Monday, May 16, 2016

personal attack

I feel as though I should apologize to the readers of the Mount Holly News Flash for preciptiating the personal attack with which Mr. Ted Crawford, the chair of our Select Board, answered my understanding of the facts of the Advisory Council’s adherence to the Open Meeting Law. My immediate impulse was to withdraw and cease making public observations on the Town’s approach to revising the Town Plan. However, I recalled a previous encounter with Mr. Crawford in the school gym at the March 7th meeting of the Advisory Council. As I was setting up LPCTV equipment to video - for the first time - a meeting of the Advisory Council, Mr. Crawford rushed across the gym and about 4 inches from my face began yelling about the videoing and then launched into a personal attack similar to his “answer” to me in the Flash. The worst part of this experience was my genuine fear that Mr. Crawford was so close to losing control that he might become physical aggressive. This fear was shared by other male members of the audience who intervened to end the confrontation. I can only interpret Mr. Crawford’s behavior as an attempt to stop me doing something he opposed – on that occasion, making a public video recording of a public meeting. Similarly, I feel that Mr. Crawford’s personal attack in the Mount Holly Flash - when all he needed to do was refute my facts - was completely uncalled for. It feels to me - especially with the vague threat of legal action - like an attempt at intimidation; in this instance, to cease pointing out where the town government headed by Mr. Crawford may be falling short of abiding by the Open Meeting Law. Despite feeling a certain apprehension about future attacks, I am choosing to continue to use my experience in municipal government and in planning, to make whatever contribution I can to the affairs of my home town. I will write to inform, and I will write when I see that the citizens of the town are not being included in on-going decision making about town affairs - as the law requires. I can accept being wrong. I can accept being corrected. I do not need to be bullied. Annette Lynch

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