"Instead of shunning political involvement or public office while publishing a newspaper, Barton has been drawn to politics like a moth to a flame."
Note: Anyone that knows Sally Caldwell knows that she's a long time political activist and she can get pretty feisty at times. Ms. Caldwell, until recently, served as Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Woodcreek. She is an associate professor at Texas State University. The RoundUp contacted Caldwell to confirm her letter and her information. She vouched for both. We're not out to pick a fight here. What we are out to do is get information out that is important for voters to know as we size up the candidates for Hays County Judge. Barton's opponent is Dr. Bert Cobb of San Marcos. If unsavory verifiable information emerges about Dr. Cobb, we'll let you know.
Here's a link to a story in the Bartons' Free Press newspaper reporting on the recent dust up between the local Democratic Party and Dr. Cobb. The headline reads: "Democratic Party chief says Cobb behind "lies" in e-mail." Judge for yourself if the headline and story are not slanted heavily against Cobb, and misleading. Notice, too, how the article goes to great length to justify the pay raises for Barton and county commissioners – tantamount to a royal, in house CYA.
Send your comments and news tips to email@example.com, to Ms. Caldwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the "comments" button at the bottom of the story. You can contact Barton's campaign here
An Open Letter from Dr. Sally Caldwell
Before this tale goes any further, let’s take a look at the Code of Ethics for the Society of Journalists because that’s where this commentary leads. As the code notes, journalists should:
… Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office (emphasis added) and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
Back to Barton and his journalistic career. Simply put, Barton has never let the Journalists’ Code of Ethics get in the way of his political career. Instead of shunning political involvement or public office while publishing a newspaper, Barton has been drawn to politics like a moth to a flame.
Barton served as vice president of Barton Publications, the publisher of the Hays Free Press, from its inception until 2008. Despite the Code of Ethics, Barton served as County Commissioner for seven of those eight years. His father served as president; Barton’s wife was the treasurer. Barton only relinquished the vice presidency of the publishing company to his mother in May of 2008, just before he presented his credentials as an Obama delegate at the 2008 State Democratic Convention. Barton’s wife, Cyndi, currently holds the title of Publisher.
Barton will tell you that his part-ownership of The Free Press doesn’t qualify him as a journalist. If he can convince you of that, then he can avoid the charge that he’s lacking in ethics. But when he tries to do that, just ask yourself: Does he really think that he can put that one over on you?
For as long as Barton has been a County Commissioner, we’ve been treated to a near weekly dose of Jeff Barton did this wonderful thing and Jeff Barton did that wonderful thing through the ink of the Barton family’s newspaper.
When it comes to The Hays Free Press, the paper is little more than a Central Texas version of the Russian Federation’s Pravda, and the Barton family — Jeff Barton, father Bob Barton, mother Wynette “Tutta” Barton and wife Cyndi Slovak-Barton — act as the Ministry of Propaganda.
Barton has a problem with ethics. He shouldn’t be in public office. We can do much better.