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Ferris WDL vote

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FERRIS – Shortly after last year’s city council elections giving a competing faction of voters a clear majority, the Ferris City Council voted to publish their legal notices – state-required documents including bids and meeting information – in the Waxahachie Daily Light.

The only snag in the set-up was the WDL had no general circulation in the town, as state law mandates.

When the news broke WDL’s parent company, American Consolidated Media, was bought out by an Australian media conglomerate – a major investor in Gov. Rick Perry’s Trans-TX Corridor – that prompted former Ellis County Press editor Sheila Hatfield to jump in the 2008 city council race.

"I want to give the citizens [their] voice back," she said.

Hatfield faces incumbent Place 1 Councilman Rick Barrett on May 10.

Ferris officials voted for the newspaper switch, Hatfield said, because their coverage of former police chief Jeff Cottongame exposed a network of corruption and alleged illegal acts.

"Ferris taxpayers are paying a foreign investor to hide the information about their town and to us, that’s not good," said ECP Publisher Charles Hatfield, who bought the paper in 1992.

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