Scott Tibbs
blog post
May 1st, 2005

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"Get off the Master's porch, you peasant!"

In an astonishingly stupid editorial, the Herald-Times takes Jeff Ellington to task for daring to speak to several members of the Indiana Legislature regarding a bill that would give Monroe County a special exception so local officials could adopt a Food and Beverage Tax. Before I comment further, here is my own editorial on the subject:

Apparently, the H-T editorial board shares the Democrats' arrogance. The county's largest news outlet is actually scolding a local citizen for exercising his First Amendment right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances". If Ellington does not have a right to speak about this issue, how much less right does the H-T editorial board have to advocate their position? How many votes has Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg got lately?

The Herald-Times asks why anyone in Indianapolis would listen to Jeff Ellington after he lost his election last year. It might be because Ellington is very popular in Monroe County, and because he carries a lot of clout with local Republicans. It might be because there is a lot of vocal opposition to the enabling legislation for a Food and Beverage Tax. And, heaven forbid, it just might be because the elected officials who spoke with Ellington listened to his arguments and decided that the enabling legislation is bad policy! The H-T then goes on to mock Ellington's political influence.

Ironically, the H-T editorial board wrote in October that "if (Ellington) loses, though, the commissioners would do well to find some appointive post on a major county board or commission where his experience, energy and enthusiasm can be put to profitable use."

So why is it OK for Ellington to influence public policy in areas that the H-T deems appropriate, but not in opposition to a bill that the Herald-Times wanted to pass? The hypocrisy at 1900 South Walnut is almost tangible. I can envision Baron Zaltzberg barking "Get off the master's porch, you peasant! Get back into the fields!"

If the Herald-Times believes Ellington's opposition to the F&B Tax is bad for Monroe County, it is perfectly reasonable for them to editorialize about that. The nasty personal tone of the April 30 editorial, though, was way out of bounds and has no place in Monroe County's largest newspaper. Bob Zaltzberg should publicly apologize to Ellington for this breach of good judgment.