Editorial: The Record prints retraction — sort of

PAUL RENNER
PAUL RENNER

Why in the name of God would anyone who wants to know what’s going on with elected government officials in St Johns County read the St Augustine Record?

From May 23, 2015 St Augustine Record:
“In an editorial Friday, we chided our new District 24 Rep. Paul Renner for, basically, being MIA around St. Johns County since his election. We received a message from School Board chair Bev Slough who was able to enlighten us on three occasions she’s seen Renner speaking locally and recently. We assume there are more, and apologize to him for apparently downplaying his civic engagement locally.”

Chided? That’s being generous. Although, a lot is revealed in their Friday editorial that demonstrates just how much the new editor and new publisher are out-of-touch with what’s going on in St Johns County politics.

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“We wondered why a new lawmaker with definite views on, and a vote in, the contentious Medicaid flap was espousing political views in a forum some 60 miles north of his new district — in a county he does not represent. Old habits?”

The “forum” they are referring to is the Florida Times-Union; a real newspaper with relevant content of wide circulation in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia, also owned by Morris Communications. My guess is that Renner sent the information to the Times-Union because he wanted his ideas to be seen — not out of an “old habit”.

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“In truth, we were a little hurt that he didn’t think of sharing his views with The Record’s readers, his St. Johns County constituents.”

Duh! Why would the St Augustine Record expect that Representative Renner would feel obliged to report his comings and goings to them?

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“Our archives include no mention of Renner since the election. In other words he hasn’t shown up in our paper.”

Or, in other words, The Record no longer has seasoned writers that might be reporting on Representative Renner’s involvement.

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“A few quick calls confirmed that he’s made no contact with city manager John Regan or Mayor Nancy Shaver.”

Neither city official would be expected to have close communication with Representative Renner the way they would with Representative Stevenson — since the City of St Augustine is NOT in Renner’s district.

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“County Commission chair Rachael Bennett met him socially during the campaign, but not since.”

Let me think. Oh, that’s right. Representative Renner was in Tallahassee and Commissioner Bennett was in St Augustine. Stop the presses.

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“County Administrator Mike Wanchick says they’ve never met.”

And that’s not a reflection on Representative Renner any more than it is a reflection on Michael Wanchick.

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“Neither St. Augustine Beach City Manager Max Royle nor Mayor Andrea Samuels have had the pleasure.”

That’s not true. I was the moderator of a televised candidate forum held at the St Augustine Beach City Hall where I introduced Max Royle, Mayor Samuels, twenty or more residents, and the broadcast audience, to Representative Renner, Representative Stevenson, and each of their opponents.

From the May 21, 2015 Editorial:
“Just to ensure we weren’t missing something, we contacted the one person whose ubiquitous finger is on the county pulse — the irrepressible, Cathy Brown. She can’t confirm a sighting either, since prior to Election Day.”

Renner is a Republican, Brown is a Democrat. He is conservative and Cathy Brown is as liberal as they come, politically. I’ve never seen the irrepressible, Cathy Brown at a Republican meeting or function, so, I wouldn’t say she has her finger on the county pulse — since the county is overwhelmingly Republican. If the editorial staff at The Record were involved in the community, they would know that.

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