This has been a recurring theme throughout my career in journalism: Political groups don’t like you reporting on who gives them money. And the simple act of reporting on it often establishes you, in their eyes, as an adversary.
Exhibit A came in the response elicited by my blog post yesterday about Linda Curtis’ IndyAustin, whose newest project is trying to overturn via referendum the stadium deal at McKalla Place that City Council approved in August. My post revealed that at least $20k of the $30k the group raised in the most recent reporting period came from an out-of-town donor with links to Circuit of the Americas. My Austin Monitor colleague Jo Clifton reported on the subject further, and discovered that another $5k was linked to COTA. This is relevant because COTA has an interest in preventing the construction of a new soccer stadium that will rival its own, not just in soccer but as a concert and event venue.
My post immediately prompted this response from Bill Aleshire, one of a number of longtime attorney/operators (Fred Lewis, Bill Bunch, Ed English) aligned with the neighborhood association set. (Aleshire also represented the previous corporate funders of IndyAustin, billboard companies, to challenge Austin sign regulations)
Recently-retired Statesman reporter Ben Wear came to my defense:
The best response came from Curtis herself, who left a comment on the blog.
I didn’t really have a chance to accept the dare, since the comment was automatically published. But hopefully by not deleting the comment and by republishing it here I can prove to Linda that I’m not a yeller-belly.
To answer the questions:
Is that a cup in front of my face? Yes.
Am I trying to look cool? Always.
Have I joined the dark negotiations going on at City Hall for a few hundred mill in property tax exemptions on public land? No.