No big deal. Get over it. Move on. It is in your best interest to forget any of it ever happened. This was the blasé attitude conveyed through editorials by the Beaver County Times in reaction to controversies surrounding the sale of Friendship Ridge.
To this day, readers of the Beaver County Times do not know that Treasurer Connie Javens’ adult children got contracts with Friendship Ridge as the sale went through, or that Chief County Solicitor Joseph Askar went on to work as an attorney for Friendship Ridge’s new owners to collect money for healthcare services provided — but for unknown reasons never billed — while the facility was county owned. They do not know about the special severance packages given to select employees like Midland Mayor Angela Adkins or political hack Sam Rosatone. The Times’ readers do not know that after preventing the Pennsylvania State Police from investigating the sale of Friendship Ridge, District Attorney David Lozier closed the case without having his detectives conduct full interviews of the people who had expressed certain concerns.
It is all so very confusing. No one really knows the answers. Maybe everything is not so bad after all. This has been the attitude conveyed by the Beaver County Times in editorials about the County’s finances.
To this day, readers of the Beaver County Times still do not know that Tony Amadio’s administration “paid off” a multi-million dollar Tax Anticipation Note at the end of its final year by writing bad checks which would have bounced if immediately cashed by the bank, that an additional loan was subsequently used to prevent those checks from bouncing, or that this was done to transfer budgetary deficits from one year to the next in violation of norms. They do not know that numbers in the following year’s budget had been manipulated to falsely make it appear balanced.
There are published audits performed by independent certified accountants, reports issued by state-funded studies, and statements released by a credit agency each time it downgraded the county’s rating. The county’s financial problems, the steps taken to mitigate them, the dynamic results of those actions, and the serious financial challenges remaining, are crystal clear to anyone educated enough to understand what they are looking at or intelligent enough to ask the appropriate questions.
Much of the “confusion” about the county’s finances has been the result of the Beaver County Times’ own “reporting” on the subject.
It is almost too embarrassing to even mention how the Beaver County Times hired attorney Bernie Rabik as a columnist after County Commissioners fired him as Solicitor when it was discovered he had been using his public office to conduct business for his private practice. Maybe someone should “Ask Attorney Bernie” the ethics of editorializing about the very same ongoing cases he was representing the county on while serving as its top lawyer.
Noticing a pattern yet? There are hundreds of other examples.
In most communities, newspapers would tar and feather any public servant exhibiting apparent incompetence, nepotism or cronyism, inside dealings or conflicts, or other abuses of public trust. Yet for the Beaver County Times, far too many demonstrable truths are regularly deemed too trivial or irrelevant to even share with the public — the kindest interpretation of their failure to report on such things. Other fair observers may take a far harsher view, that the Beaver County Times tells lies of omission to forward false but protective narratives to shield some of those in power.
It is not just with the sale of Friendship Ridge, the county’s finances, or for officials in county government that the Beaver County Times tells fables. The newspaper’s flowery coverage of other municipal leaders who have openly engaged in all manner of bumfuckery has been of grave disservice to the communities they purport to serve.
The recent raid of the Aliquippa City Building by the Pennsylvania State Police must have stunned those who read only the Beaver County Times, given the high praises the paper has been showering on the city’s leadership for years. No matter how much of reality the Beaver County Times chooses to ignore, no matter how many propaganda laden articles it decides to publish, Dwan Walker is never going to become the Beaver County Barack Obama.
The difficult reality is that Beaver County is home to a disturbing clusterfuck of institutionalized incompetence and organized corruption that will not easily be untangled, yet can not be ignored nor wished away. Problems must be identified to be solved. Although the Beaver County Times is very good at writing about student gladiators and at cataloging our dead, the fourth estate is also meant to be the public’s watchdog. It is in this most vital of roles the newspaper has failed in the most egregious of ways imaginable.
For the foreseeable future, readers of the Beaver County Times should hesitate in trusting any of the paper’s reporting involving anyone not wearing a sports jersey or laying in a casket. Their opinions on matters of local government should most certainly not be valued.
Recent articles and editorials by the Beaver County Times show the newspaper of record is now openly embracing what it quietly became long ago — a harem of sycophants eager to publicly perform explicit acts of metaphorical fellatio on anyone in power willing to unzip.
History will judge them harshly for it.