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Some politicians forget the truth will set us free

Mike Anthony
July 27, 2005 - We're always on the lookout for elected and appointed officials who have a problem telling the truth.

Unfortunately for the public, over the past 20 or so years in covering boards of aldermen, boards of education, village boards, city councils and fire protection district boards on both sides of the Mississippi River, those elected and appointed officials haven't been difficult to find. In fact, they're more the norm than the exception.

While some are more charming and perhaps more charismatic than others, the only real difference among them has been in the degree of their inability to tell the truth. Some would occasionally tell what many would refer to as little white lies, while others could be correctly called pathological liars or even deliberate liars.

In any event, elected and appointed officials who have a problem telling the truth pose a real threat to the public. Some people will take whatever a governmental officials says as gos-pel, while a vast majority of us are much more skeptical.

But every time an elected or appointed official abuses their position of public trust by failing to be truthful and those words or actions are uncovered, it shakes our faith in our great system of government.

It's disappointing, though, that this newspaper's efforts most likely reveal only a fraction of the instances in which governmental officials are not being truthful.

One constant we've found over the years is that those elected and appointed officials who have a problem telling the truth also want to limit access to public information by the public and the press. Perhaps access to public information poses a serious threat to their credibility in that the things they say aren't consistent with the facts.

Therefore, we believe that any attempt by a governmental official to limit access to public information is a dead giveaway that person has some-thing to hide. The question then be-comes: "Why?''

Just as we always have, we will continue to stand up for the public's right to know the truth. It's interesting that some would call us "biased'' when we point out the inconsistencies of what a governmental official says vs. the truth. Perhaps the real bias comes into play on their part because they support that official and just can't be bothered with the facts.

Despite such petty attacks, we'll continue to seek the truth because the truth will set all of us free.

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