Here's why: After months of asking about the mayor's homeless plan, and multiple promises from city staff that I'd be "the first to know," I found the story detailing the plan on the front page of the Gazette today. Really?
Later in the morning, I received an e-mail from city communications announcing a meeting on the homeless initiative would take place tonight. Listen, I expect a last-minute press conference on a gruesome murder or a natural disaster. But a plan that's been months in the making, to address a problem that's been around for decades? Surely, they could have told us about this days, or even weeks, ago.
Of course, this is hardly the first time this has happened. Mayor Steve Bach rarely returns our requests for comment, and when he does, it's usually in an e-mail. While the communications office is the "official" information source for all city business, the mayor himself seems to be the main source of tips for the media outlets he likes. Bach has acknowledged to our reporters on multiple occasions that he feels his relationship with the Independent is strained. He says he feels like our paper attacks him.
For the record, yes, we have been critical of the mayor. But we've also praised him at times. And we've invited his input into stories that concern him, whether or not he's bothered to respond. That's called being fair.
That said, I can see why Bach must have liked the story in the Gazette today. It portrayed him in a very favorable light, and failed to quote anyone who objected to his plan to create a campus setting for homeless services. The critics exist. In fact, they're obvious: Many homeless service providers have openly said in the past that they're happy at their current locations and don't feel moving is the answer.
It's up to the Gazette's reporters and editors how they want to cover the news, but at the Independent, we feel we owe it to our readers to tell as well-reported a story as possible. It'd be nice if our city government respected that.
I'd guess I won't be getting a call from the mayor anytime soon. But hey, I'd love to be proven wrong.
May 7, 2013
Community Meeting with Mayor Bach
Please join Mayor Steve and Suzi Bach for a Community Meeting on Homeless Solutions TODAY on Tuesday, May 7, from 6:30 — 8:00 p.m. at Hillside Community Center, 925 S Institute Street Colorado Springs, CO 80903.