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Breaking News: Ledger Publisher Booted From Burnet County Library System
March 5, 2002
Not surprisingly, this writer has finally been denied access to Burnet County Library System computers. Public computers. Computers bought and paid for by taxpayers. … What took 'em so long? As long-time Ledger readers know, this writer was booted from the Llano County Library System approximately a year and a half ago. Since then, public computers located in Burnet County, among other private locations, have been used to access the Internet.
Although this writer has had nothing to say publicly until now, two Ledger Maxpages sites and a Ledger Stormpages site were deleted five times about a month ago. An investigation was launched by this publication and is far from complete. Maxpages log records in possession of this writer and other local officials clearly indicate the last Maxpages deletion occurred on Sunday, Feb. 3 from an IP address assigned to the Herman Brown Free Library in Burnet.
Informal and formal complaints were made to County Librarian Paula Harris and Herman Brown Librarian Cookie Wallace. Both women stonewalled and took no action. A complaint was then sent to Burnet County Judge Martin McLean, certified mail return receipt requested. It was received this morning, Mar. 5. According to Harris and Wallace and later confirmed by His Honor himself, the Judge apparently wasted no time contacting them before the arrival of this writer. I had already signed in and was approaching the machines when Ms. Wallace called for a meeting with the County Librarian. Interestingly, both librarians now strongly assert, they do not believe the deletions originated from library computers.
Bottom line of the stonewalling session? This writer was informed the County Attorney had ordered no Internet access for this writer until an appointment was made to speak with him. Pointedly, who the hell is the County Attorney to order an unwritten ejection from library machines? Apparently, the First Amendment means as little in Burnet County as it does in Llano County.
As both women were informed, this writer has nothing to say at this time to Burnet County Attorney Robert Klaeger. Not until the investigation conducted by this publication is complete, possibly not even then. Why the hell should I? Pointedly, any investigation conducted by Klaeger's office is akin to the fox guarding the chicken coop. Should he or any other local "prosecutor" subpoena material from this writer, I will gladly rot in jail. … Certainly be great fodder for this publication. Would also be highly indicative of the true agenda behind corrupt and abusive government.
As both library officials were again informed, this is not the end. Only the beginning. When Ms. Wallace suggested the need to be careful regarding allegations, she was bluntly asked if she was making a threat. She responded she was not. As both women were quickly informed, this writer would welcome being sued for two reasons. First, with no assets, I'm "judgment proof". Secondly, being sued would provide access to long-sought records. -- Records, this writer has been denied access to. As readers are quite aware, no one in the State of Texas will enforce the Public Information Act. It has no teeth and is meaningless. A lawsuit would certainly attract other media with resources to seriously look into local corruption here. Precisely what local officials fear most.
Ms. Wallace also expressed misgivings regarding this writer possibly tampering with what would amount to be evidence in a criminal investigation, -- library computers. Had all I could do to stifle a laugh. The person this publication believes to be the perpetrator would have long since removed incriminating evidence from the machines. Furthermore, he has unrestricted access to all library computers. -- Authorized access to bypass installed security software. This writer does not. Worse yet, he is a member of the Burnet County Sheriff's Department.
The comment from Ms. Wallace was so stunning and unusual, I quickly asked if there indeed was an ongoing criminal investigation. She disingenuously referred to the investigation being conducted by this publication. … An investigation not involving access past security software on library machines, only website and mail providers. Interesting, isn't it? Upon leaving the library, I asked one of the other librarians for a personal email address so I could send her a copy of the letter sent to the County Judge. Ms. Wallace told her subordinate, it would not be a good idea. Who the hell is this official to interfere in a private conversation by intimidating an employee? What are you so afraid of, Cookie? The truth?
Before I could even get into the Courthouse to look for him, Burnet County Judge Martin McLean approached this writer as I took a few moments to speak with a friend outside. Subsequently seated a few minutes later discussing the letter with the "Judge" in his courtroom, the conversation quickly grew testy. Interestingly, "His Honor" had no interest in the website deletions, but was quite obviously agitated regarding "allegations of corruption". As I quickly, firmly, and pointedly informed him, the issue was website deletions, not "allegations of corruption". … Hell, corruption is par for the course as well as the norm. What else is new? Pointedly, the substance of the letter is fraudulent website deletions not "allegations of corruption", you jackass. -- Are you that enamored of yourself, Mr. McLean?
… Hey, "Judge"? If there is no corruption, why get your shorts so tied up in a knot? Seems to me you ought to easily ignore "hot air". Especially if there is no substance to it. Right, sir? What are you so afraid of, Mr. McLean? The truth? Indeed, have something to hide? "His Majesty" was offered unlimited unedited space to respond. Think he's got the guts? The "Judge" thinks this writer has "nothing". … Keep on thinking that, sir. Continue deluding yourself. Interestingly, he hotly denied ordering the librarians to give this writer the boot and disingenuously claimed to know nothing of the County Attorney's order supposedly doing the same. Fascinating, isn't it? The "Judge's" demeanor was highly unprofessional and raises serious questions regarding his fitness for office. Then again, he's about to retire.
Subsequently arriving in the County Attorney's office, the receptionist took her sweet time discussing personal business with a crony before finally speaking to this writer. She disingenuously claimed to have known nothing of the matter and accepted a business card. Told her to have the County Attorney email, but haven't heard anything from him yet. Also informed her I had nothing to say at this point anyway.
Although forced to publicly address this matter much earlier than desirable due to the ejection from the library system, the investigation being conducted by this publication is far from over. In good time, everything regarding the matter will be posted, including the letter to the Burnet County Judge. -- As will the substance of conversations with all parties involved.
Tim Chorney, Publisher
The Llano Ledger
Tim Chorney, Publisher
P.O. Box 997
Buchanan Dam Tx. 78609