To the editor:
At the Nov. 10 City Council study session, a spat broke out when council member Billy Blackwell accused Mayor Bernard directly and me indirectly of wrongdoing. Blackwell was in full form - accusing and threatening, while at the same time secretly audiotaping the session. What caused this to happen?
Mr. Blackwell hasn't had much luck lately. He was adamantly opposed to approving the sale of city land at West Mary and Main Street to the First National Bank; he was outvoted on that one. And, he opposed the city budget because he didn't like the purchase of two library vans, the city taking over the Lansing Depot Historical Museum and the creation of the Kansas Regional Prison Museum, calling it risky.
Blackwell's attack on Mayor Bernard and me over an issue of allowing a sole-source contract (a lawful act) for a feasibility study needed for our fundraising efforts for the proposed prison museum was clearly a retaliatory attack, and now we know it was also a sneak attack. Although a point he raised concerning the cash-basis law had merit, his "attack dog" tactics and moral grandstanding were deliberately provocative because he was secretly audiotaping the entire session.
Whereas Mr. Blackwell has every right to raise concerns, as does any member of the council, it is both dishonest and deceitful (although not illegal) to secretly audiotape any session, public or otherwise, without first notifying all participants.
I've listened to the audiotape; it's available on Blackwell's Web site. I have no objection to anyone's comments that evening. It was a good give and take. But, that's not the point. How can we trust those who go out of their way to set up a situation deliberately aimed to discredit others?
Ward 3 Council member