Over the weekend, Tutty Baker, (a local attorney who pretends he’s Tutty Baker) published to his Blog and to Facebook a partial page snap-shop of the Freeport Housing Authority Checking Account Register from a time in 2014.
In his public post he asked his viewers to, “Please share this document” additionally requesting his viewers to answer, “Why would the Freeport Housing Authority write a check for more than $15,000 to the Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County?”
As you can presume, the public chimed in.
- Does Tutty have a theory?
- Not at this point but the investigation has just begun…this just might be the tip of the iceberg. At the very least, Freeport Housing Authority commissioner should be able to explain this expenditure to the Freeport public.
- Quite a large amount of money. The entity receiving the check is baffling also. I’ve never heard of a chamber of commerce having a specific racial title. Sure seems to be a lot of controversy lately in Freeport. Problem seems to be a lack of accountability.
- LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER INVESTIGATION IS DO
- oh by the way, you may call me racist if it helps you feel better.
As most of you know I am a very strong supporter of the people. I have to admit however, this is very disheartening to me and I felt the need to step into this discussion for a few reasons.
First, my view is this.
1. Question everything. The government, city officials, city employees, all of it. They all work for you. You pay for our community. It wouldn’t run, function or exist without your money. 2. In questioning everything also comes an obligation to “know” everything and be involved as well. After-all, to not is to only cheat one’s own self.
While I commend any local citizen for digging into the use of taxpayer money and city and county policy issues (and sharing documented findings along with relative supportive commentary), I think this time Tutty crossed the line. Perhaps old age has finally caught up with him.
You see, Tutty never bothered to ask the Housing Authority what the check was written for. No email, phone call, text message, smoke signal not even a tweet. Tutty failed the cardinal “I’m watching out for the Public” rule.
Opting out, he instead requested that the public share the image first and then (as if any of them would know either) to tell Tutty why the Housing Authority would write that check. Our Founder used Facebook to get the public all riled up, angry, suspicious, negatively influencing others and by only half the story saying, “it’s all about enlightening the public about what goes on with their tax dollars“.
And that’s where I missed something.
See, I wasn’t there at the Housing Authority meeting to know about what went on with my tax dollars. When the founder of Freeport published this I was curious to know why he thought this was an issue worth pointing out. I didn’t realize however that I had to do something. Are you asking me to call the Housing Authority? Is someone else going to call them? Do we all pick a number? Tenth caller perhaps? Tenth LIKE or Share? How exactly was I going to know the answer to the question you just proposed to me.
I guess I could just hang out on Facebook and see what other people’s comments are. That usually ends well. Hardly any irrational fighting or name calling ever happens there. Should be interesting to see what sort of positive outcome this brews into. I don’t know. Tutty, what do you want me to do to get this information if you’re not going to tell me? Can I presume you weren’t at the Housing Authority board meeting when this was discussed either? That’s okay I guess, neither was I. More concerning to me though is apparently, neither was your audience.
While I will never tell anyone not to question where their tax dollars go, the hard reality is, they don’t. They don’t question where their tax money goes, they just pay it. They pay it, and pay it, and pay it. They don’t question anything, they just complain and suffer the results. No one attends School Board meetings, city council meetings, county board meetings or any of the other publicly funded organizations that hold public meetings that make up where their tax money goes. That’s the reality. Isn’t there a bigger issue that our Founder can spend his time on?
See, our Founder posting a random photo of a checkbook register on the internet that’s only intended plot seemed to be “look, black people spent money with more black people” and then leaving a mystery, isn’t what we need. It is also not something I expect or want from the image of the Founder of this city I was born in. I expect if our founder brings me information or news, that he brings me everything. That he provides answers to the questions he asks and at the very least, guides me down a path to how we together can “be a part of or act in the resolve“, if in fact there is some issue worth involving me in. Yet, I don’t even know who this Tutty dude is. Could be Charlie Manson writing from prison, or a Terrorist for all I know.
What I do know is I don’t expect to have my “feathers all ruffled” and be left hanging under the pretense of some bigger untold plot by the “mystery man”. This “bigger story” that apparently I’m not intelligent enough for my “founder” to tell me everything. Then I think, wait, does Tutty really have my best interest at heart anymore? How can one claim to have the best interest of the public in mind if they’re not telling me the whole story? If they themselves didn’t even ask the Housing Authority about the check either?
Then I wake up today.
I see that WIFR covered a news piece on this topic. I then see that Tutty posted another article in response to their coverage. His article starts out by him saying that apparently he ruffled some feathers by “simply asking questions” and now I”m starting to get upset.
He didn’t ask any questions. Now it feels like we’ve crossed the line from Tutty being concerned about me, to Tutty just playing a game on me. Using me, the people, the public.
You did ruffle some feathers. You ruffled my feathers and I have nothing to do with the issue. I’m just a citizen of Freeport. A no one. I want information, the truth, both sides of the story. I don’t want you or anyone else to ruffle the feathers of our community or publicly make us look bad unless you’ve got something that you can substantiate. I don’t want to be led down a wild goose chase and I’m sorry, I don’t expect our Founder to be the one who leads me down it.
You know what I had to do? I called Larry Williams and asked him if I could come over and ask him directly about the check. He said, sure, c’mon over. I met him in his office and even interviewed him. On camera too.
Why didn’t you do that?
Then I read in your article this morning that you’re critical of the way WIFR covered the story. Calling out the news director for not obtaining documents. Now, it kind of feels like you’re accusing me of not getting enough information. Was I, a citizen of Freeport supposed to ask Larry Williams for something I didn’t? Even more disturbing though is, aren’t you the one who broke the story in the first place? Explain this to me. How is it that you can publish a story without the very credentials that you now accuse other media of failing to provide or ask for? Why is it that you feel outside of that responsibility to provide the very thing you accuse others of not providing?
Tutty himself even states that he “learned a long time ago that trusting a public official regarding public business and finances without asking for and receiving documentation is the peak of journalistic naivete“.
Is our founding father of Freeport, Illinois Tutty Baker a hypocrite? Please tell me it’s not so. Did I, this sole citizen of Freeport, Illinois, the only one in the entire city who even bothered to go speak directly to the executive director of the Housing Authority about an “issue” that “Tutty Baker” brought up, now fail in his mission to get the truth? Why didn’t Tutty tell me what I should do? Why didn’t Tutty tell me what I should be asking for? As a citizen of this community, I would like an explanation to that. Now I feel insulted. I feel ridiculed as a citizen of this community who went out of his way to get information that Tutty didn’t provide himself, only to learn I apparently didn’t do it right. The one citizen, who like Tutty, dug for information.
People, we live in a very manipulative world and time in our lives. Corporations manipulate us, the government manipulates us, lawyers manipulate us and the media manipulates us. A lot of very serious issues plague our people. ISIS, the Muslim takeover of Europe, our own State who can’t pass a budget impasse, corrupt politicians, taxes, the list is endless.
Are the issues of our city really what WIFR, a news media out of Rockford did or didn’t do? Was Tutty Baker passed the baton to be the watchdog of these issues, yet not bound by his own rules? Are the issues of our city deserving of reason to make Larry Williams, this kid who came from utter poverty, put himself through school and became something, look bad? Are our issues reason to publicly ridicule a woman who also came from hardship, who now gives herself to the activities of a non-profit? Are they the real target of this public display of drama, or is Tutty after some higher power and only just using us, the public to get there? Is that what we’ve stooped to?
More importantly, is this really the image we want of our Founding Father. Is this what the founder of Freeport, Illinois would really do? As a community, are we missing something? Would it not be the ultimate goal of any one who claims to care for the people, to ultimately have a community that is fully engaged in these public organizations themselves? Should that not be our main focus?
Wouldn’t the community know of this check, what is was written for, why it was written if they too were a part of that process? Am I not correct when I say that an engaged public is a more educated public and that within that involvement, is the solution to so many of the neglect or misuse of public fund issues we face everywhere? Where is that message? Aren’t we the public the ultimate watchdog? If it’s solely up to Tutty Baker and myself, I hate to break it to everyone, but our city is doomed.
While I genuinely tip my hat to Tutty for digging into issues people care about, I also demand that Tutty act like the leader he is and help those of us who genuinely care about our people, but aren’t entirely sure what to do. I’m stupid. I don’t know anything. I rely on what people like Tutty tell me and I expect him to be a leader who can guide me to involvement, togetherness and community. This recent display of “care for the public” in my opinion only managed to accomplish the exact opposite. It only divided us and made us look bad and it appears now, not only in Freeport, but in Rockford and within a 150 mile radius around us.
I don’t want any public official to mis-use my money. I also don’t want our community or our citizens to be embarrassed, harassed or used. Tutty knows the general public isn’t too up on the real issues that we face in our community. He knows we’re naive, impressionable and mold-able. He knows how the public will follow a “bad news” story and that they won’t question it themselves. They won’t go talk to the Housing Authority or the Mayor. They’ll just take what he says for face value, no matter what it is.
What public officials at least do, is they stand in the public and knowingly subject themselves to ridicule and criticism. I have to at least respect that of them. They don’t hide behind another name, a fictitious face, they say here’s who I am, here’s what I stand for and if those in our community have issue with it, speak up. The mere presence of a “pretend” Tutty Baker speaking to the community goes completely against that. It says I can say and do whatever I want, and I’m not accountable, Tutty is.
What people need is transparency. Where, what they see and what they hear, is what they get. This isn’t one of those examples. Maybe Tutty should retire his alter ego and just come out of the closet once and for all. I am not sure I want the image of our Founder to be someone who, as Tutty states, “haunts the southern most Pecatonica River flats in an effort to keep local politicos on the up and up” if this is how he chooses to do that.
Sure, perhaps on a whim in some creative moment of thought it came to you, “I know, I’ll be Tutty Baker” and maybe that’s as serious as it got. Cool, no problem. I really don’t care if Mickey Mouse is the person behind the name. Real life though isn’t a game. People’s REAL LIVES are in the balance here. People are genuinely hurting and they need trustworthy people to guide them to the path of involvement and understanding in our city. It is up to our leaders to guide us, direct us, inform us and tell us how to be engaged to do something about it. Of someone who chose to represent our city Founder and be his voice, I expect that of them even more.
I want change in our city. I want our community to come together so bad I can taste it. I want our people to know that WE hold the power to resolve the issues that face our city and for the most part can, simply by being engaged in it. I trust our people. I trust you reading this, that when educated thoroughly you are able to (and will) make sound judgments and decisions. I don’t want my intelligence to be played by any city leader or by anyone who publishes a story, and I don’t want yours to be. I want our government to do it’s job with ethical care over our people, and I don’t want the people to be lied to or misled any longer by anyone. We’ve been used, abused, mis-used enough.
The public is starving for the truth. They crave it. Everywhere they turn though, someone’s got a story. We want answers, solutions and we want the political madness that we all know exists to end. I want you to be a part of that Tutty Baker, the founder of my city, I sincerely do, but help me do that. Help me be a citizen who can make a difference. Empower me. Teach me. If you can’t do that, then hang up your hat. Don’t just ask me to share a post that leaves me upset, angry and uninformed. Anyone can do that.
While sure, in a small town setting I can understand a worry about political backlash revealing your true self. Certainly you must be able to concede though, that far bigger names in our world than yours openly stand up to our leaders. Further, if our leaders misuse money and power to their advantage, such as you’ve made numerous claims to, you should be able to concede they are far more vulnerable than you are if you believe in the public behind you.
Tutty Baker has a responsibility to our people and to our city. Anyone acting on “his behalf” shares that same responsibility. I ask that Tutty really re-think what that is. If your promise is to genuinely stand up for the people of our community, I can assure you that you are absolutely not alone.
It just so happens that I know of over 3,800 people who crave the same things.