Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MAYORAL CANDIDATE SULLIVAN: Declines Trib endorsement interview

COLUMBIA, 2/16/10  (Beat Byte) --  In a significant break with campaign tradition, Columbia mayoral candidate Sid Sullivan (left) has politely but firmly declined Columbia Daily Tribune publisher Hank Waters' invitation for the almost mandatory "candidate pre-endorsement interview."   

Making the move even more significant:  Mr. Sullivan has interviewed with Mr. Waters twice before -- as a candidate for State Representative and Boone County Commissioner. 

In a February 10 letter Mr. Sullivan said Mr. Waters confirmed receiving, he called candidate interviews "worthy, important and vital contributions to our democratic form of government." 

But such interviews can also "become positively injurious to the electoral process" when prejudgments, mis-statements, and gross omissions creep into the editorial recap, Mr. Sullivan noted.   During prior interviews, Mr. Waters "boasted about not reading" op-eds Mr. Sullivan wrote on key issues for local newspapers and "erroneously recounted the conversation," developing "straw man arguments" that misrepresented his positions, Mr. Sullivan recalled.     

Past Waters endorsement editorials have seen the Trib publisher completely omit mention of candidates, including  Dan Dunham, a 2008 candidate in a two-person Boone County Administrator race, and Michael Tan, a two-time school board candidate.  

Taking place in his Tribune building office, Waters' endorsement interviews -- which feature the multimillionaire publishing scion huffing and gruffing and squinting his eyes as he drives home a point he considers important -- can last as long as two hours, and conclude with a crushing blow -- that Mr. Waters did not read and does not intend to read the candidate's carefully prepared background information (I ran for school board and so have first hand experience).    Waters is pictured, striped shirt, left side. 

To further explain his decision, Mr. Sullivan said he is preparing an op-ed on a larger issue he also finds troubling:  That Mr. Waters has undermined the authority of the mayor, city council, and the people who elect them, particularly with his unapologetic involvement as "Hank the Butterfly" in the so-called "Country Club-gate" and Downtown eminent domain scandals last year.


Private gathering spurs public flap:  City leaders deny secret ‘cabal.’

Waters on shaky ground as both publisher and community advocate

The Omission of Dan Dunham and other Endorsement Doozies


  1. Traci Wilson-KleekampFebruary 16, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    Good for Sid Sullivan!

    Someone finally stands up to the bully of our local press during elections in particular, Hank Waters!

    Sid has my vote!


  2. That took some balls! Good man!

  3. Now here's a man I can vote for.

    Thank you for having the courage to tell the aging "emperor" he has no clothes on. I do hope you give the Missourian and the Heart Beat interviews as readers want to learn more about you from legitimate news sources.

    For the stand you just took against shoddy and corrupt journalism-- you just earned my vote.

    I can't wait to see what else you have the courage to do.