OPINION COLUMNS

The phone lines are open …

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, February 11, 2012

I’d like to address something that deals with the big story of the week: the investigation into County Commissioner Terry Ross.

Even before Tuesday’s seizure of a “playhouse,” as it is referred to in the investigator’s affidavit, rumors had been circulating around the county as to what has been going on.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

We’re not in the business of printing rumors. We don’t post something saying “unconfirmed” or information based solely from a third party. That’s why we spent most of Tuesday afternoon trying to track down the affidavit of Texas Ranger James Hicks. The document revealed many of the important details in the case.

We fully understand that there is more than one side to a story. That’s why we made repeated efforts over the past three days to contact Ross and his attorney, Barry Green.

We are aware that a statement regarding the case has been posted on a website, however we believe in confirming information with our sources before we print them. Green has not sent us a copy of that statement. He has not sent us an email saying a statement has been posted. He has not confirmed that he is the author of that statement.

Ross did not respond to the first call made Tuesday but did answer his phone Thursday. He refused to comment and said he would ask Green to call us. Messages were also left at Green’s office, but as of press time, he has not paid us the courtesy of a call to confirm the statement or answer follow-up questions that the statement clearly begs.

We believe communication is a two-way street. It’s why you’ll find letters to the editor and even online story comments on this page.

Our goal is to bring all the confirmed facts surrounding this case to light. Since it involves an elected county official, we believe it is our duty as a professional journalism institution.

We would encourage the same type of professionalism from all those involved.

PRIMARY CONCERN

We will eventually have a primary election this year.

I think.

When it will be is still anybody’s guess.

Monday was the deadline to get a map approved that would have preserved a possible April 3 primary date.

Now that is out the window.

There is still a slim chance that a primary might happen April 17, but that is only if maps can be put in place by Feb. 20, which is a little more than a week away.

Things get really sticky after that. Early voting for the May 12 city and school elections would start April 30. In counties like Wise, where electronic voting machines are used, you can’t have two elections going on at the same time.

So then you are looking at late May or early June as the next available time frame for a primary election date. But the problem there is both the state Republican and Democratic conventions are also set for early June.

There has been talk of a split primary to allow one vote in the presidential race and another for the other races. But that will also double the costs to counties who are already working under tight budgets, so the question becomes, “Who’s going to pay for it?”

In the meantime, Wise County Elections Administrator Lannie Noble and his staff must continue to watch, wait and field phone calls from people wondering why they haven’t received their voter registration card yet. Those cards can’t be created until the new maps are finished.

WALK FOR HEART HEALTH

We published our Heart Health special section in a heart health-themed issue of the Messenger recently, but we forgot to mention Walk Across Texas, a program sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

The program encourages making walking a part of your daily routine. Teams are even being formed to see who can walk the farthest “across Texas” by keeping up with the number of miles walked.

Information about the program was featured in the Wednesday, Feb. 8, issue of All Around Wise. If you missed it, you can find the column on our website at www.WCMessenger.com/wisenotes.

It’s another good way to keep those hearts strong.

7 Responses to “The phone lines are open …”

  1. Walt Partin says:

    Knox, you are losing credibility, print the press release. If you do not believe Green is the author, you are the only one in the county. You have been given access to it by Green’s office.
    Walt Partin
    Chico

  2. Rusty White says:

    Brian,

    I think you guys do a bang up job, WELL DONE!

    Except for this statement ““We don’t post something saying “unconfirmed” or information based solely from a third party”” Sadly when it comes to DUI’s how many times have you reported “ Alcohol suspected” or “driver arrested for being under the influence” is that not “unconfirmed“, but rather a “unconfirmed opinion of a public servant“? How many times have you printed so in so was arrested for DUI not even bothering to say “suspected DUI“, then after a trial so in so is found “not guilty” of the “suspected and unconfirmed” crime, do you ever print a retraction? Sadly once it is printed a citizen will carry that “unconfirmed” suspected guilty verdict for ever.

    Are the suspicions and accusations of our “Public Servants” not held to the same standards? Are they not in fact a “third party” many times openly stating a self serving and biased agenda such as “ drink and drive go to jail” in printed articles and on TV which “IS NOT“ a violation of our laws ? The same laws our “public servants” take a sworn oath to follow and “obey“? Is not their accusations “unconfirmed “ till after a trial, or are they automatically “above” the same standards of everybody else?

    Sadly we now have “” some“” “public servants” even printing the pictures of “suspected and unconfirmed” DUI arrests in the Metro-Plex. “”” YET “”” never do they print a correction when that person is found not guilty!

    So far you guys have not started using the media to convict a citizens without a trial, well done! Sadly some; solely in a disgusting display of trying to shame people in to accepting their “bigoted and biased” and unlawful self serving beliefs and agendas”, can’t say the same!

    IT IS WHAT IT IS- WE DESERVE THE ABUSE WE ACCEPT!

  3. Tracy Smith says:

    You’ve reported the facts of this case so far. I sometimes am frustrated with the reporting in Wise County, but in this case, it will be very hard to get a fair and balanced jury if Mr. Ross is charged. You should be very careful to not further influence a jury pool. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the outside details of this case, such as who/how it was reported to law enforcement. This part of the story has yet to be Reported on and I as a taxpayer would like to see some investigative reporting. These kind of Questions/answers shouldn’t be influential to an ongoing criminal investigation.

  4. Rusty White says:

    Where is the name for the last poster? Which I agree with, there is little doubt this was politically motivated. Now may be a lot more “dirt” on “EVERYBODY” will come out! Just may be we can clean house “ACROSS THE BOARD”!

    BRING IT ON!

  5. Cheryl Cole says:

    Regarding Brian Knox’s Editorial:
    Knox states, “communication is a two-way street.” Yes, it is; but newspapers are in the business of digging out the story. If I was in a horrendous car wreck, does the Messenger expect me to call them? It is the job for the newspaper to find the information, not the other way around.

    Blaming a party for not giving you information is just an excuse of laziness. The WCM tracked down the information from the Texas Ranger. The WCM sent a photographer to take the photos in Boonsville. Did the WCM get too lazy to travel 2 blocks to the attorney’s office? It is up to the WCM to get the information. It’s called JOURNALISM.

    I do not know Terry Ross. I know of his attorney, Barry Green. Most people now know how to use the internet for research. I am assuming that the WCM is aware of this because I subscribe to their on-line edition. If you search the name of the attorney, you will obtain their website. If the address & phone number matches the number that you were calling, then YES, it is their offical website. It is not an unconfirmed source.

    I suspect that there is something more happening over at the WCM. Is there a feud with Green? Whatever the story, the blame-game makes the WCM look less than professional.

    Cheryl Cole

  6. says:

    Well you can talk about how the paper received their info, and even how they reported the story. The story will read the same, the facts don’t lie. Terry Ross has been caught abusing his position as commissioner of wise county and therefore should be accountable for his actions. Period.

    Ray Alexander

  7. “Don’t shoot the Messenger” ~ Shakespeare

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