Cleveland mayor tasks newspaper editorial

Posted 6/10/18

I feel compelled to respond to the editorial in Sunday's edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. I appreciate the right of the press to print their opinion, but it should be based on facts.My …

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Cleveland mayor tasks newspaper editorial

Posted

I feel compelled to respond to the editorial in Sunday's edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. I appreciate the right of the press to print their opinion, but it should be based on facts.

My endorsement of our current State Rep. Kevin Brooks for city mayor came into question. Endorsements are as old as the political process itself. I was endorsed by my predecessor, Mayor Bill Schultz.

I can remember many of our current office holders being endorsed by their predecessors and issue was never made of those through the years. Just this past election, incoming Sheriff Steve Lawson was endorsed by many officials, including the chief of police, all former sheriffs and some other elected officials. That was not challenged, but instead was deemed as professionals showing support for another professional based on their knowledge of his experience and expertise.

There is no difference in that and my endorsement of Kevin Brooks for city mayor.

Let’s examine some of the Banner’s Sunday editorial content. It was said that Rep. Brooks had made a "handful" of public appearances representing me. This is absolutely not true.

Recently, when the VFW Auxiliary celebrated its 70th anniversary, I was to be out of town attending my grandson's graduation. Rep. Brooks had a proclamation from the state  and I had one from the city. Kevin did not read my document, but delivered it to the proper person to be read. I could have sent the document by anyone, but why not let a friend who was attending take it?

If that was construed as him representing me, then so be it. Apparently, someone read into this  gesture something they could use  to promote their own political agenda. Other than this one event, I cannot remember any time he has ever represented me. This was an unfair accusation. I do not know who the mysterious informant complaining to the Banner may be, but it is totally untrue and unfounded.

 The editorial declared the race should be on a level playing field, but Sunday’s remarks sure took it off that status.

Next, the editorial made suggestions as to who I should have represent me at events when I cannot attend. First, there are very few events I do not attend even though my schedule can sometimes be in conflict. In recent times, I have asked the assistant to the city manager to represent me, vice mayor and  council members, as well as my executive assistant. County Mayor Gary Davis and I often do joint proclamations and he often represents me or I represent him, as needed.

Next, the editorial deemed my endorsing Kevin an "anointing" process. It's been implied I said in introducing Kevin, "Here is my replacement." I have the video and those words were never used. When I finished my speech, I could have been forceful in my introduction by saying the usual introductions at similar events by saying, "Here is Kevin Brooks, our next mayor," but what I said was only, "Here's Kevin." Pretty simple and not dramatic.

To say his endorsement was a negative thing is ludicrous. I had actually been encouraged by many people to seek re-election, and considered doing so. But, when Kevin expressed an interest I was delighted. Working with him during his past 12 years in the Legislature,  I know first-hand that he is highly qualified and well-versed in all the job involves. He is familiar with all the agencies needed to help cities. His connections in Nashville and Washington would play a big part in a new mayor's administration. At that  time, no one else had expressed an interest in seeking the position.

My endorsement was in no way designed as a "kick in the gut," as was said in the editorial, but in fact, was my way of not letting the job lose momentum and keep progress on schedule. We have ongoing projects that we have worked so hard to achieve over the years, and I have a passion for continuing to help this city. Kevin has been involved as state representative in many of those projects and I felt comfortable endorsing him to succeed me.

I feel that my almost 28 years of service and the  12 years of impeccable service of Kevin Brooks have been challenged with the Banner’s Sunday editorial.

Duane Shriver is a longtime friend of mine and never would I say anything disparaging about him. Actually, we attend the same church.

I hope this sets the record straight, and I don't believe the statements in the editorial came from the candidate directly.

I attempted to make it clear to the Banner editor that the editorial lacked simple facts. It should have been investigated first before publication. The editor was kind enough to allow me this response.

To quote an attorney friend of mine, “Once a non-factual statement is made before a jury, the damage is done." We can only hope that people who have a respect for the truth will recognize the motive. I stand by my endorsement and I will always put Cleveland first in all my actions, as I have done in the past 28 years.

My integrity is important to me.


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