It's High Noon for the San Angelo Standard-Times

 

The San Angelo Standard-Times Editor-in-chief Mike Kelly attacked me Sunday for pursuing a story about the trash contract. The headline of the op-ed screamed, “Unfounded story misses the real issue.”

This was Kelly’s attempt to defend his close, personal buddies at the City of San Angelo.

Me, a local “blogger,” Kelly snarls, with help from Wayne Dolcefino, a 30-time Emmy Award Winning journalist, “have questioned whether the refunds owed have actually been paid. Those allegations, we have concluded, are groundless,” Kelly opines.

Groundless. That’s what Kelly wrote.

How is it groundless that we discovered over a quarter million dollars of your money parked in some Republic Services bank account collecting interest? Neither the City of San Angelo nor the Gannett newspaper have lifted a finger to try to find that money’s rightful owners.

What is more, through a Freedom of Information Act request, a law that Kelly now denounces as outdated and in need of reform, we asked the City for all correspondence between the San Angelo Standard-Times and the City regarding Republic Services since October 2016, when Dolcefino originally contacted the paper with the results of his preliminary investigation of the trash deal.

City Attorney Brandon Dyson responded just yesterday, “There are no records responsive to your request.”

How can Kelly, the editor of the storied newspaper of record, declare in a bold headline our stories are groundless when he hasn’t bothered to look at the evidence?

Instead of taking a cheap shot at me for doing my job for my readers, Kelly should learn why the City disregarded the paper’s 2014 admonishments to put the brakes on the trash contract until the overcharges issue was resolved. The City didn’t heed the paper’s counsel. But things have changed. Now that the newspaper is under Gannett, with a part-time publisher, it is a hollow replica of its former self.

And he calls me the “blogger?"

Thursday at high noon, we will release our next video exposing the local newspaper’s complacency in reporting the trash issue. There’s so much more to this story, so stay tuned.

Our response to Mike Kelly's assault:
[[{"fid":"27763","view_mode":"wysiwyg","type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"MOVE ALONG.. NOTHING TO SEE HERE… SURE!","height":"562","width":"750","class":"media-element file-wysiwyg"}}]]

In the meantime, we’re looking for folks who believe they are still owed money by Republic Services for the alleged overcharges prior to the 2014 new trash contract. According to information unearthed in our “unfounded” investigation, over a quarter of a million dollars are unclaimed. If you think you are owed money, fill out this form. We’re working hard to get that money into the hands of its rightful owners. Click here to submit a claim.

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Comments

Joe, it sounds to me like someone protesteth too much. Business has been bad, and someone else never wants to be wrong. I hear that there is no such thing as bad publicity. That could backfire on some.
I hope their gamble works in your favor. You have done some very good things in this community.

Joe,

I've stopped reading the Standard Times and even stopped visiting gosanangelo.com for some time now. I know many other people that have done the same. The news you bring usually seems to objectively state the facts, and that's what I like about sanangelolive.com. It seems you've gotten a little upset over someone jabbing at your professionalism, but I implore you to just let it go. By all means, continue on with the investigation, but be sure you continue doing it objectively.

San Angelo LIVE brings competition to the news industry in San Angelo, and the Standard Times is feeling the pressure. Just keep your head up and keep doing the amazing work you've been doing! :-)

The Sub Standard Times has gone from actually being a real newspaper to just something that I had no idea what, until the stupid fraze, " fake news " became a thing!
When they shut down the printing here and then the writing & formatting, well , it no longer was a San Angelo newspaper. Joe, you have done a good job at filling the void that had been here long before you and your News organization came along. As far as the trash debacle, our mayor, city council, and city manager's office were all in on this brotherinlaw deal from the start. In my opinion, not only should they all be held accountable, they should be held to same standard as citizens, and legal actions should be taken. But, it is a puzzlement why next to no one steps up to file a claim for being over charged. No one speaks out, about the tax payers money. No one urges the district attorney's office to start an investigation. Yes, a puzzlement, for sure!
Keep poking the bear in the eye, Joe. I feel certain you on the right path & you are about to break through to the truth. Then the $#1t will hit the fan. And I for one will be watching on your site for all the updates!

Let me see if I have this right,

Before recycling, waste collection was done twice a week, in alleys (where available) and picked up not only household garbage but also normal bulk items (yard waste) such as grass clippings, branches, etc. Everyone was happy except possibly Republic Services. Then comes recycling which is a commendable effort to reduce material going into the landfill.

With recycling we were given two containers, one for household garbage; the other to recycle metal, paper and plastics. Collections were reduced to once a week but still required two trucks so this equals the twice a week collection we once had. But the rub is now Republic Services wants the yard waste to be in the same container as the garbage. Apparently the part about yard waste was not adequately communicated, either to residents or Republic employees. Customers left bags of yard waste by the collection containers and frequently the bags were picked up despite not being in the container. Were this to have continued it would not be much different than before. Republic Services must have seen the ability to further complicate the process while adding to their profit potential.

Fast forward a couple of years, Republic Services and the City Council blesses you with a new contract that reduces recycle collection to every other week and adds bulk pick up to the alternate week. Bulk pick up now apparently (according to Republic Services) will include furniture and appliances (how often are you disposing of them) in addition to the yard waste. So those with multiple bags of grass clippings each week can look forward to storing them an extra week waiting for bulk pick up.

Oh, I almost forgot, residents are already paying a fifty cent surcharge because sufficient material is not being recycled. To help ease this pain, City Council gives Jeremy Miller, city solid waste administrator, authority to remove recycling bins from properties that are unable, more appropriately unwilling, to comply with the recycling requirements thinking this will eliminate contamination. Possibly true, but why not bring offenders into compliance through an increasing level of fines? Recycling is not that complicated.

City Council is also requiring Republic Services to have a customer services representative at its local office but when will that happen? Based on past “monitoring” of Republic Services it is best to believe it when you see it. Republic Services continues to be the beneficiary of the City Council giving them the ability to operate as a monopoly for commercial trash collection. Why was this necessary? Couple all of this with the city not being able to produce evidence of its own audits or oversight of the contract with Republic Services makes you wonder how all this progress is making it better for the citizens.

Finally, there are those asking who is paying an investigative reporter that is digging up all of problems with Republic Services. If he is able to identify a problem, lead to its correction and improve conditions for San Angelo then, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn who is paying him.

Stay tuned for more "progress" from your City Council!

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