To the Editor:
Your article-editorial combination about Bellamy's blowup at a recent County Commission meeting sparked my interest. Between the article and editorial it sounded like there had been some horrible verbal shoot out. Mr. Bellamy's quotes included words like "unconscionable" and "blind side." In his article Troy Foster also added "scathing" and "choice words." In his editorial Mr. Ahern folded in "ranting," "raving," asinine" and "fiasco" to the mix.
I was able to listen to a tape of the meeting and was surprised at what I heard. There is about a fifteen-minute discussion of what to do with the Treasurer position, the substance of which is much as Mr. Foster reported. The anger does not creep into Mr. Bellamy's voice--and hardly what I would call "raving"--until the last two minutes of the discussion. He seemed to be reacting to Ms. Zemke chiding the other two Commissioners for ignoring the public testimony. The source of his concern seemed to be Ms. Zemke not following proper procedures--a case in point being Ms. Zemke's letter to the 29 taxing districts, which the Treasurer also services. (Actually I have seen the "letter." It is not addressed to any specific person and looks like a meeting notice.)
While the Pioneer does seem to spice up its interpretation of that 15 minutes, Mr. Ahern does put his finger on a critical issue: Once elected, where should Commissioners turn for guidance in making decisions--to those insiders already operating the government or to those who elected them and who are paying the bills? I for one want the people I elect to rely on the insiders for the "how to" but the electorate for the destination. If the voters want their government to be more transparent and accountable, that's what Commissioners should be working on.
A last point...referring to Mr. Ahern's honeymoon-marriage analogy, newly weds are more likely to be able to work out their differences if the ex-brother-in-law is not playing Lets-You-and-Him-Fight.