Waxahachie Daily Light publisher calls Waxahachie residents “crazy”

Photo: Waxahachie Daily Light
Waxahachie Daily Light publisher Scott Brooks called Waxahachie residents crazy in an editorial Friday, April 17.

EDITORIAL: Maybe I shouldn't be doing this or giving them any kind of public recognition, but we're going to lambaste the Waxahachie Daily Light (WDL) for a very stupid decision made last Friday.

An opinion piece written by WDL publisher Scott Brooks on Friday, April 17 about opposition to the $125 million Waxahachie Independent School District bond proposal is completely irresponsible. Calling his readers crazy and claiming they have nothing better to do other than write on blogs, Facebook, write letters and "spewing out" words to be noticed is the most asinine thing we've seen the WDL do in a long time.

As the publisher of the Ellis County Citizen, I will not stand idly by while a local media outlet criticizes a large number of residents in this county. I will stand toe to toe against the WDL in defending the residents of Waxahachie and Ellis County. Our fellow citizens DESERVE RESPECT.

"Speaking of no-brainers, what I find crazy on a variety of levels are those who sit around with obvious time on their hands trying to explain why voting “no” is the better choice. They’ll write on blogs, on Facebook, send letters to the editor, bloviate on local websites and the like spewing out what is basically an attempt to be noticed," Brooks wrote.

"Such an approach does nothing good for a community and serves no purpose worth a community’s time to consider."

What Brooks seems to fail to understand is that the majority of these people against the bond are hardworking taxpaying residents in Waxahachie. Their opposition to the bond is no more crazy than another person's support of the bond.

Brooks also states, "Part of the conflict these folks create comes in the form of people they invite into Waxahachie from other communities. You’ve likely seen them with their hastily written posters in hand, along with a dose of audacity to line the streets of this town, imploring us to vote “no” on the referendum."

Yes, there were some out of town people participating in one of the sign waves opposing the bond but the majority were Waxahachie residents. Some residents who were participating were unaware of those people's location of residence but voiced their complaints about the out-of-towners' participation after learning of the fact.

For Brooks to lump all residents opposed to the bond with the two or three people from out of town and claim they asked the non-residents to attend is ridiculous. It is irresponsible journalism and unethical for a publisher of a newspaper to claim. The publisher's and newspaper's credibility is now in question.

"I will continue to stand there with my homemade sign, because I wasn't handed $15,000 to promote my cause. I will continue to fight for what I believe is best for the students of this district. And if you think, for a New York minute, that I am doing this for attention? Then you don't belong in the news business," Sandi Stoughton Perry stated.

Opponents of the bond haven't created a Political Action Committee (PAC). They are a group of individuals who are doing what they can with their own funds and time to voice their concerns about a very important vote coming up on May 9.

Proponents of the bond have a PAC, organized by a vice-president of Citizens National Bank (CNB), Brian Ford, and his wife, Caroline, who is a Marketing Director for CNB, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

The WDL also had the audacity to contact opponents of the bond after Brooks' opinion piece was published asking them to contribute to a story about their opposition. Seriously, does the WDL think these people believe the paper will offer fair and unbiased reporting after that gaffe by Brooks?

Brooks also stated, "I wonder often whether these people know anything about the plans behind the referendum or if their only desire is to stand by the road asking drivers to honk and vote “no.” It’s amazing how much energy is put into constantly criticizing others just to be noticed in the process."

Brooks must not have done his homework. Some of the opponents of the bond proposal attended the long range planning committee meetings and stayed involved from the beginning. They know exactly which options were considered, what was ignored and know more than most residents.

"Mr Brooks, we have been there since the beginning. We have taken abuse from people who should be for the children, and not about the money or the votes," Perry said.

"And while we haven't slammed other people, we continually get called names from people who, in between slamming us, are very happy to quote the bible. It's been a disgusting last few months, and fighting for what is best for the children should not come with such a price."

There are also members of the long range planning committee who plan to oppose the bond. However, they felt voters should have a voice.

Now that voters are being given a voice, the Waxahachie Daily Light is calling opponents crazy.

Brooks instead should have focused on the positive aspects of the bond rather than criticizing a segment of the population. When a media outlet criticizes the general public, something is seriously wrong with the leadership of that media outlet.

"No amount of name calling, bullying, or deep pockets will sway me. I will not succumb to peer pressure, nor dilute my cause with derogatory words towards another. I will be steadfast and diligent and keep challenging the status quo, as needed. That is a promise," Valerie Todd Daniel said.

Local residents who are critics of the bond proposal seem to overwhelmingly agree that Waxahachie needs a new high school. However, they are questioning various aspects of the proposal, have problems with the lack of specific information and want more answers. Many also want other options put forward or separate bonds for various aspects of the plan.

For example, the bond includes an indoor "multi-purpose" facility that will be used for sports practices. However, Waxahachie Independent Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Glenn will not provide an estimated size or cost for the facility. He has stated how much it costs to build a 10,000 square foot facility, but the district admitted that was just an example and not the proposed size.

"It is an estimate. WISD will not invest in final designs for the proposed new facility unless a bond election passes," the district said in a written statement to Ellis County Citizen.

This tells taxpayers and voters absolutely nothing about how much will be spent on the facility if the superintendent or district won't provide an approximate size. How much of your $125 million in tax dollars will be spent on an indoor practice facility?

We have emails between Dr. Glenn and the construction consultant asking to take a look at some old rock similar to that used on the Historic Ellis County Courthouse. If that is a priority over estimating various aspects of the project, then folks, we have a problem and the superintendent has his priorities backwards.

"The details of the referendum, most of which the “no — no matter what crowd” has ever bothered to analyze, justify a “yes” vote on May 9 – a resounding “yes.” The sad truth is that this town has a group of people who won’t do such an analysis if for no other reason than it would deprive them of their obsessive desire to always object," Brooks wrote in his editorial.

"Analyze the facts?! That is funny! All we have been asking for is concrete facts. Yet, all we are given is conjecture, guesstimates, and name calling. Now we can add being called crazy to the list and that is from a public figure head in our community," Daniel stated in a Facebook post to the WDL.

If the WDL and Dr. Glenn want this bond to pass, they need to focus more on releasing REAL details to the public rather than generalizations and attacks against the opposition. Because, as it stands right now, all that voters and taxpayers are receiving are generalizations and pure hatred.

Waxahachie, we are better than that!

What we are hearing is, "vote for this bond and we'll give you the real specifics later." Didn't we get that with ObamaCare?

If this bond is so good for the citizens of Waxahachie, wouldn't you think Brooks would have been focusing on the bond and its selling points to convince voters?

Instead, I guess the lesson Brooks wants to teach our future generation is to call those who disagree with your opinion names instead.