Back to Our Roots

As I no longer have any role with the city – either as an employee or in any official capacity – and having talked with friends who used to be faithful readers of this site, we are going back to our roots as a news, light editorial site for This is LaVergne. I have asked the city’s PR specialist to begin sending me news releases and we’ll selectively publish them (those that have an actual impact on residents rather than just a plug for pet projects or free publicity for elected individuals).

Let’s start, though, by addressing the elephant in the room.  Yes, I ran for alderman this past election. No I did not win. I got into the race for the right reasons… to continue to serve my city and its citizens. To be a voice of reason on behalf of our residents. Others saw it a different way and these people are entitled to their opinions, as afforded by the first amendment of our constitution.

In the end, there were some valuable lessons to be learned here on the local level. It was an enriching experience. It was a horrifying experience. I know why more good people don’t offer themselves up for public service. Running for local office was demoralizing, it was breathtaking, it was heartbreaking, it was exhilarating. Would I do it again? Right now I say absolutely not. I wouldn’t want to put my reputation and good name through the personal attacks again. I wouldn’t want to put my family through this again. I wouldn’t want to be threatened again. I wouldn’t want my friends threatened again. Yes all of this happened. My integrity, reputation, and professionalism were slandered not just by strangers, but by those I had considered to be friends, by those I would have laid my life on the line for and defended to my last breath. Even after 10 years of witnessing my work and my passion for the city, I was called names (a tyrant and “Hitler”) and cussed at and gossiped about and accused of taking money from a drug dealer and accused of theft. Anything – ANYTHING – to make me look bad and to justify their own commitment against the “other” side of our split city. Yes, our city is divided just as our nation is divided. So again, why would I want to go through that personal hell of a political campaign once more?

But there has been good. I have gotten to know other people. I have had conversations about what they’ve lived through and seen through their eyes, their perspective. I do not like many of the actions taken by Mayor Waldron, but he and other board members are human beings guided by the principles that are important to them. And I learned that if you do not agree with them or if you DO agree with them, you SPEAK UP. Make the phone calls, send the emails, attend meetings.

Can our city ever heal? Can we ever come together? I honestly don’t know because the anger and hatred dividing our town runs deep. But I will do my part in the role that has now been defined for me… back to my roots. Writing about what I see. Writing about what good there is. Writing when I am concerned about an injustice. Offering ideas and asking our citizens for ideas.

I want to thank everyone who supported me, defended me, and who voted for me. I will not be attending the swearing-in ceremony, but I congratulate Jason Cole and Calvin Jones on their election victories. I wish them and the other members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen good luck. You will need it just to cope with the two political sides that still exist. I hope you will work with each other and with citizens to find a path to unite this city. That’s what we truly need. God bless you all.

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