Monday, August 24, 2015

Globe continues to stack the deck against investigations of favored officials

Maybe no one writes letters to the editor any more.

After all, there are other places where the people of Joplin can make their feelings known. They can reply to Facebook posts on the KZRG, KOAM, KODE, KSN, and even the Joplin Globe website.

They can leave comments, anonymous or otherwise on the Turner Report.

But even with the incredible changes that have been brought about by the internet, it is almost impossible to believe that not one person wrote a letter to the editor of the Globe about the state audit.

The Sunday edition, a place in which the readers' opinions on all kinds of issues once thrived, did not feature a single lettet to the editor yesterday, about the audit or any other subject.

Apparently, the only person who cared enough to offer an opinion on the audit for the newspaper that reaches the most households of any of the Globe's editions was frequent guest columnist Anson Burlingame.

The Globe devoted 25 column inches on its opinion page to Burlingame's view that the state audit was a joke. Using the same approach that he has always used, Burlingame quickly let us know that business is far too complicated for any of us to understand. The only ones who understand business are David Wallace of Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners and, of course, Anson Burlingame.

Consider Burlingame's reasoning on other recent city issues.

The operation of city government was too complicated for anyone except Mark Rohr and Burlingame to understand. Far too complicated for a veteran attorney like Thomas Loraine, who had been an assistant U. S. attorney and was an expert on corruption in public office.

The budget of the Joplin R-8 School District was far too complex for anyone except C. J. Huff and Burlingame to comprehend. When a public meeting was held following the release of the state audit of the school district, Burlingame dominated the proceedings, insisting that he knew more about the topic than anyone else. Though he has never written anything about being an accountant, Burlingame insisted that an accountant who was questioning district spending at that meeting did not know what he was talking about.

At the audit presentation Tuesday night, it was Burlingame who made it clear to State Auditor Nicole Galloway that he knows far more about the proper way to conduct a city's business than Galloway's staff, most of whom have been conducting forensic audits for years.

In his Sunday column, Burlingame continued to defend the power elite that led us into these situations with both the city and the school district. Among his pronouncements:

Many of the implications in that superficial and narrowly targeted audit simply are not correct in terms of how the government can- and must- interact with contractors before an RFP is issued...

Wallace Bajjali failed because of continued interference from a confused and divided customer, as well as the lack of deep pockets of private money needed to fund any and all startup costs required.

Remember long ago the outrage over $800 toilet seats" in a federal procurement? Well, according to our state auditor, the problems is the "invoice for one pair of dress shoes.: Just how inane can criticism become I wonder?

I have a hard time imagining that I am the only person in the city of Joplin who did not think much of David Wallace trying to get the city to reimburse him for a $161 pair of dress shoes. Perhaps Burlingame does not think this is a big deal, but for those of us who pay for our own shoes and cannot afford to pay $161, it is irritating that Wallace wanted to pass that cost along to us.

Burlingame also appears to be trying to make it seem like that was the only inappropriate cost Wallace tried to make us pay. Burlingame neglected to mention the $769 in airline tickets and $222 in hotel bills, both coming from a time before the city had hired Wallace to be its master developer.

Or how about the $155 in alcoholic drinks for which Wallace asked for reimbursement, covering the costs of drinks for him, his partner Costa Bajjali, Councilman Mike Woolston, City Manager Mark Rohr, CART Chairman Jane Cage,and Chamber employee (and future Wallace-Bajjali employee) Gary Box.

And the idea that Wallace-Bajjali failed in Joplin because of interference is ludicrous. Why should David Wallace have been able to accomplish something in Joplin he was never able to do anywhere else?  His record is filled with one failure after another, with other people having to pick up the pieces when he has long since departed.

While not wanting to question Anson Burlingame's mental and emotional makeup, it appears that his slavish devotion to David Wallace, Mark Rohr, and C> J. Huff, among others, comes primarily because they were willing to listen to him and willing to share with him some of their ideas. 

The Joplin Globe, meanwhile, continues to aid and abet this slap in the face to serious opinion writers and columnists because Burlingame is serving as the attack dog to go after whoever is harming the people who are pulling the strings for Publisher Michael Beatty and Editor Carol Stark.

That list includes the five city council members who voted to fire Mark Rohr, the new board of education members who finally managed to rid the school district of C. J. Huff, and the professional investigators, both Thomas Loraine and the state auditing team who revealed that the elite, non-elected "community leaders" and the elected officials and hired administrators who are in league with them have feet of clay.

Who knows, maybe the Globe will run a letter to the editor that agrees with the findings of the city audit. Perhaps they can shovel it into one of their weekday editions when no one will see it.

A signing for my book Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado will be held this Saturday, August 29, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Always Buying Books.

Copies of the book are available at Always Buying Books, Changing Hands Book Shoppe, and the Book Guy in Joplin, Pat's Books in Carthage, and Cato's Connection in Lamar.

The book is also available in e-book and paperback formats from


Anonymous said...

What does Burlingame get out of this? Why in the hell does he try so hard to defend such corrupt individuals? I don't get it?!

Turner is a mere blogger said...

I don't see what you have to whine about, Turner. Anson used to run a blog and ended up censoring "trolls" who made fun of him.

And you run a blog or two and have always censored "trolls" who make fun of you and your pretensions. Especially recently.

If you want to jump aboard the State audit and claim that you were right all along then that is understandable. After all the rooster thinks that its crowing made the sun come up as well.

The Glob is a real newspaper and it has real reporters who draw a paycheck. Whereas you are a mere blogger who now censors conflicting opinions which used to at least make your drivel interesting. If The Glob want to post Anson's drivel and not your drivel then you will have to live with it while whining incessantly about it. Maybe The Glob just wanted to trigger some "Real Butthurt" and make you squeal.

Really? said...

It is funny how you exemplify the term "drivel" while using it in an attempt to make a point.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thing about Anson. In June, I started challenging Mr. Burlingame on his blog. I questioned his background in education, his research, etc. He hated it. I offered him alternatives and places to read and research. He would not even look at data from the state to make evaluations. I offered him an opportunity to become the expert that he truly wanted to be. In my last comment, I called him, "white noise," where no one would listen to him. He quickly deleted his blog. I am glad to say he based a couple of blogs based on what I said.

Once again, what is his experience in city government and utilizing tax payer money.

Thanks Randy for the work that you do. You do have a bias at times. I do not always agree with your opinions. However, when you print the story, you give the documents behind it.

Steve Holmes said...

I know. I know. Don't feed the troll. But in case "Turner is a mere blogger" really believes what he said:

"And you run a blog or two and have always censored "trolls" who make fun of you and your pretensions. Especially recently."

Then why did he print your comment?

"If you want to jump aboard the State audit and claim that you were right all along then that is understandable. After all the rooster thinks that its crowing made the sun come up as well."

How was Mr. Turner not right all along?

"The Glob is a real newspaper and it has real reporters who draw a paycheck. Whereas you are a mere blogger"

A blogger with a background in news. A blogger who backs up his reporting with documents and other source material. The Globe's "real reporters" either haven't told the whole story or key parts were edited out.

Your move, 12:55... if you exist.