Tonight we attended the Board of Commissioners meeting. They addressed the naming of the Golf Course walking trail and town manager Melissa Adams emphasized, twice, that she added it to the agenda, not for nefarious reasons, but for safety. She’s concerned someone will have an emergency while walking the trail and won’t know how to tell the 911 operator where to send emergency services. They literally suggested a temporary name be used…while they decide on a temporary name?
In lieu of spending tax payers’ money on temporary signage for the temporary walking trail…maybe the town could suggest walkers give the address…3625 Golfview Road.
…or you could refer to the existing sign. It’s been there for decades.
Commissioner Edwards asked the board to discuss Pat Hall and the racist comments she left on Mayor Warner’s Facebook page. She specifically did not read the comment out of respect for the Mayor and the family who posted the photo. She made a motion to remove Pat Hall from the Historic Preservation Committee, citing Mitchell and Legge’s comments during the February meeting, and their preference for having citizens who are in harmony with the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Mitchell interrupted to announce Pat Hall made a financial contribution to his mayoral campaign and asked the attorney if he should recuse himself from the discussion. The attorney said he wouldn’t benefit financially from their decision so he didn’t have to. But that was the extent of Mitchell’s contributions. The Mayoral candidate simply shied away from the conversation and refused to comment either way.
Commissioner Larson insisted the racist comments be read aloud even after she admitted she’d read it on this blog. Then, moments after hearing it again, she said it was shameful and disgusting that we would accuse Pat Hall of making racist comments.
Jerry Legge chimed in to say Pat Hall has done so much for this community he wasn’t inclined to vote against her.
Legge invented ‘sin credit’ to justify her actions. If you do enough good deeds for the town of Hope Mills…you can make racist comments and get away with it. He mentioned specifically Hall was instrumental in getting the Episcopal Church renamed this week. But that isn’t true. Renaming the church was a condition given to the town by the one remaining heir. He wouldn’t relinquish his claim if they didn’t rename it. He even wrote the resolution to be read in the dedication to his ancestor. Pat Hall…changed it.
Finally, Commissioner Bellflowers announced he’s known Pat Hall for a very long time and said he wanted to hear from her before making a decision.
For the record, this board has attacked Bill Bowman and myself during dozens of meetings. They’ve discussed our motives, our method of operation and they’ve labeled us ‘fake news’ so many times I’ve lost count. And they did it while we were in the audience, without ever giving either of us an opportunity to speak to the board.
Finally, the attorney reminded them there was a motion on the floor and they voted…4-1 to keep Pat Hall on the HPC. Commissioner Edwards was the 1 vote in favor of removing her.
Not one of the Commissioners who voted to keep Hall on the Historic Committee asked about the woman who posted the photo. They didn’t ask how she felt. They didn’t ask about her kids. They didn’t suggest suggest Pat Hall apologize to her, or the Mayor, or the staff…or the public.
There were a lot of embarrassing moments, but Commissioner Larson was by far tonight’s biggest disappointment. She managed to make the entire incident about her when she said she’s read a lot of mean comments about herself on Facebook by people who serve on town committees. Then she said she doesn’t get upset and demand they all be removed from their various committees.
I want the readers to consider several points…
Meg Larson is an elected official. She signed up for this. Whether it’s my blog, which criticizes her policies and procedure, or some idiot on Facebook hiding behind a pseudonym, she volunteered for this. Every candidate is briefed by the Board of Elections about the detractors.
The woman who posted the photo of her family with the Mayor…she didn’t volunteer. She didn’t attend a political event. She attended an art event as a private citizen. She shared the photo with her friend, Jackie Warner. She and her family, like every private citizen, should have a reasonable expectation of safety when they attend events in our community. This week proved they don’t.
Two weeks ago Larson used the board meeting to attack the Mayor. Once again she referred to the two articles Bill Bowman sent Mayor Warner hours before they were published on the Up & Coming Weekly website. Larson said the Mayor’s action warranted an amotion hearing to remove her from office. The mayor simply received two emails. She didn’t write the articles. She didn’t ask Bowman to write them. She didn’t even allow herself to be interviewed for them.
But Mike Mitchell did.
Mitchell contacted a reporter for UCW and fed him information which caused an article to be written. He actually did the same thing over the same issue with the Fayetteville Observer. Larson didn’t suggest an amotion hearing to remove Mitchell for launching several articles but she condemned the Mayor for simply knowing about one?
Larson wants the Mayor removed from office for knowing about an article that made the board look bad, but she’s defending Pat Hall’s racist comments which make the entire town look bad?
Do you get the feeling there are two standards for the people of Hope Mills?
Larson has used social media and her elected seat as a pulpit to expound on the bully atmosphere in Hope Mills. But it’s hers and Mitchell’s supporters who are bullying the community.
Last week the Mayor visited Robyn’s On Main and spent hours pouring coffee for guests and chatting with them. Within hours the Chatter Facebook group was full of comments suggesting they boycott Robyn’s restaurant! The same thing happened a few days earlier when the Mayor held an event at Marci’s Cakes and Bakes.
Warner works tirelessly to promote local businesses. But in the bully atmosphere Larson and Mitchell have created, those same businesses are now the subject of boycotts and social media attacks!!
Remember, as we march slowly towards the election, if you support Mitchell or Larson, specifically with a campaign contribution, if you’ve been on a committee for a decade or two, or if you know the board member for a long time, you can behave as badly as you want and this board will not only excuse your bad behavior, they will condone it.
But if you speak against them or support Mayor Warner,they will invent rules to keep you from serving on committees, ridicule you on social media and boycott your business.