LETTER: Lee commissioner’s claim is unfounded

Jun. 04, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

As the adage goes, it is impossible to please everyone at once. I therefore knew that filing the injunction against the [Lee County] Board of Commissioners would please many, displease some, and anger a few. Most of the angry responses have manifested in personal attacks, some insulting, nearly all unworthy of my time to respond. However, one remark by a sitting commissioner seems to merit a response.

“It was unfortunate that the citizens of Carolina Trace were excoriated the way they were,” said Commissioner Kirk Smith to The Herald. The term “excoriate” means to criticize harshly or severely.

I defy Commissioner Smith to produce an example of criticism of Trace residents by me. In my very own public, videotaped comments at the March 7 meeting, I said just the opposite, that Trace residents are a vital part of Lee County. I also said that that none of my comments about access were intended to detract in any way from Trace residents’ contributions to the community. No Trace official was named in the lawsuit, and I faulted no Trace resident or employee for Commissioner [Charlie] Parks’s poor planning, which resulted in a Trace guard telling me that Parks was “not familiar with Carolina Trace” (don’t take my word for it, it’s on YouTube). I have absolutely no problem with anyone in Carolina Trace — no one. So, Smith’s accusation completely misses its target.

What Smith did not mention, of course, is that the commissioners were warned by counsel that they failed to properly coordinate with Trace staff in order to hold a meeting that complied with state law. Smith also made no reference to the apathetic response to this warning by himself and Commissioner Parks. And, Smith has done nothing to refute Commissioner [Amy] Dalrymple’s assertion that this was an “illegal meeting.” Telling, I think; don’t you?

Kirk Smith would have you believe that I have something against Carolina Trace. Not surprising, since recently he tried to make us all believe that outrage over his “peanut butter and jelly” remark was an attack against the peanut farmers of Lee County, and that our opposition to vouchers has something to do with communism in the public schools. These kinds of accusations are smokescreens, intended to conceal his bizarre views, words and actions. Not all accusations require a response, thankfully. This one did.

Jay Calendine

Sanford