Straight Talk

HONEST talk about local issues!

Archive for the category “Local Politics”

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It is time for a change …

traffic-sign-time-for-changeI have been out of circulation for a while, the reasons for which I will not trouble you.

I have had time to think … and those who know me certainly realize that this is a dangerous thing!

The ‘Straight Talk’ franchise has existed since the early 1990’s.  It started on Q103FM in Lakeville and was revived on CATV 6 & WHDD Radio.

Unfortunately it has been confined to the internet since September 2011 after the pathetic local media teamed up with some equally pathetic local politicians to stifle FREE SPEECH which did NOT meet their sub-standards.

NOTE:  Sub-standards in this case means LIE LIKE A RUG!

I have struggled with what to do and concluded that the worst thing would be to ‘go away’.  What can I do to inform the citizenry effectively?

The result is a NEW franchise!

It is comprised of a website and a blog.  In the future it will expand into broadcasts which will be on the internet and local public television.  I would like it to be on local public radio, however the master manipulator of local public radio has ban me from that institution.  Is this not typical of NPR affiliates?  Take money from the public pot and then deny free speech to others.

Join me at the NEW BLOG!

The future of Straight Talk?

no free speechFor a number of years we gathered together on Sunday morning to discuss the issues of our area.  The live program originated from the mini studio at CATV 6 in Geer Village and was simulcast on WHDD radio.  It was later rebroadcast 3 times during the week on CATV 6.  The live program was always open for listeners to comment and debate via phone line.  Anyone was welcome to join in – no screening, no exclusions!

In August 2011 the power at Tri-State Public Communications joined forces with various local government officials and executed a plan to silence this Straight Talk nonsense.  They were successful.

Since my free speech rights were stripped by the smallest NPR affiliate in the nation and I was bullied from the management subcontractor position at CATV 6, periodically I have been asked when I might return to the public airwaves.  I am reminded of this again as I have had a number of people approach me on this topic over the last couple of weeks.

I believe we have the answer about the return to local radio since the Great and Powerful Marshall Miles has informed me that the non commercial facilities at WHDD radio in Sharon are not available for my use.

Considering that Mr. Miles also runs the public access television station, it appears a bit far fetched to believe that he and his partners (The Goodmans) would allow me to use that facility either.  After all I have criticized them for their ways.

Imagine … all of this time I actually thought I lived in America!

You might ask why I have opened this topic.  For those of you who follow this blog, you are aware that I have attempted to keep the program alive via this venue.  Mr. Miles cannot turn me off here.

My next consideration is to launch the program again via YouTube.  As long as I can use that service for free, it will work.  I do not have a sugar momma to finance me and I have not formed a non profit organization so that I may take your public dollars to further my cause.  I prefer to do it honestly.

I suppose I am thinking out loud in an effort to find out what you think.  I admit that I am wondering if the public which seems to want the old show back on the air would be willing to put pressure to our good friends at Tri-State Public Communications and ask them to back away from their restrictions and allow me to broadcast once again.

I also wonder if those who place their underwriting dollars with WHDD radio realize that they are supporting suppression of free speech.

WHDD … They seemed so disappointed today …

disappointedfaceMr. Miles tried to make a news report which would show how the passage of the Region One budget was somehow a glitch.  He pointed to the strong YES votes in Kent and Salisbury.  He then combine the rest of the Towns to show how they actually (in his world) voted NO as a unit.  It was pathetic!

The Breakfast Club was nothing short of a snooze festival this morning (6/1/2012) and the depression was obvious.  Mr. Miles and Ms. Goodman did not succeed on their second attempt to manipulate public opinion via their non profit, non commercial public radio entity which is partially financed with your tax dollars.

Via the cloaked WHDD blog, otherwise known as the Region One Report, they have taken pot shots at members and alternates to the Region One Board of Education in the past day.  They announced their intention to continue the long running bashing of the Region One administrators and those members of the Board who do not submit to their ideology.

The enterprise known as Tri-State Public Communications has put itself into a questionable position during the past 2 years.

I think it is time to take a deep look into this organization and its REAL intentions.

Everyone needs to remember that these folks control two-thirds of the available media in our area and exhibit a determination to manipulate, not to mention limit access when it comes to those who do not share their vision.

Considering that the WHDD license from the FCC is coming due for renewal in the near future, maybe it is time for the public to get a view of this organization which is true … not one that has been conjured up by Mr. Miles.  You will have an opportunity to tell the FCC what you think of their broadcasting and how you perceive it services our area.

I should also note that they control the Public Access Television unit in North Canaan.  There is an interesting story behind that as well.  Unfortunately the citizen organization which allows you to express your concerns about that is manipulated by Tri-State Public Communications and some of their local political friends.

How about this … Tri-State Public Communications – Truth or Consequences?

Local NPR–WHDD–Using your tax dollars to influence a vote …

money_down_toilet-2Your local NPR affiliate, WHDD has been nothing short of bold in using your tax dollars to influence not one, but two public votes on the Region One budget.  Fortunately his energy failed this evening (5/31) and the budget passed.

WHDD radio obtains your tax dollars in various forms.

The citizens of Sharon subsidize WHDD operations by renting the 67 Main Street facilities to this entity for a substantial discount considering what the taxpayers fork out each year in a mortgage.  This amounts to slightly over $20,000 each year.  The citizens of Sharon also finance and maintain the generator system for WHDD.

All of you subsidize WHDD in the form of grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  Mr. Miles and the Goodman family received grants in the 2010 and 2011 cycles from CPB.

In 2010 they received a Radio Community Service grant in the amount of $128,581 and a Fiscal Stabilization Grant of $8,750.

The 2011 cycle produced a Radio Community Service grant of $101,445.

I presume that CPB considers political advocacy and lobbying to be an acceptable practice.  Opps … so sorry … They do NOT!

In fact, they look down upon this type of activity.

The sad reality is that so many sleazy organizations file paperwork with the government while taking a known risk.  I learned this when I attempted to pursue the erroneous filings which Tri-State Public Communications submitted to the Connecticut DPUC for 4 years.

These types of organizations assume they are covered by having politicians (in pocket) who will will roadblock complaints and/or hope that anyone who is clever enough to see through their less than honorable practices will not have the courage to file complaints against them.

It is the complaints which open investigations.

While I have often wondered about this process, I have come to realize it is a clever mechanism to weed out the nuisance issues and get to the real perpetrators of deception in the non profit world.

This especially applies in an area like ours where people are either fooled by the chief clown, afraid of some repercussion which might occur, or simply don’t know all of the rules and assume that the chief clown is right.

Such is the case with our good friends at WHDD radio.  The chief clown performs for the two paying members of his audience … good folks that they are!  They pony up cash, accept his rhetoric and have no idea what is coming.

On that note … There is more to come …

VOTE YES ON THE REGION ONE BUDGET–May 31, 2012

yes for schoolsMay 31 is the second referendum on the Region One School District budget. The polls are open from 12 noon until 8 PM.

The budget was defeated on May 8 due to false information, personal assaults, and outright manipulation of access to the airwaves by our local NPR affiliate, WHDD.

WHDD radio was advocating the defeat based on a one year extension to the top administrator’s contracts which had been approved by the Region One Board of Education. While this has been common practice in the Region for years, the radio station spun it to sound like an evil conspiracy.

Regardless, the Region One administrators refused their contractual extensions in order to save the school budget, a move which I find admirable considering the personal brow beatings they had taken at the hands of the radio station.

At the same moment, the Region One Board of Education sliced over $270,000 from the budgets, and have sent a budget package with a 0.07% increase back to the voting machines.

Somehow this has still not pleased our local NPR affiliate and its friends in Falls Village. They are calling for yet another defeat.

While I am all for spirited debate and scrutiny pertaining to the spending of taxpayer dollars, I do not believe in manipulation of the media or the settlement of personal vendettas using public dollars and our school system as the punching bag.

The budget which has been sent to referendum on May 31 is honest and responsible.

The contracts we have with our administrators are in force until 2014. They were signed in 2011. No matter what happens with the budget, those contracts will not change.

Does our process need review? Possibly. However this discussion is best done at board of education meetings.

To do this in a referendum situation is costing $7,000 or more each time. Every one of those dollars is deducted from the education budget.

I urge you to vote YES

WHDD officially limits access to its NPR facility …

PersonaNonGrataMarshall Miles, the self appointed President of WHDD Radio, the “smallest minded” NPR affiliate in the nation, has reached a new low.

Mr. Miles has been using WHDD radio as his own personal bully pulpit to bash the Region One School administrators.  He records and broadcasts his personal opinion, advocates on political issues, and denies others access to the public facility which he exercises dictatorial control over.  I am sure this is exactly what the FCC envisioned with non commercial educational station licenses, and would certainly think that the IRS intended that non profit 501c3 organizations should deny access to public broadcast facilities which were tax exempt and partially financed with public dollars.

NPR certainly approves of affiliates who coerce local school districts and denies those who disagree with the station management access to their publicly supported facilities.

Having grown tired of Mr. Miles airwave domination, I decided to engage WHDD radio on this issue.

On Mon, May 28, 2012 at 2:32 PM, Mike Flint – Straight Talk Program <mike@straighttalkmedia.com> wrote:

To WHDD Radio:

I would like to request rebuttal time to the ‘personal’ editorial currently airing on your station. The editorial advocates the defeat of the Region One Budget.

Michael Flint

The response:

May 30 5:30 AM   (my note:  this is the date on the email, I cannot explain it)

Mr. Flint:

Rebuttal time has been offered to Phil Hart Region One chairperson, and to the ABC thru Phil Hart (we are NOT required by law to do so, but we have offered it to Phil Hart and the ABC). Please record your rebuttal and email it to us via You Send It or some other large file transfer program. However, due to your continual, published, negative, abusive running commentary against WHDD, Tri-State Public Communications, Marshall Miles and Jill and James Goodman you are Persona non grata (you are NOT welcome to record it here at our facility). Once you have recorded it, as long as it meets our audio, accuracy, and programming standards it will be be considered for air time.

Please have the recording in the form of an MP3 file with attached script for our review.

Marshall Miles

I am not welcome … this from Mr. Free Speech!

The response also rambled on about the Fairness Doctrine which is not germane to my request.  It appears that Mr. Miles puts this into the email so that he may make it appear that I am uninformed, not to mention as a mechanism to validate his denial of facility access.

I made a further request:

On Tue, May 29, 2012 at 8:15 AM, Michael J Flint <smallcarp@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

To WHDD Radio:

Thank you for your response.

You have referred to standards concerning audio, accuracy, and programming.

Would you please provide me a copy of these standards.

Thank you.

Michael Flint

The response:

Mr. Flint:

Four simple unwritten rules:

1) No personal attacks

2) Statements of fact not supposition

3) Disclaimers of the commentary being your personal opinion front and rear of audio

4) Clear, acceptable audio audio quality

Marshall Miles

It appears that Mr. Miles makes the rules as he goes along and calls all of the shots.  While WHDD and Tri-State Public Communications may have two other directors (the Goodmans) they obviously have little if any input into the operations.  Apparently they are only there for the money.

I must assume that he will be making all of the decisions on this issue and therefore anything I might submit will be rejected for some reason he will conjure up.  If he were to play it you can rest assured it would be relegated to some far off time slot and never see near the amount of airplay his personal opinion gets.

I am also wondering if the same rules apply to my access at CATV 6 considering he is also the dictator at that facility.

Let this be a lesson … Don’t mess with the Great and Powerful Marshall Miles.

Here is a PDF of the email communications.

Thursday–May 31–Pass the Region One Budget

ThumbsUpEven if you are out of town you may still vote in this referendum.  I am surprised to learn that many people did not know there were absentee ballots for a referendum.  Your town clerk can accommodate you.

Since the message of May 8 was sent, the Region One Budget has been cut and the RSSC administrators have turned down the one year extensions on their contracts.  As far as I was able to understand, WHDD Radio advocated the first defeat based on the contract extensions.  As we have noted the radio station is still not happy and they are advocating yet another defeat.  Even the Lakeville Journal seems to have moved in the direction of the radio station’s opinion by failing to firmly advocate for a budget ‘yes’ vote in its weak editorial of May 24.

The Region One Budget has moved from a 1.97% increase to one of 0.07%($10,000).  The reduction is a package of cuts combined with grant funding increases.  Remember that the Region One Budget is actually three budgets, all of which provide services to each of our 6 communities, including some special education to our private schools.  We are told by those we hire to operate our school system that the reduction proposal will not adversely impact programs or facility conditions.  Considering they are professionals I will assume we can take their word for it.

The Region One Board has shown that it is conscious of current economics and student enrollment declines by the way in which it has approached budgeting during the past few years.  I have no reason to believe they will change that direction.  They have my vote of confidence on this.

As for the contracts, there are those who persist in maintaining that the contracts are somehow new.  The contracts are signed documents from June 2011 which are in force for three years until June 2014.  No matter how many times we may defeat the budget, those contracts will continue to exist.  Even more interesting is that those contracts allow for salary increases each year.

Since a large part of WHDD’s complaints have centered around the Superintendent’s contract, take a look at what it says.  This is the current contract … the one of those I referred to in the previous paragraph.  Compare it to what you are being told by a highly manipulated media.

If we continue to allow this public lynching of our administrators, we shall wake up one day to find that no one wants to work in this district.  The Lakeville Journal accuses the administrators and the Board Chairman of wearing blinders.  They criticize them for not listening to the public.

Not once does the Lakeville Journal point out the same actions by their bully friend at the helm of WHDD radio.  They never point out that WHDD has setup much of the ill will which the public perceives.

I suggest you give your support with a YES vote on May 31.  You might also talk to your friends and neighbors about doing the same.  The polls are open from 12 noon to 8 PM.

Once you have done that, maybe you should consider what we do to return fair and unbiased media to our area.

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