She said, he said
War of words continues in Harbour Grace
It looks like the gloves are off between Harbour Grace resident Pauline Yetman and Mayor Don Coombs. Yetman, who attended a March 29 regular council meeting, accuses the mayor of tearing up a number of letters written by concerned citizens including a fake letter with her e-mail nickname on it.
“I saw more than one paper or letter in his hand,” she says. “During that meeting he tore up letters from people who had concerns about the condition of the town. He just tore them up and then balled them up and threw them across the table. And he was very sarcastic about the ones he did read by referring to them as complimentary letters of support,” Yetman continued.
“ That was uncalled for and it shows how little respect he has for the people of this town and their concerns. The mayor is there because someone voted him in, he is there to represent the town and he should be there to answer the issues at hand.”
Over the past few weeks Yetman, who moved back to Harbour Grace from Mississauga, Ontario last July, has been very vocal about the garbage and discarded pieces of rusted metal and equipment around town. Her concerns led to the establishment of
the social network group “Speak Loud and Let Your Voice be Heard in Harbour Grace.” Yetman and several others are listed as the administrators of the group.
On March 8 Yetman requested to speak at a regular council meeting. Her request was turned down by Mayor Coombs who said Yetman had to first apologize for the remarks and accusations made against council on the Facebook group. However when Yetman attempted to apologize Coombs threatened to call the police and have her removed from council chambers.
During last week’s meeting she claims she saw Coombs tear up letters from residents along with another unsigned letter/e-mail addressed to council from someone named “Posh”. Yetman whose e-mail nickname is “Posh” says the letter did not come from her. “It was a fake and the mayor just wanted to make me look bad,” she says.
“Someone else made up that letter, I didn’t write it! I have no reason to send council a letter and not put my name to it. I have no problem putting my name on any letter I sent to council, in fact I have sent them numerous letters and I have always signed my name. The mayor is just trying to discredit me.”
Yetman says the mayor needs to give less attention to tearing up letters and more to informing councillors of what’s going on.
“He should be more concerned about making sure that all councillors receive copies of any letters that are sent to council,” she says.
“I spoke with one councillor and he said he hadn’t seen the letters from the residents, which the mayor tore up, and was going to inquire about them. I thought the councillors were supposed to receive copies of all the correspondence before the meetings? Apparently it doesn’t always happen with this council.”
Yetman says she was also told that the town doesn’t have the 2010-2011 budget completed.
“ That’s not even done yet. I mean what kind of a council is this?” she said. “An audit of the town’s books is definitely needed here. The taxpayers of our town deserve to know what is going on with the finances and how their money is being spent.”
Yetman said the Facebook group is getting lots of support and many people are posting comments about their own personal experiences with the mayor and the town council.
She claims a member of the town council has also joined the Facebook group.
“ This person is trying to disguise who they are by using an alias e-mail name and then posting nasty and negative comments about the group or challenging some of the comments made by myself and others,” she said.
Yetman has taken her concerns on the condition of the town and how it is being managed to the premier.
“I wrote him a letter about some of the things that are happening here...,” she says.
Despite the overwhelming support Yetman says she is thinking about backing away from the issues in the town.
“It’s taken up a lot of time, it’s stressful and it’s my neck that’s on the line here,” she concluded.
Meanwhile some of the comments posted on the Facebook group Speak Loud and Let Your Voice Be heard in Harbour Grace have been sparking heated debates among the members. As of Wednesday March 31, some of the 329 members were voicing concerns about what they felt were personal attacks on members of council. Others felt the purpose of the group was being lost. By Thursday April 1, the group had dropped to 85 members. According to the information posted, some left voluntarily, while the creator of the group removed others because she felt “things were getting out of control.”