Thursday, September 21, 2017

LKN Citizen doubles-down on Griffith Street Hotel "opinion" bias

aShortChronicle told readers about the ridiculous anonymous editorial penned by the "staff" at the
Lake Norman Citizen mocking safety concerns around the location of a new hotel next to two schools.  They described those concerns as just election year politics.  Well, that piece of writing got quite a response from their readers it appears.  So much so, the paper did two unusual things.

They actually wrote a half decent straight news piece on the public hearing last week acknowledging parental safety concerns were raised.  The paper also said they would print some of the comments received on the column.  This is where things jumped back off the rails.

In this week's edition of the Citizen "staff" did print some comments, but the balance was totally off.  Yes, there were more opposing comments than supporting, but one of the two supporting comments was from the Hotel development company itself.  That one was titled "Self appointed hotel experts".  What the Citizen failed to do was also print an opposing comment it received from an actual hotel expert.

The below comment from hotel industry veteran Fred Dalton was sent to the Citizen in response to the paper seeking comment post on Facebook.  Here's ehat Dalton had to say.

I cannot speak for others who have committed their own personal time towards this issue, but allow me to speak for myself.

I do not speak out against the construction of the hotel adjacent to an elementary school with any political motive or intent. I have met some wonderfully passionate and committed people in the past month. They care deeply about the town of Davidson and feel that the best remaining option to save what they love is through political change.

I am not a resident of Davidson. I support no local politician and am not aligned with any candidates. I speak out because it is wrong. I speak out because I am a CSD parent with a great deal of experience in the hotel industry and because of common sense. I speak out because I am a father.

Yes, “The greatest concern is safety for the school children in light of potential increase in drugs, pedophilia, human trafficking, guns and other violence, and other safety issues.” ... Yes, really.

I speak from 20 years of hotel industry experience that no one else associated with the issue could bring to the conversation.

While the editorial makes light of our concerns about human trafficking, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is concerned enough about human trafficking that it produces a program within the DHS Blue Campaign specifically for the hotel industry. Within this program they describe: "Traffickers often take advantage of the privacy and anonymity offered by the hospitality industry. They can operate discreetly because staff and guests may not know the signs of human trafficking. Hotels and motels are also major locations where traffickers force sex trafficking victims to provide commercial sex to paying customers. Victims may be forced to stay at a hotel or motel where customers come to them, or they are required to go to rooms rented out by the customers" Information on additional resources, literature, materials, and training offered by the Blue Campaign can be found at  

In 2016, North Carolina saw a 62% increase in trafficking year over year, nearly doubling the also troubling 35% nationwide average increase. In the state, the Charlotte Region has the highest number of cases. DSS and CMS are not making light of this issue either and have worked with Present Age Ministries to teach CMS educators as well as 7th and 8th graders about trafficking and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Mecklenburg County currently has 911 registered sex offenders. Iredell County currently has 257 along with Cabarrus County with 275. There are 34,722 registered sex offenders in the Carolinas and 747,408 in the U.S. Based on GS 14-208.16: "Any offender... is prohibited from knowingly residing within 1,000 feet of the property on which any public or nonpublic school or child care center is located" Unfortunately the statute is non-specific regarding hotel accommodations, creating a potential legal safe space for predators. 

Overall, the hotel industry is a wonderful place. Hundreds of thousands of guests have passed through the doors that I have directly or indirectly managed across the country. Being in a guest services industry, you get to meet many fascinating people. Most that you meet are under the best of circumstances; families on vacations, fans attending sporting events or coworkers gathering for a meeting. Some you meet are under less than ideal circumstances; damaged homes, displaced spouses, or medical procedures. A very small number of guests are those that you refer to as the "unwanted". Regardless of snarky attempts to minimize my concerns in a manner oddly familiar to the same attitude projected from the Board, these individuals do represent a percentage of the overall hotel guest population. 

This developer builds and operates fantastic hotels and top of the line staff. This fact is not up for debate. He is well known and respected locally in the industry. I have no doubt, that no matter where this hotel is built it will be a beautiful and well run property. The only issue with this hotel is the location, and to me it is not a laughing matter. 

Fred Dalton

aShortChronicle has also seen the lengthy response to Dalton's email from editor Lee Sullivan, so it is clear the paper received Dalton's message.

Putting a comment from the developer's firm that focuses on "qualifications" to even be able to comment while at the same time leaving out opposing comments from an equally "qualified" person is the epitome of bias by omission.  Furthermore, the developer's comment acts as if his firm has been portrayed in a negative light.  Again, read the last paragraph of Dalton's comments.  He actually specifically complements the developer on the quality of the firm's hotels.  Opposition to this proposal has nothing to do with the quality of the planned development.  It is simply a question of location due to the potential for safety issues.

Yes, this is the opinion section and not the news, but not presenting all the information available when it was specifically asked for by the Citizen was a real disservice to the public. 

It also shows which "opinion" the Citizen "staff" really sides with.

No comments:

Post a Comment