Huff/JPC conspiracy have lost a great deal in many forms. Compromise is for your legal/political world, The rest of us find that world higly favorable to only a few. Finally, you can spin with the best of them, but we are way past fed up with "the game."

In closing, I refer you to your final parahraph.

Judd McPherson said...

I'm not waffling at all when I say that every opinion is valid, but the person posting an opinion as "Anonymous" is the only person that discredits their own opinion by failing to attach their name to it. It certainly doesn't nullify the opinion as you suggest, but it does cast a certain level of doubt to it by the nature of anonymity. Certainly responding to my comment with your actual name wouldn't cause you to lose your livelihood. I'm sorry that you feel that you have "suffered from the oppression of my kind". It is a shame that you think that everyone that doesn't share your opinion is part of an elitist group of good old boys that control "the game". I feel that goes to the core of the problem with the Joplin BOE. Too many people have the thought that one side is right, the other side is wrong, and that there is no middle ground. Too many people feel that it is "us against them" rather than "we".

You are correct that sometimes right is right and wrong is wrong. An example would be the thought that a judge can overrule any decision made by the County Commission. That is, as a matter fact, wrong. I wasn't attacking the credibility of anyone by pointing that out. I'm not certain who you are saying that I am trying to discredit. I seriously doubt that Randy feels that I am trying to discredit him by me saying that he was out of line in my opinion for his Banwart headline. Randy has been at this for a long time and knows that not everyone is going to agree with his approach on certain situations. I certainly didn't say that Randy holds himself out as being unbiased. As I stated above, my statement that his blog is also slanted was directed at the person that commented that the Globe was slanted and if people wanted the actual truth they should read the Turner Report. My point is that people should read both instead of holding The Globe out as being slanted and the Turner Report out as being the actual unbiased truth. The ironic thing is that I agree with what you say: Randy will be the first to tell you that his blog is biased. And here you are talking about "my kind" based on my profession rather than my opinions as an individual. While it is obvious that you and I wouldn't agree on everything, you might find that we are more similar than you think if you could get past the label of what I do for a living.

As to whether I am who I say that I am, my office number is 206-8880. Feel free to give me a call and I will always explain why I feel the way that I do about anything that I state an opinion of. You will find out quickly that I am not involved in the political world as I don't care if I please everyone. I am more inclined to tell people to kiss my ass rather than kiss theirs, which doesn't always fit well in the political world :-) I don't have to "spin" my opinion. It is what it is.

Judd McPherson Respondent said...

Again, you line up the straw men, and easily knock them down. I suggested that you said anonymity nullifies an opinion; not that I say it does. Now, you adjust "nullify" to weaken. You reveal either a lack of understanding or callous disregard when you dismiss my assertion that my job is threatened by exposure. It is. Many others know this to be fact. "Your kind" was not intended as a personal insult, but rather a widely held belief by the underclass that lawyers and politicians (often one and the same) enjoy access and influence not enjoyed by the rest. Some, not necessarily all, use this standing to advance their personal interest, as well as that of their friends, at the expense of others.I never once said that those who do not share my opinion are all part of an elitist group. You and I both know, however, that such a group definitely exists here. I am fully aware that most situations in life are comprised mainly of a middle ground, and therein lies room for negotiation and compromise. This situation where Huff and his masters have run roughshod over the district and city leaves room only for cleanup. It is a legal tactic to demand way more than your fair share and then magnanimously settle for just more than your fair share. I agree with you that people should no more accept Turner as the gospel than any other source. I simply stated that the Globe has lost all credibility. You seem like a nice person, and obviously have a keen mind. There are good people who practice law, "Your kind" was a reference to all those who perpetuate a system where some are more equal than others. This was based on your arguments, not you personally.

Judd McPherson said...

Please review my first comment to see that I never said that anonymity nullifies an opinion, but I guess that you can insert words into it if you want to. I said that it weakens it, and I stand behind that opinion. It's a shame that you refer to non-lawyers as underclass (your words). I can assure you that none of my friends see it that way. Don't hold it against me that I busted my butt working the midnight shift as a cop through college and law school to make a comfortable life for my family. It doesn't make me any better than anyone else,or any worse than anyone else. It just gives me a particular set of skills (not to steal a quote from Liam Neeson in Taken). I'm still the same bass-fishing, deer-hunting, NASCAR loving redneck that I have always been if you can overlook my job title. I just happen to spend my work days in an office or courtroom.

I am sorry that you are in the position that you are in to feel that your job would be in jeopardy for responding to my comment with your name. You are correct that I lack understanding of how you could lose your job given the latest changes at R-8. I would hope that the "changing of the guard" will help everyone get past that fear. I also hope that you give people a chance regardless of their careers. You will miss out on meeting some pretty good people if you don't, and that goes for any profession.

Judd McPherson Respondent said...

" have actually discredited your own pinion by posted it anonymously. "

"I will never hide behind an Anonymous post or comment."

Whether you stated it verbatim or not, your message was clear.

I did not refer to non lawyers as the underclass, Although, many lawyers obviously do. The condescending tone used to intimidate opposing counsel in the courtroom regularly spills into other conversations. No one held anything agsinst you for any hard work you have done nor any success you might have experienced. Not to steal an overused racial expression, but some of my best friends are lawyers.

I am sorry that you thought I was attacking you personally, Again, I only took issue with the arguments. Your closing paragraph portrays me as a narrow minded bigot with prejudice against lawyers. I have met and hold friendships with people from all walks of life, some very successful financially, others successful in other ways. CJ and his ilk destroy others, then feign victimization when questioned. I don't know you. I don't judge you. Your arguments seem to defend and perpetuate those of Huff's circle.