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The Third Retraction Demand From North County Transit District, And Our Response

In response to our recent story "War on Women Over 40," the North County Transit District (NCTD) sent inewsource and KPBS a letter demanding a retraction. The agency's lawyer, William Archer, said the inewsource reporter on the story has a "personal animosity" toward the public transportation agency and its executive director, Matthew Tucker.

On Wednesday, NCTD issued the retraction letter to inewsource and KPBS. Here's our response.

For background: In February 2013, inewsource began its extensive coverage of NCTD after an investigation into the agency's private security contractor found serious safety concerns, a lack of oversight within the district and millions of taxpayer dollars spent on untrained first responders. That story set in motion a rolling investigation, and more and more issues were uncovered as source after source came forward with information about both the agency and its executive director.

All told, inewsource has produced 25 stories on the district to the KPBS audience since February. inewsource has brought to light issues of safety, accountability, oversight, a high agency turnover rate, a range of deficiencies found by the Federal Transit Administration, questionable contracts awarded to colleagues, and now strong allegations and lawsuits alleging age and gender bias.

Including this most recent one, NCTD has now sent three retraction demands in response to our 25 stories.

The first story, published in April, detailed NCTD's misallocation of funds within their operating and capital budgets. NCTD issued a retraction demand to inewsource and KPBS, and we responded with a letter of our own, addressing their concerns point by point and asking the agency to submit anything that would prove our reporting to be inaccurate. They did not respond.

The second and third stories, published in May, addressed a lack of oversight within NCTD and the costs to taxpayers of managerial turnover and severance payments. NCTD issued a retraction demand to inewsource and KPBS, and we responded with a letter of our own. Again, we addressed their concerns point by point and asked the agency to submit anything that would prove our reporting to be inaccurate. Again, they did not respond.

Here's NCTD's newest letter — along with our response, point by point.

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