Why We Take Everything News ME George Rodrigue Writes With a Grain of SALT

If nothing else, the paper version of Unfair Park has a most devoted reader in one George Rodrigue, the Dallas Morning News managing editor who, yet again, tears himself from the ads in the back of the Dallas Observer just long enough to read Schutze. As Jim's out of the office today -- he's decided to celebrate Hot Fudge Friday in private for reasons best left to another time -- I'll simply point out that in his latest Ask the Editor column, Rodrigue takes issue with Jim's column this week that takes issue with The News's first and only story about the Inland Port and allegations of a shakedown, about which Jim's written, um, lots.

GRod isn't as condescending this go-round and even acknowledges: "In fairness to the Observer, which broke the original story, I should note that we found rather similar evidence on the striking extent to which County Commissioner John Wiley Price did things with the apparent aim of delaying the project." But I found this portion of his essay a bit ... well, misleading:

Observer's Jim Schutze first reported on the story, he quoted developer Richard Allen as saying the black business group had approached him and sought a deal in which the group "was to be paid $500,000 a year for three years and a '15 percent equity.'" The Observer repeated that claim last week, saying the group wanted "a deal that would have paid out $1.5 million and 15 percent equity in Allen's company." If the black business team really had barged into Allen's business and demanded a 15 percent share, that would sound like a shakedown. But what if Allen had invited the businessmen, who called themselves the Service and Leadership Team, or SALT, to approach him, because he was looking for some local guys to help make the project go? And what if the SALT guys asked not to be given a 15 percent share, but to buy it?

In other words, what if the local business team wanted to be co-investors? That issue was one of the primary differences separating our reporting. The Observer chose simply to quote Mr. Allen. Its original story said it couldn't get a copy of what any journalist would call the best available evidence, which was the SALT group's written proposal to Mr. Allen. We did get a copy.

You mean, the SALT proposal we posted to Unfair Park on Christmas Eve? This one? The one you guys wrote about four months later? Really, George? Really. Really?

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