Someone below asked why I do not just accuse Ms. Balzarini of lying to the Commission when she claimed that SME had "agreed" to payments in lieu of taxes.

It's very simple, really. I did not accuse her of lying because I do not know that she is lying. My credibility is very important to me and to say that someone is lying when there are other, plausible explanations hurts that credibility.

For example, when she said that SME "has agreed to make a payment in lieu of taxes to make up for the lack of annexation," that is not necessarily a false statement. She could have used the term "agreed" in a colloquial sense, meaning that Tim Gregori said something along the lines of "oh yeah, sure, we'll do that." In that event he has "agreed" to do it, even though such an 'agreement' probably is not legally enforceable.

If this were a lawsuit, and I could depose Ms. Balzarini, then I could flesh this out. Did she intend the word "agreed" in an informal sense, or was she trying to convey to the City Commission that there was some sort of binding agreement so that they should go ahead and pass the ordinance allowing the provision of services without annexation?

In my profession, one must be extremely careful with the word "lie." There are a myriad of reasons why a verbal statement may be inaccurate, and an intentional misstatement of fact is but one. If I accuse someone of telling a lie, and there is another explanation, my credibility is shot.

It is taught to us lawyers that it is far more persuasive to lead the horse to water, but let the horse do the drinking. In other words, I can lay out what Ms. Balzarini said to the Commission, lay out a brief legal analysis, and lay out what the City's response was to my information request about agreements to pay fees in lieu of taxes.

Then you can draw your own conclusions.



Anonymous said...

Several in city government are in way over their heads. Others that... well, I used to think had good intentions but lacked the gravity of the situation - now I have reservations.

Too much smoke for no fire.

Anonymous said...

Drink deep, cause this horse knows the outlaws be lyin'