EDITORIAL FOR March 18-20, 2014
I’m CAVE MANager Paul Lotsof. If you’ve been following Benson politics you probably know that there will be a special city council election on May 20th. The handful of people behind the recall claim that Councilman Jeff Cook is unfit for the office he holds; so unfit that he must be removed at the earliest possible moment. We now know that Cook’s opponent will be Carol V. Campbell, a relatively unknown person who lives in the Valley High Mobile Home Park along Highway 80. From my perspective it appears that Campbell’s biggest claim to fame is that she’s the unofficial chairwoman of the J. T. Moffett fan club. It was Campbell who collected the overwhelming majority of the signatures on the Cook recall petition. Moffett himself collected the second largest group of signatures.
Next question: Who is J. T. Moffett and why is it so important to him that Cook be removed from office? During the Call to the Public on February tenth, Jeff Cook supplied his answer to the question:
(Voice of Cook): “I am being recalled because I’m the latest target and whipping boy of the local loudmouth bully. Also because I refuse to sit down, shut up and let the local loudmouth bully have his way. He is continually seeking out political vengeance to solve his real world problems. Over and over again he has been proven wrong. I cannot sit down, shut up and let the city residents, the city staff and my fellow councilmen be targets of this local loudmouth bully’s malicious scorched earth vengeance”.
More recently, at the last city council meeting on March tenth, Deputy City Clerk Danna Judd explained why she was resigning her position. Judd’s comments were remarkably similar to those of Cook:
(Voice of Judd): “It is horrifying to hear that a loudmouth around this town is taking photos of employees on their breaks and threatening their jobs. It is wrong and it is horrifying. It is horrifying to think that this council would stand by and watch that happen to their employees. It’s not right that you’d just stand by and watch us be bullied and threatened”.
If you read the local newspaper you have seen a very different view of J.T. Moffett. The newspaper reporter, like Carol Campbell, has a very favorable view of this local agitator. Nearly everything he says appears on the front page except for his many letters to the editor and guest commentaries. He’s billed as a “local business owner” and never is there any indication as to what Moffett’s credentials might be in the area of public administration. Does he have a degree from a prestigious university or did he flunk out of the third grade in rural Georgia?
He doesn’t talk much about his background or what qualifies him to pass judgement on the many people whom he has savagely attacked since he settled in this area about five years ago.
In my opinion there are two overriding issues in this election: The first is whether Carol Campbell is more qualified to serve on the Benson City Council than is Jeff Cook. But the more important issue is whether there ought to be a recall at all.
Or putting it a different way, should the people of Benson have to participate in and fund an election every time a council member annoys somebody enough to provoke that person into spending a few afternoons gathering signatures? When we elect a person to our council for a four year term should that person reasonably be expected to serve for four years? Or do we want to have an election every six months?
I don’t agree with Councilman Jeff Cook on a lot of issues but I also don’t think he’s done anything so awful that he can’t be allowed to serve the balance of his term. The dominant issue isn’t Cook versus Campbell. The dominant issue is whether we want a recall any time someone gets angry with a council member and feels like gathering some signatures. If you agree with me that this recall is uncalled for you can express that opinion by voting for Jeff Cook.
I’m CAVE MANager Paul Lotsof and the opinions you’ve just heard are mine and not necessarily anyone else’s. If you’d like a copy of this editorial go to the CAVE web site. We’re at CAVEFM.com. That’s CAVEFM.com