Friday, November 21, 2014

For your weekend reading pleasure: George Dunlap response to the Observer's editorial

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 12:24 PM

It’s time for the latest edition in that highly entertaining and uber-competitive game show, “Which Charlotte-Mecklenburg Leadership Group Is The Most Dysfunctional?” And as we close out the week, with the School Board seemingly stuck in quicksand rather than making any real progress in naming a new superintendent, it’s clear the County Commission has surged — no, make that vaulted — into the lead. Here are a couple of this week’s developments that ought to underscore that assertion.

First, on Thursday, a graphic representative map of the county, created by local Democratic strategist Tom Chumley, began making the rounds, detailing, precinct-by-precinct, who led in the at-large voting. What’s most telling in this is that the current chairman of the Commission, Trevor Fuller, failed to lead in a single one of the nearly 200 polling places.

Blue: Pat Cotham; Green: Ella Scarborough; Red: Emily Finison Zuyus; Purple: Scott Carlisle
  • Blue: Pat Cotham; Green: Ella Scarborough; Red: Emily Finison Zuyus; Purple: Scott Carlisle

Why does this matter? The current argument dividing the Board concerns who will hold the chair’s spot after Dec. 1, when the new Board is sworn in and they choose their leader. By most accounts, Fuller has the support of the Democrats on the Board other than former chair Pat Cotham — even though Fuller came in third in the voting on Nov. 4, fully 22,000 votes behind Cotham. (Ella Scarborough came in second, more than 18,000 votes behind Cotham in her return to holding a local elective office.)

So, you might ask, by what possible rationale Fuller might continue to hold the gavel, given the fact that the voters clearly rejected him — not to mention the fact that he created and led the move to place a highly controversial increase in the local sales-tax on the ballot, which also went down in flames, and that he’s also admitted to “mistakes” in his filings concerning his campaign financing? It’s got to do with a lot of mumbo-jumbo about it only being “a tradition” that the top vote-getter be named the chair, and that there are plenty of examples where that wasn't followed.

But don’t be distracted by that, folks. The real reason is personal — there’s bad blood between the other Democrats and Cotham, largely focused around her leading the ouster last year of county manager Harry Jones. And that’s where the second item on this week’s list of absurdities becomes relevant.

Earlier this week, commissioner George Dunlap, a Democrat, unleashed a torrent of insults against Cotham on his Facebook page, calling her, among other things, a “snitch.” The next day, in an editorial comment, the Charlotte Observer’s Peter St. Onge took Dunlap to task for that outburst. And so we end the week with a letter Dunlap then wrote back to St. Onge, and which he sent out later on Tuesday, copying many individuals. It is now circumnavigating throughout the town and county because of its content, which has been described as nasty, bitter, inappropriate for an elected official — and much more that can’t be printed here.

Here, then, for your weekend reading pleasure, and for your consideration as we move into the last 10 days before this all comes to a head with what should be the deciding vote on Dec. 1, is Dunlap’s letter, in full, published here without any edits.

Peter, I feel for you. You and your board felt the need to have you write the story so that it won’t look bad having had Taylor do it. Seems you guys took that as a personal attack, mush like I have felt over the years. its has been said that a hit dog will holler. For you, it hurts when you toes get stepped on, and everybody knows it, which is why you felt the need to respond to an article that I wrote on my personal Facebook page. I do understand. It reminds me of the time you guys pictured me as a monkey in your paper. At first, I was a little bothered, but then I remembered that when life hands you lemons, you make Lemonade. The more I thought about that incident, I was reminded of how smart monkeys really are. You saw the Movie, I sure. So today, I thank you for reminding me of just how smart I am. I’d write a rebuttal to your article, but Taylor has never seen fit to publish one, so I won’t waste mind time. I Just wanted you to know that I stand by everything that I said, and more. The more you lie about the fact, the more determined I am to get the facts out. You may have helped deliver Pat the highest number of votes, but you don’t have a vote in the election for chair, which seems to be important to you guys for some reason. Oh I forgot, it’s for information. I do, however, appreciate you guys keeping my name in front of the public. It seems that on issues of importance, you don’t want to here my opinion. I just want you to know that I am not afraid and I won’t be running and hiding. It matters not what you say about me, Ive long gotten over the fact that you don’t like people telling your dirty little secrets. You will see more post in social media, which seems to have a network much larger than your readership. In fact, my story is now being picked up by other media outlets and published in its entirety, so I really don’t have write a story on your opinion page and I don’t need your permission to have my say. You guys must still believe Mark Twain when he said that you don’t pick a fight with a person who buy ink by the barrel. Mark didn’t live long enough to know that one day we would live in a society where people who don’t get access to the opinion page, would have the opportunity to have their say.

You guys are one of the very reasons this community has had racial problems, and it’s because you promote it. I had a conversation with David, who writes for your paper, it’s been about two year ago. I told him about articles that were written that always identified people of color as always being angry when they spoke, while others were viewed as being upset for having said the same thing. He said then, that we could have lunch and talk about it. I’m still waiting, and just so you know, I would have paid for the meal. Can any of you Just tell the truth! It that so hard? The allegation that I won’t vote for here because she is white, or female is absurd. Remember, I voted for her once. I have seen her leadership skills first hand. It’s not personal. She was white and female then. So was Susan Burgess and Jennifer Roberts white and female when I voted for them. The fact is she can’t be trusted, and I’m not the only person who has said. This has absolutely nothing to do with Harry Jones. Six people voted to dismiss him, it was a done deal. Harry has gone on with his life, but If that’s your story, and it make you feel good, stick with it. You wrote that Pat said that she knew that I and others would not have gone along with the dismissal, but not would time did she ask that of me, and neither did you. Tell that story! It would be easy enough if you would just suggest that we follow policy. What a novel idea! You both should know that policy was first suggested after Harold Cogdell took the Chairmanship from Jennifer Roberts, with the help of the Republicans, so when It finally passed, it was not aimed at Pat. Tell that story! I’d be more than happy to have a face to face sit down with the both of you, as long as their were a few witnesses. I can’t trust that if you were to write about it, that you’d tell the truth. But, if for some reason, you’d like to do that, Im available. You can’t say that I didn’t ask.

Yes! It’s going on my Facebook page!

Make sure you vote in our poll: Which of Charlotte's leadership groups best merits the title of “Most Dysfunctional” right now?

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