Pressed Out

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Posted December 5, 2007 by Static in News

When a company called Brown Media of Ohio bought the Fort Worth Business Press in September, a spokesman for the new owners told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that they had no immediate plans to make changes in the paper’s staff.

At newspapers – and indeed in most businesses – that usually translates as “Update your resumé now, honey, ’cause they’re cleaning house tomorrow.”
So, maybe it shouldn’t have been a huge surprise in late November when the new owners fired editor Bill Thompson and managing editor Anna Caplan. Hey, they’d waited two whole months!

It was the way they did it, sources tell Static, that caught the two editors off guard. In both cases, the new owners delivered the pink slips without setting foot in the Biz Press newsroom. Thompson, the little birds said, was called to a meeting at the D/FW Airport Hyatt just before Thanksgiving to receive his share of humble pie. The following week, as Caplan worked to put out another issue, she got her own slice. When she asked about the game plan for replacing Thompson, the paper’s human relations staffer told her that he had a message to pass along to her: Caplan, too, should clean out her desk. The Ohio folks had made the decision without ever so much as meeting Caplan, much less talking to her about her performance. The Brown company honchos didn’t return Static’s calls on Tuesday.

Static has adopted and discarded many rules for living over the years (most having to do with diet, exercise, and saving money), but there’s one that’s never needed alteration: Never trust a corporate heart. … That’ll be 25 cents, please.

Toll Road Toadies
Fort Worth folk who think the state’s moratorium on toll roads is a done deal ought to keep an eye on San Antonio, where the toll road troglodytes are working to get around that two-year ban and make a fortune from charging new tolls on roads the taxpayers have already paid for.

At a public meeting on Monday, the Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to turn an existing highway in northern San Antonio into a private moneymaker by approving tolls on it – on the theory that it was the best way to get money to improve the road. And the contract includes a “non-compete” clause that opponents believe is broad enough to make it difficult or impossible to create or expand other area roads
Anti-toll activist Terri Hall, founder and executive director of both Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) and the San Antonio Toll Party, told Static that the meeting was stacked like a bad poker game.

“The MPO called the meeting at 1:30 on a workday afternoon, then spent two hours talking about the benefits of tolling the road before they let a single John Q. Citizen speak,” she said. “Polls show that nearly 80 percent of San Antonio’s citizenry are against toll roads, yet the MPO claimed they received thousands more e-mails from people who were pro-toll road than those who are anti-tolls. … Somebody’s on the Kool Aid if they expect me to believe that.”


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