Responding to two letters to the editor

By Scott Tibbs, November 5, 2007

Bill Manwaring attempted to frighten people about "developers" on Halloween, screeching that Republicans "love above all things to see fresh asphalt, concrete and tree stumps." First, let's examine the argument. Are fresh asphalt and concrete necessarily bad things? A new building gives someone a place to live, work or shop. A new building gives people an opportunity to earn a living or just a little extra money. Is that so bad? Of course it isn't; even many of the most ardent critics of growth recognize the need for those things.

As for "tree stumps", the idea that Republicans love to cut down trees is so asinine and hyperbolic it is laughable. Is Manwaring actually claiming that Republicans want to cut down threes just for the fun of it? Does he actually believe this statement or expect anyone else to believe it? An obvious falsehood like this one does not even merit a refutation.

Manwaring's use of Whitehall Crossing as an example of "green" development is amusing. It is nearly impossible to get to Whitehall unless you are using motorized transportation. Despite his touting of "tree-lined sidewalks, plus islands with trees in the parking lots", the vast majority of the shopping center is still concrete. If this is the best "green" development local Democrats have to offer, we really can look forward to having Bloomington look like Greenwood.

Three days later, Joseph McGibbon responded to Dan Aiken's letter to the editor, sayinh that calling Aiken's criticism of Isabel Piedmont was "filled with slander, lies and off-base attacks" and "was as mean-spirited and negative as it was untrue." McGibbon asks why Aiken was "insulting Piedmont in such a reactionary way."

Well, that's quite an emotional reaction to Aiken's letter. Most of McGibbon's rant was intended to discredit Aiken's claims as untrue or dishonest. For perspective, let's examine some of Aiken's claims, and see how those claims to compare to the facts:

  • Piedmont is "a former Green Party officer"

Piedmont's former affilliation with the Monroe County Green Party is well-documented and undeniable. She was the treasurer for the MCGP as recently as January 2006, when she stepped down and eventually joined the local Democrat Party.

  • Piedmont will "push a extreme left wing agenda which will perpetuate our job growth problem."
  • Piedmont is a "radical leftist" who will "advance her extreme environmentalist views".

Both of these staements are about Piedmont's ideological. Piedmont has certainly demonstrated that she holds many liberal/Leftist views, if only by her central role in the Monroe County Green Party. At worst, Aiken's assessment of Piedmont's ideological stance is an opinion which McGibbon disagrees with. The fact that McGibbon (or anyone else) disagrees with Aiken's opinion does not make it a "lie".

Also, while I identify myself as someone on the right side of the political spectrum, one could dispute Isabel Piedmont's own claim on the MCGP's email list that that I am "a clear right-wing extremist". Piedmont's accusation that I "spy on Greens" was certainly less than truthful, considering the e-mails from the MCGP e-mail list that I posted on the old Herald-Times forum and cited in my opinion column linking local Democrats and Greens were all posted on a publicly accessible Web site. Will McGibbon be holding Piedmont to the same standard that he applies to Aiken?

Somehow, I don't think he will.

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