Statesman endorsed the Austin toll plan on June 27, 2004. Since then they have failed to do any investigative reporting on the corruption of the privtization and tolling of our public highways. They have even deleted a blog on the Statesman.com website that exposed that corruption.
Austin American Snakesman Censors Citizen
In a bold move of censorship, to keep facts from the community, Statesman.com deleted my “Boondoggle Blog” of three months on June 7, 2006.
The Statesman first deleted the Mike Heilgenstein (Toll Authority Executive Director) article earlier in the week. I called Tim Lott, assistant managing editor and asked why it was deleted. He told me they didn’t like “the tone”.
I asked to see the rules. The Statesman had no rules to show me. Tim Lott said it was subjective.
Knowing that the Statesman.com blog was on their site, I respectfully promised to alter the tone of all future articles. I altered the Heilgenstein article accordingly and reposted it.
Mr. Lott, was pleased with the words like “crook” and “deadbeat dad” removed. The article focuses on an unelected persons character (Heilgenstein), who have a part in tolling publicly funded freeways here in Austin for the first time in our country.
He then told me to remove the portion of my blog article that reported Anne Heilgenstein filed the petitions for Divorce and Child Support. Tim Lott had suggested he spoke with the Heilgensteins, who had called and complained. They told him both petitions were filed jointly and that Heilgenstein was not forced to pay. I called the Williamson District County Clerk 943-1212 (case number 03-556-f395) to confirm. I confirmed my report was correct and both petitions were filed by Anne. I also faxed the district court documents I had for weeks to Mr. Lott. I then called Tim Lott back about the court confirmation and he seemed pleased that my facts were confirmed.
Within 2 hours the Statesman deleted the whole blog. Tim Lott left me a voice mail saying “Your blog was not in the best interest of the newspaper”.
The Austin American Statesman circulation, like almost all newspapers in the U.S., has been dropping like a brick for many years. Even ad rates, the statesman other key income, is tied to that deflated circulation.
Desperate for higher circulation, the Statesman endorsed freeway tolls two years ago, in hopes that it would help boost their dwindling income. No city in the country has tolled its freeways. This new tax will cost families thousands of dollars a year to drive roads we’ve already paid for. But the Statesman doesn’t care about our families.
Developers who are pushing the freeway tolls (RECA) promise the Statesman many more customers, many more homes with the double tax freeway toll roads.
The Statesman, now owned by conglomerate Cox Communications, no longer produce investigative reporting for the good of the community, but instead they tip the scales with every article to look out for thier own bottom line.
The CTRMA will start the TxTAG RFID campaign soon. It’s a good bet that the bureaucratic toll authority (CTRMA) will be given a lot of dollars to Statesman for a part of that fat campaign.
This article is part 3 of a 12 part series called “Circle of Parasites”. Freeways have never been tolled in the history of the U.S., but that doesn’t stop a close circle of mostly Williamson County characters with a long history of looking out for themselves at the expense of others.