Residents of Salineville are to be commended for taking time out of their schedule Tuesday evening to attend an open house "meet-and-greet" event for Mary Smith, candidate for mayor. This is the kind of public participation that has been lacking in our community for quite some time now and it was refreshing to see new faces and hear new voices taking an interest in our town. The crowd gathered represented various opinions and points of view, but I view it as a beginning to a conversation that will perhaps move our village forward. As we continue the conversation, we need to be mindful that we are adults and friends who can have differing opinions, but remain committed to the common goal of bettering our community for the common good.
With that in mind, I would like to express my disappointment in the conduct of two current village councilmen during the social time that followed Mary's remarks. They used that time to campaign against her at an event that was designed as her opportunity to meet the public. Certainly it was a public event; certainly they were mailed invitations and information along with other village voters; certainly they have the right to free speech in a public forum. Their questions would have been welcomed during the question and answer period, as were questions from other residents and they would have been given answers. Wouldn't that have been fair, to give Mary a chance to publicly respond? Instead, they initiated discussions with individuals following the question and answer period, within earshot of people who were clearly there to support Mary so their bashing could be overheard. Perhaps their goal was to provoke a confrontation, perhaps not. Whatever motivated them, I find their actions to be repulsive, in poor taste, and showing a lack of good manners. It's this kind of behind the scenes conduct that has created a lack of trust and confidence in some of the leaders of the current village administration. I sincerely hope if the current mayor holds a similar event, he and his supporters are treated courteously and not subject to a similar disrespect by those who do not agree with his positions.
I am a lifelong resident of Salineville and I love my hometown; however, I do not like what we have become, but I believe we can do better. In order to do that we need to have responsible, open conversations as adults; respect one another's right to have a different opinion; listen receptively to new or different ideas and revisit old ideas with fresh eyes. In the end, we need to come together, most likely through compromise, and do what is in the best interest of Salineville.
In the interest of full disclosure, I want readers to know I am treasurer for the Committee to Elect Mary Smith; however, the opinions expressed here are mine as an individual. They are not the opinions of Mary Smith or the Committee to Elect Mary Smith.