Blogger cries foul over edited bond letter - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Blogger cries foul over edited bond letter

Claims town targeted him, officials say oversight to blame

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Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 11:00 pm

At last Wednesday’s Oro Valley Town Council meeting, officials heard a complaint of unfair tactics at play in the town’s special bond election information booklet.

Art Segal, who operates a Web site and blog where he and contributors talk about local politics, claimed town leaders unfairly targeted him by editing a letter he sent opposing the Naranja park bond election.

When town leaders put out the call for arguments for and against the Naranja park issue, Segal and fellow Web operator Richard Furash penned a letter imploring voters to reject the municipal bond-funded park.

If the issue passes, the town intends to pay for construction of the $48.6-million park through bonds and a property tax.

Segal and Furash closed their letter with their Web address. But when town officials sent the letters out for printing, they removed Segal’s Web address.

Segal told council members that he believes he was singled out for his opposition to the park.

In an interview, Town Attorney Tobin Rosen denied that town officials singled out Segal.

“That’s not how we do business,” Rosen said.

He described the omission as standard operating procedure when the town clerk edits letters for ballot books.

Some people also had their home and work addresses removed from the letters, Rosen said.

But, as Segal noted at last Wednesday’s council meeting, on the same page of the book where his letter appears, another writer’s work address was published.

The town attorney blamed an editing lapse for the oversight and added that the body of Segal’s letter was untouched, keeping his argument against the park bond intact.

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