In examining the opinion piece appearing in the October 23 edition of the Branson Tri-Lakes News by James Strahan, Taney County Assessor (Strahan) entitled, “Assessor’s office should remain” the Ole Seagull was reminded of an Abraham Lincoln quote. The quote says, “I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.”
In responding to Strahan, the words in following “JS” are Strahan’s comments. The words after “TOSG” is the Ole Seagull’s response. The “letter” or “article” to which Strahan refers is entitled “Which office should be dissolved ‘County Assessor’ or ‘Planning and Zoning?'” It appeared as the Ole Seagull’s column in the Oct. 10 edition of this paper and is available on line at WWW.TheOleSeagull.com.
JS: Over the weekend of October 10th I picked up a copy of a local paper and discovered a disturbing letter written by Gary Groman…
TOSG: One could wonder if Strahan knows anything more about the difference between a letter, opinion piece or column and article than he does about the State of Missouri Tax Commission’s authority in the assessment of local property taxes. Evidently not, because a few minutes later, in typical James Strahan fashion, he refers to what he had previously called a “letter” as an “article.”
“But Seagull isn’t that akin to Strahan saying that he had been properly assessing property taxes, when the State of Missouri Tax Commission said he wasn’t. How did that end up?” “Well, for what it matters, based on what an Ole Seagull believes, it appears that it cost the taxpayers of Taney County hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs and lost reimbursement from the state and that the judge decided in favor of the Tax Commission.” Now that’s what an Ole Seagull would call “disturbing!”
JS:… in opposition of the County Assessor, and other individual’s rights and freedoms, guaranteed by the constitution.
TOSG: Exactly what in the column opposed “other individual’s rights and freedoms, guaranteed by the constitution?” “But Seagull, what about being in opposition of the Country Assessor?” “So what! Is the County Assessor anointed from on high? Have we reached a point in Taney County government, or in America, where a citizen cannot speak out about what they believe are the belligerent, arrogant, arbitrary, capricious, ignorant and potentially abusive acts of those in government?”
JS: I was in disbelief of the question asked by headlines, “Which office should be dissolved, County Assessor or Planning & Zoning?”
TOSG: What’s to believe or disbelieve, the headline, column title, said what it said. Among other things, headlines are designed to attract attention and get people to read the column. Obviously, in Strahan’s case it did what it was supposed to do.
JS: …Groman represents himself as a well informed intelligent writer, however that leads to many questions about his article…
TOSG: Specifically when has the Ole Seagull ever represented himself “as a well informed intelligent writer?” It is more likely that he has represented himself a “a lowly seagull walking along after the horse in the parade picking at the droppings.”
How does an Ole Seagull’s intelligence or lack thereof lead to “many questions about his article?” To an Ole Seagull, Strahan’s statement makes about as much sense as saying, “Strahan represents himself as a well informed intelligent County Tax Assessor in compliance with all the applicable laws and regulations of Missouri, its constitution, and Tax Commission, however that leads to many questions about his job performance.” To the best of his knowledge, the Ole Seagull’s intelligence or lack thereof hasn’t cost Taney County taxpayers a penny. Can Strahan say the same?
JS: Mr. Groman fails to mention in his article whether he got his division III permit from Planning & Zoning to write his article from his home.
TOSG: Strahan has the Ole Seagull there, but then he didn’t mention his fear that Strahan and the potential power and political clout he represents could be used selectively and abusively against individuals and businesses within the county, the sex life of the African Tsetse Fly or any one of a million other things that the column was not about either. That aside, to an Ole Seagull, Strahan’s asserted implication is what Lincoln meant when he said, “He who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood.”