And a reply letter to the editor from council member
To the editor,
Enough is enough!
In this era of “fake news,” Mr. Johnson has learned that if you say something enough times publicly, it becomes the truth. Your readers have been subject to a misstatement from Mr. Johnson.
He constantly states that I have asked for the chief of police to be fired for “speaking to the press.” Your readers, including a former mayor, have accepted Mr. Johnson’s opinion as fact.
At no time, have I ever written, or said that the chief of police should be fired for exercising his constitutional right to speak to the press.
If he was fired for doing such, I believe so strongly in his right to do so, that I would offer my legal services to defend him.
I understand that Mr. Johnson is attempting to protect his future candidate for sheriff, but my irritation with the chief, as expressed in a private e-mail to the safety director had nothing to do with the chief exercising his right to speak to the press. Mr. Johnson knows that, as he has a copy of my e-mail. How and why he got it, is a discussion for another day.
Chief Panezott is a special police officer. Salem is blessed to have him. His past service in the Drug Task Force has given him the ability to lead the effort to stamp down the local use of illegal drugs. For that, I and all of the citizens in Salem are very grateful.
However, prior to the open discussions of city council on the issues of medical marijuana, a member of city council took the time to ask for and receive advice from the chief as to his opinion of the issues. He stated that he had none. As long as all actions taken were legal and followed state law, he had no problems with medical marijuana.
Following that input, Salem City Council voted in the Committee of the Whole, 7 to 0, not to allow the growing, or production of medical marijuana in the city. It did vote 5 to 2 to limit medical marijuana dispensaries to two.
Two days after the council vote, the chief had a session with the local press expressing the exact opposite of what council was led to believe his opinions were.
Was I upset, yes! I felt the chief should have come to city council and express those views to us first> Then if he felt he was not being listened to, by all means express his opinion publicly.
I am new to the position of city councilman. I have a lot to learn, but being falsely attacked by someone who disagrees with me so personally is difficult to understand. I guess if you do not like the message, you attack the messenger.
As always, please feel free to contact me on this or any other city issue.
Third Ward councilman