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Letter to the Editor

Mayor Takes Issue with One Sentence of Report with 684 Word Retort

web posted April 3, 2014

Dear Editor,
As you know, I seldom respond to any comments made by you or your readers because I realize that it is impossible to overcome the “SPIN PEN”,  as you are always afforded the opportunity of having the last word. However, the following description of my exit from last night’s meeting is so inaccurate that I felt compelled to respond. If nothing else your spin on this letter, especially through your own letters to Wandering Minds, will be interesting reading for your readers. In any event, it will be nice for them to have a few facts along with the entertainment.
“It quickly became obvious Mayor Durham and members of the committee were not pleased with the discussion……..Mayor Durham hastily stood up and walked out of the meeting.” (Edgefielddaily.com, April 2, 2014)

To whom is this obvious??  You were sitting on the front row and we were in the rear of the room. Your wording leads the reader to believe that there was tension in the meeting and that I left because I was upset with the discussion.

You once again misled your readers without bothering to verify the facts. You neglected to call me after the meeting to ask my opinion regarding the outcome of the vote.  Because you felt it necessary to interpret my reactions without consulting me, I would like to take this time to provide the following facts to your readers:
Fact 1:    As a result of a unanimous vote from the county council several months ago, the Town of Edgefield was asked to provide two volunteers to a newly formed 1% sales tax committee. The town of Edgefield had nothing to do with introducing the 1% sales tax proposal and simply asked two citizens to volunteer their time at the request of the county.
Fact 2:    My two committee members (volunteers) spent a large percentage of their time attending meetings as well as meeting with the public to gather input (per the request of the county). They attended 10 to 15 meetings over the past several months. My expectations were such that I really did not believe the county would vote positively on the issue but I attended the meeting last night simply to support the committee members (volunteers). The committee members (volunteers) committed so much of their time at the request of the county and deserved my support.  It was always my belief that the county was just “testing the water” regarding a new sales tax and that the committee was basically a cover.  In my opinion, the unanimous vote last night to not move the issue forward, after the unanimous vote several months ago to create the 1% sales tax committee, proves that point.  I also think it is important to note that the committee was working with a time frame (8 years) and dollar amount provided by the county council.
Fact 3:    The county council meeting is held on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:00pm.  I attend when I can and always walk out of the meeting early. The fact is that for the past 34 years I also have a meeting that falls on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30PM (Edgefield Fire Department). You were correct; I did hastily leave the meeting at 6:25PM last night, not because I was upset with the county vote but because I had my own meeting to attend.   A genuine reporter, who was interested in facts and not just juicy reading,   would have made a quick phone call to verify the accuracy of what they were reporting.
Fact 4:    I asked you to print something similar to the following statement several months ago and you refused to print it because I did not follow your rule of providing you the information first. I hope you will consider allowing it this time.

If you or any of your readers have any questions, concerns, suggestions or just want to discuss an issue that I can help with, I encourage and welcome your phone calls.  I can be reached by mobile 803-480-2556 or Town Hall at 803-637-4014.

Ken Durham
Mayor of Edgefield

Editor's note: The description of your departure came from those looking directly at you at the time, and was reported as provided. Members of the commission made their displeasure of the tax being shot down well known after the meeting speaking to members of council, which you would not know about as you were not there.

Edgefield Daily did refuse to place your letter because it was sent and published by another media outlet first. We will embargo a letter or story as requested to have it run at the same time with other media, however, we will not run second hand information. There is a reason we are a daily, not a weekly, news media.

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