A lot of dirty laundry has been aired publicly of late.
In particular, this refers to the war of words waged by Great Bend City Council member Randy Myers and other members of that governing body. The first volleys were fired during the April general election in the form of letters to the editor in the Great Bend Tribune, as well as massive missives in the form of paid advertising.
As a side note, the newspaper is proud to serve as a community forum. However, when it comes to letters, the paper is merely a conduit for public opinion, not a proponent of the ideas the letters contain.
After the election, the rancor continued and it came to a head this past Monday evening during the council meeting. Members Nels Lindberg and Ken Roberts had requested the council to consider violations of the city’s ethics policy by Myers. They asserted Myers purposefully misled the public in his frequent letters.
Mayor Mike Allison and several council members took turns leveling their charges at Myers. In addition to lying to constituents about his service, Myers was accused of insulting and lying about his council peers.
Myers has a history of making vitriolic remarks in print. He has shown a knack for continuing with these comments in open council meetings.
Every governing organization needs a voice of decent, but Myers has perpetuated a negative, caustic persona. Sadly, this negates any positive force he brings to the table.
Sure, if one is going to enter the political arena, they need thick skin. They must realize they are painting targets on their back. The old adage “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen” applies here.
However, we all learned (or should have learned) in kindergarten not to make a mess in our own sandboxes. Myers has treated his colleagues with contempt, sarcasm and disdain, erasing whatever good he might do.
Is there a place for opposing views? Certainly.
Do changes need to be made? Possibly.
Are there conspiracies lurking behind closed doors? Who knows.
What is clear is that not much good came of the exchange Monday night, other than the venting of long-held animosities. Perhaps this was a cathartic experience and will all both sides to move on and do the work of the city instead of battling each other. Cooler heads may prevail.
But, at least one letter has already been submitted to stoke this furnace once again.
Maybe some lessons never take root.