The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION -

Re­sponse iron­i­cally sad

For all you cit­i­zens who were not in at­ten­dance at the meeting Thurs­day night, Oct. 25, in the Com­mu­nity Room, you missed the per­for­mance of a life­time! A chance to see some of your city government in ac­tion, as the se­nior em­ployee of the city had most of the City Hall em­ploy­ees and an elected of­fi­cial ready to back her up when she called on them. Two peo­ple from City Hall were ab­sent, one of them be­ing the mayor. He missed the spec­ta­cle made by some of his em­ploy­ees.

I now to­tally un­der­stand why this town has not had a regime change in so many years. Any­one who has a dif­fer­ent opin­ion is met with to­tal op­po­si­tion con­sist­ing of be­ing called a liar, be­ing mocked, ridiculed, in­sulted and hu­mil­i­ated in pub­lic. The at­tempts at in­tim­i­da­tion are down­right dis­gust­ing.

A may­oral can­di­date was try­ing to present a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion-us­ing ma­te­rial from the City Mu­nic­i­pal Code Book de­scrib­ing the du­ties of elected of­fi­cials as well as in­for­ma­tion ob­tained from City Hall un­der FOI Act. All pub­lic in­for­ma­tion, avail­able to any­one who asks.

The speaker was con­tin­u­ally in­ter­rupted by the “Lady of the night” (ti­tle given on Face­book), and was told she didn’t know what she was talk­ing about. The speaker was openly mocked and ridiculed as ev­ery at­tempt was made to hu­mil­i­ate her by eight dif­fer­ent peo­ple in the group, six were in the lady’s group and two who don’t even live in the city but were the prover­bial “ag­i­ta­tors.” They all worked hard to make the speaker look bad and in so do­ing, they made them­selves look like mon­sters.

The real trav­esty in all of this is that they made this com­mu­nity look hor­ri­ble to the out­side world, and make no mis­take, there were out­side peo­ple there.

There were new­com­ers to the city, there were old timers and there were vis­i­tors from out of town. A vis­it­ing sen­a­to­rial can­di­date and his wife were present. Af­ter­wards, th­ese peo­ple ex­pressed ev­ery­thing from anger to dis­gust at the per­for­mance. The sen­a­to­rial can­di­date said he was ap­palled at the ha­tred com­ing from the back of the room. Sadly, I’m sure th­ese peo­ple will talk to oth­ers and our com­mu­nity will have the rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing a very un­friendly place to live.

An event de­signed to be in­for­ma­tive and al­low cit­i­zens to ask ques­tions about their city government and to en­cour­age a new per­spec­tive, in other words a friendly ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion, de­graded to a uni­fied as­sault on the guest speaker.

Later that night Face­book was lively as the ag­i­ta­tors crowed and bragged about what a great job they had done and how “the lady” had “ruled the night.” It was so ironic it might have been funny if it was not so in­cred­i­bly sad for Pea Ridge.

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