Arnold Councilman Paul Freese Throws Tantrum at the Leader

9 Oct

Last week, somewhat surprisingly, the Leader ran an article (not available on their website) about the subsidies required to keep the Arnold rec center (opened 7 years ago) and the Pomme Creek golf course (bought 5 years ago) open and operating (in addition to construction and purchase costs, respectively). The cumulative amount of the subsidies has been $1.6 million for the rec center and $1 million for the golf course. A debate has continued over time over whether the city should be spending money in this manner (especially for the golf course).

Well, Arnold councilman Paul Freese, well-known for his thin skin, was not happy that the Leader, and reporter Kim Robertson, published this article. He was so “disappointed,” in fact, that he took the opportunity of the subsequent council meeting (held October 4) to directly berate the reporter, who apparently was in attendance. He was so “irritated,” he couldn’t even speak coherently for the first few sentences. Here is the rant (Freese is the third person from the right). Thanks to Doris Borgelt for the tip-off:

Note that he couldn’t take issue with the facts in the article. That’s because the article is accurate. Freese’s complaint is that the article should not have been published because the cost of these amenities is irrelevant because they are so awesome. Never mind that Susie Boone, city Parks and Recreation director, had plenty of space in the article to argue that side of the issue. Freese’s buddy, councilman Phil Amato, was also quoted. But that’s not enough. Freese does not think alternate viewpoints should be allowed, apparently. Does this attitude extend to all Arnold issues? I suspect it does. Freese apparently believes that the Leader should be the house organ of the Arnold government, serving nothing more than a public relations role. He must not be aware of the way media is supposed to work. He mentioned in the rant that he has tried to get the paper to print articles outlining growth taking place in the city. So not only should the paper not print negative articles, in his mind, it should print positive ones as directed by the city council.

It could be, too, that Freese is unfamiliar with being opposed in the pages of the Leader. The paper generally provides favorable coverage to Freese and his cronies, while regularly ripping on people like councilwoman Doris Borgelt who oppose them. The question is now, how will the Leader react? The paper can’t take this tantrum without a response. Pat Martin should write an editorial this week in which he slams Freese, defends Robertson, and reminds Freese how the press works. Then the Leader should re-evaluate its coverage of Arnold government, so that people like Freese can become accustomed to criticism. It comes with the territory when you are an elected official.

Councilman Bill Moritz also expressed his disagreement, but to his credit, he conceded that the paper had the right to print it (hey, it’s better than nothing).

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2 Responses to “Arnold Councilman Paul Freese Throws Tantrum at the Leader”

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  1. Election Slates Set for April « Jefferson County Penknife - January 17, 2013

    […] to Saudi Arabia for his job (which is with Boeing). This would leave Paul Freese as the undisputed most obnoxious council member (barring a challenge from a new member). Moritz’s treatment of the women on […]

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  2. Another Action-Packed Election in Arnold | Jefferson County Penknife - January 23, 2014

    […] Mullins has a pretty good shot against Paul Freese, the incumbent who has put in several whiny, self-righteous performances from the council dais. Freese won his 2012 race by 34 votes. Here is a Patch profile of […]

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