More than $6 million was collectively raised for local nonprofit charities through the 2014 year-end â€œGive!â€ campaigns held by Willamette Week, Colorado Springs Independent, Monterey County Weekly and INDY Week.
The Jan. 12 issue of New Times' flagship paper summarizes a report by Douglas Jones on "widespread problems within the Maricopa County [Ariz.] Elections Department." Jones, a University of Iowa computer science professor, has been a subject of controversy ever since state Sen. Jack Harper issued a subpoena allowing him to examine the county's voting machines. Both Harper and New Times, which paid for Jones' report, have been strongly criticized in the local press. New Times Editor Rick Barrs said local politicians and press have drummed up controversy over the subpoena to obscure the real story: local elections are ripe for error and fraud.
A member of the Arizona Senate's Ethics Committee has filed a formal complaint against Sen. Jack Harper (R-Surprise), arguing that Harper acted improperly when he issued a subpoena requiring that voting machines be released to a consultant hired by Phoenix New Times. Harper said he agreed to allow New Times to fund consultant Douglas W. Jones, a computer-science expert, after the Senate refused to pay for an investigation into a contested 2004 election. On Dec. 21, a judge refused to enforce a second subpoena for the individual ballots to be released to Jones, whose report on the machines is expected in a week. It is unclear whether Jones' report will be made public, or if it will be published first in New Times. According to the Arizona Daily Star, New Times Editor Rick Barrs "said he is not sure whether he will even give a copy of the consultant's report to Harper."
The outgoing editor, Jim Harper, told the St. Petersburg Times that Weekly Planet president and CEO Ben Eason "wants a different kind of editor" and is conducting a nationwide search. Harper will retain his post during the hunt for his replacement. He has been the Planet's editor for 15 months. Before that, he worked for more than 20 years at the Times.