Welfare, Racism, and the Post-Standard (Part III)


More than four thousand people have read my blogs on Medicaid, Food Stamps and Welfare.  Post-Standard Managing Editor Stan Linhorst, take note:  the people want to know and you aren’t telling them.  Your readership is way down and one of the things you blame it on is the Internet.  What about the Internet is causing your readership to drop?  It is that people can go on the Internet and find the information that you fail to provide for them.

I have done the work you should have done.  I have gotten the data and broken it down into stories that people can understand.  In short, I am a good reporter.  If you would stop mewling and puking about the newspaper’s imminent demise then maybe your newspaper wouldn’t be in such bad shape.  Your newspapers are in boxes in every lobby and by the cash register in every coffee shop.  You have a much wider and more effective distribution system than I do.  If you’d been running my stories, your readership would have been substantially larger than mine.

Why aren’t you reporting the news the people are interested in?  Are you really that far out of touch with what matters to your readers?  Is it that you don’t know that taxpayer’s are desperate to know where their money is going?  The cost of Medicaid is killing us—who is getting it, and why?  Why isn’t the Post-Standard reporting the story?

My research indicates that the social services caseload is not black people and Welfare.  It is black and white people in the city having sex, producing children, and the father abandoning the children and their mother.  Mothers do not abandon their children.  If they did, we’d be turning all the vacant downtown buildings into orphanages.  Men are not stepping up and paying the bills for their children and the children’s mothers, who are working raising the kids.  Single women and their children on Medicaid constitute the largest group of people getting government aid.

Why isn’t the Post-Standard doing the research and reporting the story?  There can be no useful public dialogue about how to solve the problem if nobody knows what the problem is.  The editors and publisher of the Post-Standard most certainly must be aware of the racist comments being posted on Syracuse.com, and yet they do not publish any factual reports to counteract the racism.  They let it run, unchallenged by the facts.

Why? Is it because the editors and publisher themselves are racist?  I have no idea.  All my requests to meet with them have been refused.  Is it because they are out of touch with their readers?  Is it because they don’t want to deal with an informed citizenry?

In the 1980’s, the governor sent a special prosecutor into Onondaga County to investigate allegations of political corruption.  What he found was that county department heads were shaking down their employees for contributions to the Republican Party.  Assistant district attorneys were paying a percentage of their income to the Republican Party.  It was not accurately reported by the Syracuse Newspapers.

I got “60 Minutes” to send an investigative reporter to Syracuse.  He read the decisions emanating from the court and the stories published by the Syracuse newspapers and concluded that the newspapers were engaging in a conspiracy to prevent the citizens from knowing the truth.

Since then, county department heads may have stopped shaking down Civil Service employees, but the Post-Standard has not stopped perverting reality.  Medicaid transportation carries 22,000 people and was substandard, consequent to a quarter-million-dollar no-bid contract that was let by the county to a couple of ambulance drivers.  The Post-Standard would not report it.  The citizens are paying their taxes, expecting to get reasonable service to poor people.  Instead, both the tax-payers and the tax-users are getting ripped off and the newspaper won’t report it.

It is always the end-point recipient of services who is blamed, never the county officials who aren’t doing their jobs.  Why are so many white people getting Medicaid and proportionally so few black people getting it?  Is there a racist policy of denial in the Dept. of Social Services?  If accurate facts were being reported to the people then maybe somebody would notice and start asking questions.

The Onondaga County government is not held accountable for its actions because the Post-Standard provides deep cover for it.  In the darkness of public ignorance, the government does whatever it wants to do.  An informed citizenry is essential for democracy to prevail, yet we have no such thing in Onondaga County.

I gave factual information to the County Legislature about Dept. of Social Services executives engaging in acts of retaliation against me because I was a whistleblower and filed a complaint with the state.  Deputy County Executive Ann Rooney was present and led the laughter.  A Post-Standard reporter was present and made no mention of my challenge in the story that was published.  When I related this to the attorney who was the Deputy Director of the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, he was shocked and appalled.

What goes on in Onondaga County does not go on in other counties of this state.  Other counties have actual reporters, editors and publishers who have a moral desire to fulfill their responsibility to inform the citizens.  What goes on outside this county is substantially different than what goes on inside it.  We have no standards of performance for public employees, in part because the Syracuse Newspapers, under Stephen Rogers (the father of the current publisher), decided that politics supersedes morality.  County Executive John Mulroy was sentenced in open court for participating in a conspiracy to steal democracy from the citizens, then went back to his office and kept working.  There was no editorial call for his resignation.

Onondaga County has a long and sordid history of collusion between the newspapers and the county government.  Newspapers are supposed to be the watchdog that keeps the government in check.  In Onondaga County, the newspaper is the public relations branch of the county government.  It publishes front-page stories—with photos—of the District Attorney’s Office charging people with Medicaid fraud.  But it refused to publish any stories about the Inspector General’s office investigating county government fraud in the $8 million Medicaid transportation industry.  Likewise, it refused to publish any stories about the federal investigation of Centro bus company for providing—or denying—paratransit services that met the requirements of the law.

What options do the citizens have when the only daily newspaper isn’t reporting the news they need in order to make informed decisions?

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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2 Responses to Welfare, Racism, and the Post-Standard (Part III)

  1. Mark David Blum, Esq. says:

    what a gender biased upchucking of malodorous blathering. as a former single father, i am offended, appalled, and disgusted with your portrait of men as abandoners and mothers who would never do so. your ignorance is right up there with your whining about the free money and services you get from my hard work.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      Sure, Mark, let’s talk about your “hard work” and my “free money.” I am getting “free money,” i.e., Social Security Disability, because I was poisoned by an incompetent psychiatrist and it left me in a wheelchair. Her malpractice insurance should be paying my expenses but you know what? No lawyer would take the case. The first one said it would only settle for about $70,000 and, frankly, his law firm was “hunting for a windfall.” Another lawyer told me that Onondaga County juries don’t like malpractice cases and they like psychiatric malpractice even less. So tell me, Mark: how have you used your legal skills for the betterment of mankind? Oh, you’ve just used those skills to make money for yourself? How’s that working out for you?

      I am an activist. I have made Medicaid transportation better for the 22,000 poor, sick people who have to use it. I have made Centro’s Call-a-Bus paratransit better for the 5,000 disabled people who have to use it. I have not been paid a cent for the thousands of hours I have spent pressing class actions. I did it because it was right, not because it was profitable. You have refused every request for assistance that I sent you.

      And as for the “gender biased” etc., I was speaking of the majority, and you’re smart enough to know that. Get your head out of your butt, look at what other people need, and stop whinning. I am sorry you are so miserable. I know you had a wretched upbringing. When are you going to get over it?

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