2008-01-12 / Editorials & Letters

Watchdog' says former mayor is now a puppeteer


I attended the first meeting of the New Year in Kirkersville with the new mayor, Terry Ashcraft, at the helm. This organizational meeting started promptly at 7 p.m. and lasted only about 15 minutes. It was followed by a council meeting at 7:30. I took a seat behind former GOB Mike Cloud who acted like a first grader when he realized I was sitting behind him. He gathered his coloring books and quickly moved to the other side of the room.

Mayor Ashcraft began the organizational meeting by swearing in newly elected council members Gary Raines and Erika Mudd. He also swore in newly APPOINTED Council member, Bennie Evans, who swore to ""faithfully, honestly and impartially" discharge his duties as council member.

And shortly after taking this oath, GOB Evans proceeded to put on a show - a PUPPET show, that is! Evans first questioned that Mayor Ashcraft used legal counsel other than Village Solicitor Debbie Kenny, to research procedural issues. He also questioned appointments that Mayor Ashcraft had made to committees. But Mayor Ashcraft remained firmand politely told Evans that he could voice his opinion, but reminded him that Evans was no longer mayor.

In the middle of a vote for council member Frischen for council President Pro Tempore, Evans interrupted by saying that he thought there were other nominations. You could almost see Puppeteer Evan's hand go up council member Jamie Cloud's back as she, on cue, nominated Bennie Evans for council President Pro Tempore. Puppets Brian Denton and Rosie Frischen quickly chimed in to second and vote for the nomination.

Mayor Ashcraft announced that one citizen (Brown) and one former Board of Public Affairs member (Dicke) would like to be appointed to BPA. Again, Evans interjected that his son-in-law (Rohr) would also like to return to BPA. Ashcraft reminded Evans that Brown and Dicke were both property owners whereas Rohr was not. Dicke and Brown were appointed to BPA after Evans made the motion.

The ordinance to contract with Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District for water in the village was read for the second time. Evans asked for opinions on the issue from the new council members and Ashcraft. Council member Gary Raines said he would like to see the water issue on the ballot where it would be decided FAIRLY. Evans' administration only allowed property owners to vote on the water issue, even though CLEARLY anyone renting property will be paying for the water as a local landlord reminded everyone. In addition, Ashcraft also recalled that 70+ houses were left out of the voting process by the former administration. He also said that there was $11,000 in back sewer bills owed and wondered how people are going to pay for water since they can not pay for sewer. Evans then made this statement: "We can't stop running the village because we have fixed incomes!"A representative from the SWLCWS district was there and said rates go up 10% (on usage) EVERY YEAR!

The town hall no longer looks like a town hall; it appears to be a church. Song hymnals and prayer request forms are stored in every pew. Religious symbols hang on the walls. I say remove them as they are obviously not working and are only making a mockery out of the House of God. In addition, if GOBs (Good Ole Boys) Bennie Evans, Rosie Frischen, Brian Denton and Jamie Cloud are going to continue this puppet show - this slap in the face of democracy - I propose that popcorn and snacks be sold at the next show and throw the proceeds in the offering plate!

Shortly after November's election, many of us read a story in a local newspaper where Bennie Evans was quoted to have said that he was "done with politics." I asked Mr. Evans about this quote and he stated that the reporter was mistaken. I informed the reporter what Evans had said and he gave me this quote: ""Did Bennie Evans tell me he was done with politics? Yes, he did, and I stand by my story."" Bonnie Mansfield Buckeye Lake

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