I was contacted by a Beaufort Gazette reporter recently to comment on the bill introduced by state Sen. Larry Grooms to ban automated traffic enforcement. State Sens. Jake Knotts and Vincent Sheheen placed a hold on the bill last week and this was his current story.
My written (e-mail) response was this: "I commend Sens. Knotts and Sheheen for their efforts to ensure this bill receives the proper debate and discussion that it should based on the truth and the facts. This is real leadership in my opinion."
What appeared in newspaper was this: "Mayor Gary Hodges commended Knotts and Sheheen for impeding the progress of the proposal, which was drafted to stop Ridgeland from using the cameras. ... 'This is real leadership, in my opinion,' Hodges wrote in an e-mail."
The reporter or editors or both, completely changed the meaning of my response and made it negative (i.e., impeding the progress) in order to further their misguided views. My response was only two simple sentences long. The newspaper could not even get that correct. If it didn't want to print what I wrote, then why did it even ask for it?
There was a time in this country when you could read a newspaper and actually believe what you read. Sadly, this is no longer true, especially in the case of the Gazette and the Packet.
This letter is less than 250 words, so I wonder if the editors have the courage to print it exactly as I wrote it?
Gary W. Hodges Mayor of Ridgeland