The Examiner recently published a strong editorial, chastising those who took to the Internet to spread obvious misinformation that the City Council had ordered the destruction of countless animals at the animal shelter.

The Examiner recently published a strong editorial, chastising those who took to the Internet to spread obvious misinformation that the City Council had ordered the destruction of countless animals at the animal shelter.

A published response from a guest columnist last Saturday, who was misinformed, included a statement that as long as the person who started the rumor “believed in good faith that the animals were in danger, obviously the editorial is baseless.” Apparently the writer was unwilling to check the facts and was intent on damaging the reputation of others. The word for that is propaganda, and it is not the first time this individual and others have engaged in that brand of argument.

City story lines by individuals determined to make city government look bad are infected with the same distorted lack of need for facts. “No more bailouts” for Bass Pro has been a frequent chant, some even saying “How long will the city continue to pay for a failed sporting goods store?”

Those thinking along this line know that Bass Pro Shops has not “failed.” Certainly sales have been impacted by the economy, but Bass Pro has met its obligations to the city. Bass Pro has been a good community asset and has provided much-needed jobs for many area residents. Those who would intentionally misinform others also know that none of the funds paid to meet the Crackerneck Creek debt service shortfall has gone to Bass Pro. But again, the writers are unwilling to allow the facts to get in the way of a good political tagline.

Since even “no more bailouts” has been overused, the new argument is that the debt is not really a debt and that the city could walk away from the obligation. They have asserted that “the city can’t be sued for not wasting money to pay off the bonds, as long as the city continues to apply the project revenues to the bond payments.” To the contrary, there are significant legal, ethical and financial implications were the city to fail to pay its debts. What happens to the investors, individuals, union retirement, mutual funds?

The city counselor has responded to the assertions that the city is free to simply walk away from its debt. You and I can stop paying our car payment, house payment, etc., but we would lose those things, and it would be very hard to get another loan. She has pointed out that among the many problematic implications of doing so, that the city’s bond rating would be downgraded to non-investment grade, and the city would likely be unable to borrow any funds for an extended period of time, that the city would immediately be subject to lawsuits from investors related to the non-appropriation, and that if and when the city was in a position to borrow additional funds it would be at a much higher rate of interest than today. Considering just the instance of the recent Power and Light project related to the purchase of an interest in the Dogwood power plant in Pleasant Hill, it has been estimated that the price of borrowing on a downgraded level would have resulted in an additional financing cost of $25.8 million.

Any newspaper is a blend of fact and opinion. While I might have expected it, I never really thought anyone would believe you could have a valid opinion without prevailing fact. I hope from now on readers will see those opinions for baseless attacks. The Examiner should be commended for encouraging fact-based articles.