Difference in Interpretation Is Not a 'Lie'

RECEIVED Tue., May 6, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Michael King posits that “truth is a frequent casualty” in local City Council races, then proves his point with at least two falsehoods [“Point Austin,” News, May 2]. If I were to jump to unsubstantiated conclusions, I’d call them King-sized lies. But perhaps they were innocent errors. Either way, they should be corrected.
    King writes that Gus Garcia, Brigid Shea, Robin Rather, Ann Kitchen, and myself “lied” in a letter we wrote that council candidate Randi Shade supported compromise with Stratus/Freeport-McMoRan, the megapolluters developing the 4,000-acre Barton Creek development, rather than passing the voter approved Save Our Springs Ordinance. I would agree that Ms. Shade’s comments to Brian Rodgers and then on camera (which Shade graciously admitted were accurately transcribed) are not clear as to whether she supported compromise with Stratus/Freeport before or after passing SOS. A difference in interpretation is not a “lie.”
    What is indisputably wrong is King's claim that we were addressing Ms. Shade’s “politically incorrect opinion … about a film.” Ms. Shade’s relevant comments were clearly talking about the real world. And whether she meant compromise before or after passing SOS, either path would have led to far more pollution and development in the Barton Springs Watershed.
    On this point, Shade was wrong, and it should matter to voters. She stated, “Because really, when you saw the original proposal, less land would have been developed than what did get developed.” The most offensive part of the Stratus/Freeport 1990 development plans was its proposed 3 million square feet of office and retail. At the time, Freeport also claimed a five- or six-year build-out. It is now 18 years later, and virtually none of the commercial and retail has been built. Had the community compromised, it would have given a green light to paving the Hill Country with high-density Houston-style sprawl.
    King also wrongly claims that I have been “on record multiple times dismissing the entire current council as environmentally regressive and corrupt.” Regressive, yes; owing their seats to bundles of developer campaign cash, yes; but corrupt, no, I never said that. Prove it, or please issue a retraction.
    As for King's claim that I “blame” people for the demise of Barton Springs, your readers can use their own judgment by reading what I actually wrote at www.sosalliance.org.
Don't forget to vote,
Bill Bunch
   [Michael King responds: If Bill Bunch wishes now to make a distinction between accusing City Council members' seats of having been bought by developers, and accusations of personal corruption, I'll accept his clarification, although it seems largely a distinction without a difference. As for the rest of his letter, I stand entirely by what I wrote.]
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