A juicy controversy has been brewing in Raymond for over a year a now. Your readers in the Raymond-South Bend area are probably well aware of this controversy. The story has been covered regularly by the Pacific County Press, which is being closed by the Willapa Harbor Herald, who recently bought them out. Also recently, coverage of the controversy has been picked up by the Willapa Harbor Herald. However, they made no effort to do any fact checking, and fact checking is ultimately what the controversy is all about.
However, there are some really interesting twists and turns regarding an out-of-state developer, an unsafe bridge, and homes being built on a tidal mudflat island. Very interesting twists and turns, but fact checking is really what the controversy is all about.
Fact checking is necessary to democracy and to justice and liberty. Fact checking is so important that the U.S.’s founding fathers enshrined freedom of speech and freedom of the press in our constitution, so that facts could be checked and shared with “we the people.”
Fact checking is what I do. My prepared statements at Raymond City Council meetings over the last year have become more and more intensely fact checked and documented. I provide packets of information and single copies of longer documents for council to pass around. I quote and cite my sources and include documentary photos and screen shots. My sources often include the city’s own laws and documents, state laws, and emails from officials and governmental websites. I provide screen shots and URLs.
I have been sharing the results of this fact checking to my Facebook blog for the past year. Recently, I have started consistently posting my statements to City Council and all the documentation to my blog as well, and I plan on going back and filling in the blanks for anything I have missed, as time allows. The pinned post on my blog welcomes the public to fact check what I post. And I post updates when I discover new information. I am entirely invested in sharing the facts. The city could consider me an ally. Curiously, they don’t.
Our founding fathers knew that freedom of speech and a free press is necessary for democracy. That is as true, if not more true today, than it was all those years ago. Our democracy, our government, was designed to be a system of checks and balances, so that no one person nor group can seize the power of government from the people. We the people, with the power of free speech, and a free and independent press (which must engage in fact checking) are the final checks and balances that insure our equality, our freedom, and our access to justice. We all need to engage in these processes.