I confess that I am at a loss.
Last week, I wrote about the trustee election for the Gail Borden Public Library and what I viewed was at stake for the community. Todate, none of the principals have come forward with an explanation, a recommended course of action or even a cogent response.
I made two points; first that current trustee Randy Hopp must resign. Both his aberrant behavior that led library administration to ban him from the building and his recent arrest on charges that he struck both of his elderly parents seemed to demand that action.
To that point, Hopp has remained silent and not surprisingly so. If being banned from the library you are elected to oversee were not enough embarrassment to force a resignation, a mere arrest certainly would not tip the scales.
A comment on BocaJump last week implied his parents have to share the blame for the incident, a disturbing notion that apparently sought to exculpate the beleaguered trustee. Being charged with striking one’s parents for any reason would seem to be taboo in a civilized society but we remain eager to learn the details.
The second part of that comment implied that Hopp might suffer from some sort of disability that would make my comments as to his fitness to serve “discrimination.”
Discrimination is essentially denying to others rights you claim for yourself. It is the pre-conceived notion that a person is unable to perform based solely on ethnicity, religion, or some other arbitrary factor which does not compromise a person’s basic effectiveness or ability.
Hopp was not denied a chance to serve because of any declared or undeclared disability. According to the library’s administration, he has demonstrated that he is volatile, unpredictable and abusive. If proven guilty of domestic battery, add violent to that resume. None of these factors can be excused by any disability, although to date, he has not publicly declared that he is “disabled” in any way. Nor has he chosen to address anything written or said so far.
To the issue of the slate of Penny Wegman, Victor LaPorte and Richard Wallett which seeks election to the board with the implied or stated agenda of restoring Hopp’s library privileges, their silence is even more puzzling.
None of the three saw fit to explain their agenda, offer any clue what their intentions are or defend their initial decision to explore restoring Hopp’s privileges. In fact, none of the three even attended a library board candidate forum last week. And, none of the three participated in the BocaJump candidate survey which runs Tuesday on the election page.
LaPorte, in a comment to my column posted on BocaJump, accused us of “playing fast and loose with the facts.” But he then reiterated everything in reporter Ted Schnell’s story, offered no explanations or anything new.
Wallett did respond in a matter of speaking in that he sent me an email, demanding a retraction, but did not specify what he took exception to nor did he claim anything was inaccurate. He did say, however, that no one ever asked him for his side of the story, which is patently untrue as Schnell left him at least three messages prior to publication of our story, seeking comment.
A Facebook response from one of Wallett’s relatives said that this kind of criticism is why no one wants to seek office anymore, apparently believing that no one who seeks public office should be subject to any scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Schnell’s story and my column have been viewed more than 2,000 times by Elginites hungry for news and information about their community and more specifically, about the precious resource that is Gail Borden Public Library.
We would all like to know what Hopp intends to do in light of recent developments and what positive force Wegman, LaPorte and Wallett bring to the accumulated energy and positive momentum that Gail Borden has enjoyed in recent years.