It’s Thanksgiving Week. Though it adds to the early-week work load around a weekly newspaper, it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. Once the paper hits the streets earlier than normal, there’s a chance to catch our breaths for a bit. And this year, with some not-seen-often-enough family coming in from out of town for the holiday weekend, it’s even a little more refreshing than normal.
But let’s recognize that Thanksgiving is not a happy time for everyone, however. We send thoughts and prayers to all the turkeys making the ultimate sacrifice.
All of us at The Landmark hope you and yours get a chance to relax and enjoy the holiday. If you’re going to be in downtown Platte City for the holiday lighting Wednesday night, stop by The Landmark office at 252 Main Street for a free candy cane while supplies last.
I want to be sure the letter to the editor from Dave Rittman, Parkville alderman, gets all the attention he wanted it to get, so I will draw your attention to it right now. It’s printed right here. Please go give it a read this very moment. I’ll wait here.
Hey, welcome back. Thank you for reading the Rittman letter.
Rittman, for your information, copied his letter to the city’s outside law firm of Baty Otto Coronado, and to regular city attorney Chris Williams, and to Mark Ferguson, the criminal defense attorney the city hired when the sheriff’s department began its ongoing probe into the funky aroma coming from City Hall.
Last week’s column talked about Rittman’s obsession with Landmark news coverage, and how he often clips our coverage of Parkville City Hall news and sends it to city attorneys and other city officials. As you’ll notice in his letter, Rittman now claims he was only doing it because he had been requested to do so by Parkville’s outside counsel in the Maki lawsuit. You buying it? Doesn’t seem likely. I’m leaning toward Rittman’s letter being a combination of revisionist history and interpretive dance.
For one, Dave’s extreme interest in Landmark topics began prior to the Maki lawsuit. Emails captured in previous Sunshine requests show Rittman had chimed in to other city officials (particularly to Mayor Nan Johnston) on Landmark topics long before the Maki lawsuit. For example, he chimed in on the conversation when Mayor Nan was using city resources in her determined anti-Landmark email-sending campaign in the summer of 2019.
And consider this: For Rittman’s version of events to be completely accurate, it would mean there had to be some kind of naive thought process among the city’s outside law firm. Can you imagine this think-tank conversation taking place inside the offices of Baty Otto Coronado PC?
ATTORNEY 1 FOR BATY OTTO CORONADO: “Maybe we should be checking out what The Landmark is writing about this case. How do you suggest we do that?”
ATTORNEY 2 FOR BATY OTTO CORONADO: “Well, we could buy a $29 subscription to the paper. Or we could read their articles online for free.”
ATTORNEY 1: “No. I got it! Let’s ask Dave Rittman to start clipping out the articles, glue them up like a third grade art project, then scan them and email them to us. That’s the ticket!”
ATTORNEY 2: “Brilliant!”
Here’s some helpful advice for the general population. If your attorneys are not Landmark readers, you have hired the wrong attorneys.
In his letter, Dave Rittman expresses concern that I didn’t contact him for some input before writing my column last week. Interesting. This is an editorial column, which means everything in this column is written from my perspective/opinion of public officials performing their public duties in a public way. I don’t need to call Alderman Dave Rittman to get his input on my opinion of the job performance of Alderman Dave Rittman. But anyway, since he apparently desires more communication from me, I’m extending the olive branch. Here is the response I sent Rittman this week. I’ll keep you posted:
Since you mentioned you would have preferred to be contacted prior to the editorial with my thoughts about your public actions as a public official, and since your name will again be coming up in future editions in discussions of your submitted letter to the editor, I’d like to invite you to meet for an in-depth interview about your role as alderman.
Topics would include your self-described role as de facto paralegal for the city’s outside legal counsel, your working relationship with the current mayor (I’m assuming it is a fairly tight relationship since you have served as her personal golf cart driver in parades and you have been a donor to her election campaigns), your thoughts on the recently concluded open records lawsuit in which the city paid out a $195,000 record-setting settlement in lieu of handing over the requested public records, your thoughts on an FBI investigation into the city, your thoughts on the attorney general’s investigation(s) into alleged open records violations by the city, and your thoughts on the current criminal investigation of City Hall being conducted by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department.
We can either do a sit-down audio-recorded interview for the newspaper or, for increased transparency, we can do the interview live on our Facebook videocast known as Landmark Live. Feel free to bring along all the expensive city attorneys you have copied in this email exchange.
Please let me know when you’d like to conduct this interview at our newspaper office/Landmark Live studio and we will finalize the arrangements. Thanks for reading and thank you for your continued interest in The Landmark.
(The paper is out and for all we know Foley is off to baste his turkey. Email him at email@example.com)