An open letter to Isabel Piedmont: show leadership on civility

By Scott Tibbs, October 5, 2007

Ms. Piedmont,

The race between you and Alicia Graves gives voters in Bloomington's 5th District a clear contrast in philosophy of how city government should work, and offers the opportunity for an issue-oriented campaign with the added benefit of educating the voters on the issues the City Council faces. Sadly, this race has also brought forth some of the worst in gutter politics I have seen in twelve years of being politically active in Bloomington and Monroe County.

Critics of Ms. Graves have gossiped about her children, her professional life, her education, and more. The level of personal vindictiveness and venom directed at Ms. Graves has been shocking, especially for a first time candidate who is only in her mid-20's. Some of the comments written about Ms. Graves in online forums such as have taken a deeply misogynistic tone that should be of concern to all women who hold political office or plan to seek political office.

While some are annoyed with the way that Ms. Graves articulates her views and disagree with those views, Ms. Graves does not deserve the venom being spewed at her. In fact, the city of Bloomington deserves better, as the personal attacks on Graves are an insult to our reputation as a "Safe and Civil City."

Ms. Piedmont, you have an opportunity to take a stand for civility and publicly call for an end to these depraved personal attacks. I urge you to denounce the uncivil, misogynistic, hateful comments made about Alicia Graves and call for the campaign to be focused on issues rather than gossip and slander. If you win, you will be (at most) one of two women on the City Council, so your voice is needed here.

This vindictiveness has gone on far too long, Ms. Piedmont. I believe that a stern rebuke from you will at least lessen the severity of these personal attacks and malicious gossip. I sincerely hope you will take the opportunity to stand for a tolerant, inclusive and civil Bloomington. I anxiously await your response.

Scott Tibbs