Tuesday, May 18, 2004

More Tales of the Perils of Public Service...

In my small town, we have a man who hates City Hall. He owns some property on the end of the main street, and parks a truck there with a plywood sign proclaiming the latest transgressions against him by the city council and the mayor. On the last few signs, he has misspelled the mayors (very common) last name...either because he is unhinged, or because he thinks that will protect him from a defamation lawsuit.

Over the weekend, he added a swastika to the sign, with the words "Beware Nazi Tactics"

He has now crossed a line that requires a response. Here's what I'll be saying at tonight's city counciil meeting. I've removed the names and other identifying facts because although he does not hesitate to libeland slander, I do.

I had always thought that the signs posted by Mr. X were simply the mutterings of a disappointed resident with an axe to grind and a forum to do so.

I have questioned whether his messages are based in some strange sense of civic duty. Every (town) resident who has chatted with me believe that he is not doing a service to the community by posting these signs.

Although Mr. X has never directed his assaults against me, I have felt sorry for the Mayor and the City Staff who he besmirches with these misrepresentations.

I understand that Mr. X is suing the City over what he believes is a property rights issue.

I understand that Mr. X is contemplating another lawsuit over some sort of perceived discrimination that he believes he is suffering.

As we try to settle our disagreement in court, Mr. X continues to post signs on his property, spouting half-truths and innuendo about the conduct of the City Council in general, and the Mayor specifically. I admire the patience and maturity of the Mayor to suffer these slings and arrows. I do not think I would be as charitable.

But now, Mr. X has gone too far. Too cowardly to address the city council directly, he is content to continue his assault against the City Council and our community from behind his plywood sign.

Now he has decided to add a symbol of fascist oppression and hate. I do not know if he is suggesting that the Genoa City Council are nazis, or if he is proclaiming his political affiliation.

I don’t know if he had any family serve in World War II. I have. I don’t know if he understands what the swastika symbolizes. I do. Citizens have the right under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America to express their thoughts and opinions, just as I do tonight. There is no need for me to explain at what cost this right is afforded to us.

His display of the swastika is cowardly, indecent, revolting, and just plain stupid. I ask that he remove it at once. I ask that he takes down the signs and begin to conduct himself like a man.

The swastika is a symbol that can evoke many strong emotions. I am offended by this symbol and choose to speak out against it. Others, however, may take action against it. And if that happens, and I truly hope that it will not happen, you can be sure that City Staff will be there to protect Mr. X's life and property because that is their duty.

Except for me. Mr. X It’s time for the playground bully to defend himself. As the great- grandson of man who left Poland to escape what your swastika represents, I won’t tolerate your nonsense and cowardice any longer.

Just so you get it right, my last name is spelled XXXXXX.

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