May 25, 2015

Beaver Countian Will Ignore Media Policy & Boycott Propaganda Minister

propaganda

The Beaver Countian will ignore any policy passed by the County Board of Commissioners limiting the media’s access to public employees and will boycott any Minister of Propaganda (our words) hired to act as an official county mouthpiece.

The Beaver County Board of Commissioners is considering a resolution that would prohibit public employees from speaking directly to the press, and would require the media to go through an official spokesperson (who the county would newly hire) for information. County employees who violate this policy could face disciplinary action.

The Board of Commissioners did not consult with representatives of the media while crafting its proposed policy.

The Beaver Countian has notified the Board of Commissioners and the county’s law department that it is arranging for legal representation for any public employee who is disciplined for speaking to the media or who wishes to preempt a county media policy.

Given the current climate of corruption that exists in Beaver County, which has been exposed at great length by the investigative reporting of this publication, the timing of the Commissioners’ proposed media policy is suspect at best.

Here is an example of the type of reporting the Beaver Countian is able to accomplish by not going through a Minister of Propaganda (aka official spokesperson):

The new media policy initiative was proposed and set into motion by Commissioner Dennis Nichols. Commissioner Nichols became pissed off back on June 1st of last year when the Beaver Countian reported the county was considering spending $350,000 to buy a burnt-out old building at 804 Turnpike Street. The location formerly housed the law offices of Reed, Luce, Tosh, Wolford and Douglass before catching fire and becoming far less valuable (the Beaver Countian even published pictures of the structure devaluing in a burst of smoke and flames).

What remains of the structure belongs to Harold Reed, who supported Nichols’ election and is purportedly prepared to help support his reelection efforts as well.

Plans to buy the building stalled after the Beaver Countian’s reporting caused a public outcry over the deal (the public wasn’t expected to know about the transaction until after it was already completed). Just two weeks later, on June 17th of last year, the Beaver Countian reported that Commissioner Dennis Nichols instructed the county’s law department to research the crafting of a policy to prevent public employees from speaking to the press.

The sale of Friendship Ridge and various antics of Sheriff George David kept the law department preoccupied and slowed the research and implementation of that policy until now.

What’s happening now? You guess it: The County Commissioners spent part of yesterday’s work session once again discussing the possibility of buying that burnt-out old building belonging to Nichols’ campaign supporter Harold Reed.

Commissioner Joe Spanik has previously insinuated that Commissioner Nichols could be getting an indirect kickback on the deal. Commissioner Nichols has previously denied the real estate transaction had anything to do with his push for a media policy (despite the “reoccurring coincidences”), and lashed back at Spanik over his thinly veiled allegations of indirect kickbacks.

Surely an official county spokesperson would never have let you, the taxpayers of Beaver County, know any of that.

The public should be thankful there are some honest people who care about this county working in our courthouse and should demand they not be silenced.

About The Author

Profile photo of John Paul

John Paul is a Beaver County native and the founder of BeaverCountian.com He reports full-time for the Beaver Countian, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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23 Comments

  1. NO MORE

    FUCK YOU DENNIS NICHOLS!! FUCK YOU COMMISSIONERS! WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR COURTHOUSE! ITS TIME THE PEOPLE OF BEAVER COUNTY TAKE IT BACK!

     
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  2. Profile photo of Nikki
    Nikki

    Isn’t the government supposed to have SOME element of transparency? Instead, with this whole new “minister of propaganda” (which would mean creating a new position, paid by YOUR TAX DOLLARS to lie to your faces), Beaver County is starting to sound more and more like Russia or North Korea. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?!?!

    Personally, hiring someone to lie to you, and be paid to do so by your tax dollars is one of the BIGGEST slaps in the face I can think of in quite some time……

     
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    1. Profile photo of Raven
      Raven

      Well said, Nikki. I don’t know what to say, because this proposed propaganda policy is so completely wrong at face value, and I should want to check the legality and precedence of it elsewhere. I am shocked, John Paul, but please stay on top of it. Napolean wasn’t the only pig who changed the sign on the side of the”Animal Farm” barn, and these pigs surely are not “more equal” than anyone else.

       
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  3. Progressive

    We the people have to realize that we are in control. Publically elected officials have to realize they are servants and NOT Masters. They have to tell us what they are doing , how much it cost, and ask us if we want it. They do NOT have a checkbook with unlimited funding. Nor the authority to make government a personal cash cow for themselves. The public also needs to realize this and take appropriate action. Without a media that is free to report on all positions, the first amendment protections are violated. A Democracy will fail without a FREE PRESS.

     
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    1. jaacee

      This is very chilling to freedom of the press, and a real slap in the face to the transparency that is the first rule of good government. I’m very diappointed that Nichols would introduce such a stifling rule. Hopfully the two other commissioners will vote it down. He must think he’s in the Obama White House!!!

       
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  4. Diddy

    I agree, as usual with the content of this article but JP, please consider a couple revisions to get back to some journalistic standards. The “pissed off” and “burnt oit piece of junk” stuff along with a couple other references makes it sound more like a rant than the important piece of news it is!

     
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    1. Voiceless

      judging by the photo he used at the top of his post i suspect John Paul intended this one to be a rant hahaha

       
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  5. TAX PAYER

    Nichols can go crawl under the rock he came out of…It’s called freedom off SPEECH…Why can they say any old lie and not an employee? It’s usually the employee thats telling the truth. It’s like your taking our rights away, Only the commissioners can tell us what? LIES, NOT WITH MY TAX DOLLARS. I have a right to know what’s going on , we Elected you and we can also replace you….Tell NICHOLS to forget about that burned out building that he wants to buy from his FRIEND with my tax dollars, I have a couple of friends I’d like to take care of too, but not with the peoples tax dollars…FREEDOM OF SPEECH….

     
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  6. Profile photo of spikeonline1
    spikeonline1

    The people in the court house are entitled to same constitutional protection of the right to speak as the rest of us. This is an affront to all veterans who served to protect our rights and more evidence of all the people that work in our court house that dodged the draft and or did not follow the Veterans Preference Act. Good job JP. Spike

     
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    1. ObservingTheB.S.

      I would assume that they would make the employees, after this is in place, sign some sort of confidentiality agreement. Therefore, they would not be able to talk without risk of disciplinary action. Which, of course, people would sign because they need the job. Just think of the horrible things good people down there would have to endure from the powers that be without the risk of someone going public.

       
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  7. boatman

    The people of Beaver County need to keenly sift through information and VOTE! That is the power to make change.

     
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    1. Profile photo of Nikki
      Nikki

      As long as people are voting straight party tickets, things will NEVER change. People need to vote on the persons merits, work performance, and what they do for the people that they represent, NOT on if they have a (D) or (R) after their names.

      That is the ONLY way things will change.

       
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  8. Profile photo of Silence_Dogood
    Silence_Dogood

    If this were a privately-held company, I would be irritated, but there’s nothing that could be done about it. Considering the fact that this is our county government that’s trying to keep people from talking to the media and making our courthouse far less transparent, I’m sickened. I honestly grow to hate this county more and more every day. From the increase in my property taxes to the antics of Crybaby David to the fact that our county government is becoming more shady every day, I must admit that I’m growing weary and feel that I need a reprieve.

    I think the saddest thing is that things won’t be changing anytime soon because people in this county are so insistent on voting straight party line instead of actually learning about the candidates. Dr. Ben Carson made a few comments last week that really struck a chord with me, (I’m Paraphrasing) “the reason this country is in the condition it is now nobody takes the time to get to know a candidate. They get into the voting booth and they either look for a D or R or a name that sounds familiar to them.”

    It’s a sad state that we’re in where you can walk up to just about any teen in the street and they can tell you who all the candidates are on this season of Big Brother, but if you ask about something like Benghazi, the IRS, or anything of that nature, they’re completely dumbfounded.

     
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  9. Profile photo of medinfo2000
    medinfo2000

    That stench you smell isn’t emanating from the proposed site of the future cracker plant, but from the bowels of local political machinations.

    Just because someone questions spending over a quarter million tax-payer dollars for a burned-out building, which just happens to belong to a former colleague on the Brighton Township Board of Supervisors, is no reason to attempt to stifle Freedom of the Press.

    This problem is two-fold:

    First is the method of awareness. Why isn’t the BC Times making an issue of this? They should be LOUDLY questioning this move to limit the Freedom of the Press. Two weeks since the sheriff’s trial and they’re still mum on the Democratic Party refusing to back David’s re-election bid?

    What the hell is wrong with you Fitzgerald? And you wonder why your circulation’s down? Whose pocket are you in?

    Secondly, and sadly, is the lack of the public’s desire to know. John Q Public does NOT know what is happening (see first above), and even if he does, he just does NOT care.

    The politicos know this, and that’s why they keep smiling. And we just keep bending over.

     
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  10. truth

    Where just glad he isn’t in Brighton twp anymore and to be honest republicans don’t like him once they know him through working with him, his family couldn’t wait to get away.

     
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  11. tom

    DOESN’T SURPRISE ME THE COURTHOUSE IS FULL OF PEOPLE LOOKING OUT FOR THEMSELVES EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE ELECTED TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTY. I MY SELF ALREADY MADE UP MY MIND FROM NOW ON I WILL VOTE FOR ANYONE BUT THE INCUMBENT IN THAT POSITION

     
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  12. Steve Dugas

    I don’t like corruption either but there is a right way to get rid of it they call it voting or running for office your self
    Not by causing trouble and harassing people or making up crazy things

     
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  13. sam morocco

    This has nichols “the conservative” right winger showing his true Republican roots meaning its ok if you have an interest in it anyone else is wrong

    All one needs to do is see his grey roots and the obnoxious hair

     
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  14. Diddy

    More often than not I agree with the content of the page and applaud the stories. In essence, I do with this story as well, it’s hugely important. However this is written like an editorial and way too emotional. The “pissed off” and “burnt out old building” along with some other references aren’t the way to write a story with journalistic integrity and I can see how it would perpetuate feelings of this site being a smear job.

     
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  15. Profile photo of fineberg
    fineberg

    You can’t tell the players without a program. Step right up. Program Here! A special program that predicts the future, helps you place your wager on sure bets, almost guaranteed! Make a mint or just a friendly proposition to feel better. To wit:

    Re: County Media Policy for employees: The early line is “can’t miss” backing the 1st Amendment. Even odds on a local course. A sure thing on a Federal track. Insider tip: Whiile a PRIVATE enterprise may squeak out a dark horse victory by a nose in stifling comments from the hired help on a local course, all bets on a GOVERNMENT win on a Federal raceway are a donation to the bookies. Handicapper’s advice: Mortgage the ranch on free speech.

    Re: The Sheriff’s re-election: Emotional bettors will wager their hearts, no matter what, even in the face of certain loss. A blown bet. Experienced gamblers will stay away waiting better odds until the field thins. This is a two-race parlay. Bet to win the primary AND the general election. The primary field of wannabees is projected to be crowded. This is a huge advantage for the incumbent favorite (as in handicapping, not as may or may not be affected by public scorn). Any incumbent loves a crowded field, so as to dilute the needed margin of victory. Even if there is an alternate minor league primary at stake, the same applies. Ergo, even a thinly supported front-runner could sweep both primaries, assuming propensities for clever manipulations. Hot tip: Expect a primary victory for the incumbent on at least one party ballot, if not both. Handicapper’s Wild Card Bet: Always looking for the miracle wager upon which to finally retire, a risk taker will hold out for one serious option of a truly independant candidate who does his/her homework on the very doable exercise of being officially placed on the general election ballot for November 2015 as an independant, and not as a “write in” (aka, “loser”). Though any such frisky candidate probably shouldn’t ignore the challenge of the primaries, if they focus early on meeting the requirements of forcing their name onto the general election ballot for November 2015, thereby appealing to disgruntled registered party voters AND the larger pool of independant voters, just may tip the advantage to such candidate. Bettor’s Best Bet: Don’t waste money predicting the victor in the primaries. If a viable independant candidate knows how to make it on the general election ballot–and has legs–Go heavy for an upset.

    Re: Whistle Blowers suit in County Court: Hmmmmm. Outcome may seem pre-ordained, despite pious objectivity. Unless the local court comes to a logical conclusion that there is at least the “appearence” of conflict, bet with the House. Otherwise, avoid any wager unless there’s a horse-faced Judge from another stable. Just the same, recent past experience on out-of-towner appointments of unbaised, impartial, detached judicial overseers taints the usually expected tilt towards an unspoiled review of the facts at hand by a newbie. Hot tip: Avoid the gamble. The House isn’t built to lose. No bet.

    Re: Buying a Burned Out Building: Why spend money (public or private) for a 100′ by 100′ lot with a structure that has to be demolished, particularly if you have no need for the dirt? Long term thinkers may argue, “It’s a primo location maybe some day. Let’s throw $325,000 at the owner. Maybe they’ll bite.” Who wouldn’t? Betting line: It’s not chump change. Prudent government leaders should pass on the opportunity, especially in times better served by frugality. Bet “No Go” if prudence drives you. Otherwise, demand 100 to 1 odds on a light, long-shot wager that the deal goes through.

    Re: New First Deputy: 50/50. Pick ’em.

    Re: Cyber hijinks with educational dollars: Seems like a private commercial matter over theft of data, except that its all funded from the public trough. Take public money. Operate as a private, commercial enterprise. Steal/Borrow students from struggling school districts and charge them for the pleasure. Have a budgetary line item of $30,000,000 for intellectual, proprietary software licensing for educational programming that your company was supposed to invent and develop. And have plenty of money left over to fund lavish lifestyles of the “geniuses” who are now guiding our youth towards online nirvana. Good work, if you can get it. Hot tip: Not a true parimutuel endeavor. There will be a “resolution” before the blood-letting, a backroom fix. Niether side wants to open their books in liitigation for public scrutiny. The House of Cards otherwise will fall for both. Hot tip: There’s no profit in it (so to speak), so No Bet. It’s fixed.

    Watch for the next handicapper’s betting sheet Free. No subscription. No password. No guarantees. No sweat. No reply. No kidding (sort of).

     
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