During a heated exchange on Facebook between myself and Mayor Danny Shaw, which took place on March 2, 2019, the mayor made some very odd and revealing statements.
At one point in the discussion the mayor implied that comments I made in one of my discussions with him and/or Commissioner Cheek at the municipal office last summer was the reason I was not appointed to the Board of Commissioners.
Mayor Shaw seems to think that I’m still upset about not being appointed to Joe Lineberry’s seat on the board. I thought I’d made that clear, but for those not paying attention I’ll say it again: I don’t care about that anymore. Yes, I was upset the night of the appointment because Shaw, Cheek, and Cox spent six months telling me and others how much they needed me on that board, but when it didn’t happen I went home and got over it.
Sure I liked the idea of being able to help steer this town out of the ditch that it was driven into over the last decade or so. Who wouldn’t be more than a little disappointed if people spent half a year acting like they were your friends, pretending they valued your opinion, and suddenly turned their backs on you in a very public way?
Yes, I was angry, but not because I didn’t get the seat. I was angry because they lied to me, and filled my head with garbage, and poisoned my opinion of several of my neighbors. August 6, 2018 was more than just the day Adam Smith got appointed to the Ramseur Board of Commissioners. It was the day my eyes were opened and I began seeing Danny Shaw and his yes men, Cheek and Cox, for who and what they really are.
Mayor Shaw believes I wanted a seat on the town council for the same reason he wants to be mayor: power. His entire self image seems to be wrapped up in being Mayor of Ramseur; a position the literally has no power beyond running a few meetings and signing a few documents. Sorry to disappoint you Danny.
What I wanted was the opportunity to bring some integrity, and maybe even some unity, to our board of commissioners. Despite my sometimes confrontational disposition, I really don’t care about power at all, other than perhaps having the power to speak up and say, “Hey folks, I think there’s a better way to do things.”
I didn’t start visiting the mayor’s office last year because I wanted a position on the board; I went there to get an answer to a question I have long since forgotten. It was Mayor Shaw who brought up the prospect of my serving out an unexpired term, months before Mr. Lineberry passed. When asked if I would be willing to serve, my answer was a reluctant yes. I have much better things to do with my time than to spend it sitting on a board infamous for factionalism and disunity, but I try to help whenever I’m asked.
So I began studying, asking questions, and once I think I even said that I’d vote for whatever policy I thought was correct, no matter who proposed it. That’s not what Shaw and Cheek wanted to hear; they wanted a reliable third vote to keep Commissioners Caudle and Overman from ever being effective. In short, I made the mistake of trusting these individuals to be honest people who, to use a phrase I’ve come to despise, had the best interests of Ramseur in their hearts.
I’ve come to despise that phrase because it seems to be the line everyone uses to excuse unacceptable behavior by elected officials in this town. “He got caught doing a few things he shouldn’t have, but he had the town’s best interests at heart.” The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. If you find yourself making that excuse for someone, please, STOP VOTING FOR THEM.
We can do better than this, and there is no shortage of smart, educated people of integrity in this town. The majority of them simply want nothing to do with the public relations disaster that people like Danny Shaw, Grant Cheek, and others have made of our town.
I let my willingness to try to help blind me to the fact that I was being lied to. I got played. I made the mistake of believing that Shaw, Cheek and Cox wanted my help at all. They didn’t want my help; they wanted me to back their agenda, and by July of last year they realized that I don’t play that game.
I used to tell my coworkers that I didn’t come to work to make friends; I was there to do a job, earn my pay, and go home. If you want a yes man, I’m going to disappoint you, every time, but if you want an honest opinion, I’m your guy. I’m open to compromise on most issues that might ever come before a municipal board, but I’m no one’s rubber stamp. That’s why neither I, nor Mr. Hesselmeyer, nor Mr. Parrish were appointed to fill Mr. Lineberry’s empty chair last summer. None of us are reliable rubber stamps.
During the online conversation mentioned at the beginning of this post, Mayor Shaw also implied that only certain commissioners get criticized on this website and the various Facebook pages where Ramseur politics get discussed. Make no mistake, I am an equal opportunity critic of any Ramseur official. Mayor Shaw seems to conveniently forget that I have criticized every member of the current board at one time or another; it just hasn’t happened in this forum yet.
I wrote a letter to the editor which was published in the Courier-Tribune in January of last year in which I was highly critical of Commissioner Caudle’s interpretation of a statute, and Commissioner Overman will confirm that I’ve said some pretty ugly things to and about him in the past as well. It just happens that since last December, when Shaw, Cheek, and Smith incited the board to vote to try to stifle free speech in Ramseur, Mr. Shaw and Mr. Smith have given me plenty of grist for the mill.
There was one other puzzling comment in Mr. Shaw’s remarks to me over the weekend. He said, “I personally feel that it is time for me to set some of those misconceptions straight and time to let the true tax paying citizens know why we’re in such turmoil today.”
Who are the “true tax paying citizens” of Ramseur, Mayor Shaw? Are they only people who live in certain neighborhoods? Are renters not considered true taxpayers? Are they only taxpayers who are friends of Danny Shaw?
I’m pretty sure one of our commissioners isn’t a true taxpayer in Ramseur, since the house he owns is outside of town. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the travel trailer he lives in illegally behind the barber shop is registered at that house. I’ve even heard rumors that he sleeps in another town north of Ramseur, but I wouldn’t want to speculate on that.
As for setting the record straight, I wonder if the mayor intends to hang another screed against me in the post office, like I’m told he did in 2015, or maybe this time it’ll be in the barber shop. Just put it on your Facebook page with your name on it Mr. Mayor.
The turmoil you and the board have faced over the last six months or more falls squarely in your lap. You, Grant Cheek, and Randy Cox appointed Mr. Smith to the board. You couldn’t even be bothered to slow down and follow proper board etiquette the night you made that mistake, and now Commissioner Smith has verbally assaulted one of our citizens inside the municipal office.
Smith has threatened to resign and it was publicly announced by you, Mr. Shaw. If he resigns now he makes you look bad, and if he stays, you still look bad. You managed to trap yourself in your own treachery, and this time there’s no way out. Perhaps everyone involved in that appointment should resign.
As Americans we have a constitutional right to criticize our government, and I have no intention of being silent until those who twist the truth, plot behind closed doors, or attempt to evade public records laws are exposed and expelled from our local government. I will not cease, nor will I ever desist.