You really can’t make this stuff up. There is actually a letter to the editor of The Laker Pioneer this morning praising their slanted coverage of the “Our Minnetrista” scandal from an “Our Minnetrista” member, Wendy Applegate, who was identified as such in subpoenaed emails discussing their illegal financial scheme. See page 5 of the Laker Pioneer July 27 edition. The author also wrote a letter to the Laker editor back on September 10, 2014 announcing the formation of Our Minnetrista and a fundraiser for them.
Wake up Minnetrista.
The above email was trial exhibit #61 and is public information in case number OAH 71-0325-35774.
Another letter to the Laker editor titled “Kudos to Local Paper for Minnetrista Coverage” was in last week’s paper from Deanna Montang who is notably an “Our Minnetrista” member as well and appears as a recipient in the trial exhibit email above.
Also note that at the July 15 Minnetrista council meeting several people listed in this trial exhibit were the individuals speaking in support of the mayor and two council members fined for campaign finance violations. Of course they support the “Our Minnetrista” public officials. They are “Our Minnetrista” leaders.
Slanted Laker Pioneer coverage of Minnetrista council meeting
There is an art to burying a story
The Laker Pioneer has this down almost as well as their artistry in burying stories that are damaging to the public officials they protect. Their July 20 article covering Minnetrista’s July 15 council meeting is blatantly misleading when it says the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) found “no criminal activity took place” on the part of the Minnetrista-gate Respondents. Someone needs to tell the Laker that the OAH is a civil court and can’t rule or convict anyone criminally. The evidence of criminal activity found during the discovery phase of the civil trial was not even heard by the OAH. It has, however, been submitted to the county Sheriff’s office and county attorney. That is a fact, not a rumor as the Laker asserts.
The Laker, in their predictable “unbiased” fashion, quoted only supporters of the mayor and council member Respondents. Not one of the many people that spoke demanding their resignations was quoted in the story.
It then goes on to say the mayor “promised that there would be no debate,” ostensibly to seem fair since one of the sitting council members was the Complainant in the case, but then [unilaterally] went on to give “corrections to some of what was said” and made an “attempt to put to rest certain rumors…” And people wonder why I blog.
A gentleman was quoted in the story saying we shouldn’t continue “to beat a 5-year-old dead horse.” I’m sure the reporter knows these violations were from the 2018 election which wasn’t even a year ago. Violations from 2014 were litigated as well because the role of Our Minnetrista was concealed and prevented their discovery back then.
“We take ownership of this error,” the mayor is quoted as saying and elsewhere the violations are referred to as an “administrative error.” Translation: “We are unapologetic and do not admit to any wrongdoing whatsoever and never will.” The OAH doesn’t impose a $5,000 fine because of an “error”. The council candidate which the “Our Minnetrista” member, Jane Norling, spoke of that evening (which the story conveniently leaves out) who was fined for an inadvertent contribution limit “error” last year was only fined $250, hardly comparable to the seriousness of these violations the judges said gave “an unfair advantage” to Mayor Whalen and Councilors Mortenson and Tschumperlin. They cheated to win and see nothing wrong with it.
Did anyone notice the headline typeface on this slanted piece was twice the size of the ones used on the buried stories about the original allegations and the judgments handed down in June? Intentional? I’m sure it was just an “administrative error.”
If there is a remnant of professional journalism left in America it certainly won’t be found at the Laker-Pioneer.
Related Post: There’s an art to burying a story
MISLEADING LAKER HEADLINE. If you read the Laker today you may have seen the headline “Golf carts no longer prohibited…not permitted either.” Minnetrista’s city code doesn’t specifically “permit” all kinds of things we do every day like jogging on city roads or even walking on them. That doesn’t mean we can’t do these things, they simply aren’t prohibited and that’s exactly how it will be for golf carts. They will no longer be prohibited in the city code.
This headline incorrectly leads readers to think residents will still not be allowed to use their golf carts on city roads (if they read only the headline which many people do). The word “permitted”, as used in the Laker headline, technically refers to the city officially regulating and issuing “permits” for the operation of golf carts on city roads. The city council has chosen, wisely in my view, not to do that, which means residents will be free to drive their golf carts on city roads without violating Minnetrista’s city code.
City staff and the Mayor were advocating for the regulation and permitting of golf carts and would still like to see that happen. After all, when hasn’t more government regulation been a good thing? I’m disappointed in the Laker for misleading Minnetrista residents.