“Keep Bartonville Country,” while a catchy name, is focused only on catering to the personal desires of a few.
There is beauty in our rural feel. We all agree that Bartonville should never become a Flower Mound or Argyle. We want our homes on acreage enjoying open spaces. We do not want Lantana-style cramped neighborhoods, nor do we want more commercial build-up within our town. We want our little piece of “Mayberry.”
But, “Keep Bartonville Country” has gone from an information source on all things Bartonville to a political mechanism with laser focus to keep/groom a select few in power to implement a very specific agenda. Every candidate running for office today states the desire to keep our town as we see it today. The difference is if the candidate will represent the residents and needs of Bartonville or if the candidate was selected and has only one directive – to meet the demands of the few controlling “Keep Bartonville Country.”
“Keep Bartonville Country” (KBC) started out as CURE, a newsletter providing information about town issues/council decisions at a time when there was very little transparency from town hall (the mayor at that time recruited the council, distributed a voter’s guide, attacked his opponents both in and out of council meetings, and worked issues outside of the public eye). In this role, CURE was a significant benefit to the community. It was objective in the facts and, more importantly, alerted us to the fact that our government was operating under the control of a select few.
As the former mayor and council were replaced by people willing to stand up to the powers that be, KBC/CURE took a non-political position by publishing the informational papers of all candidates without recruiting or advocating. They continued to be an advocate for the community. They championed issues like the water tower, sewers and proposed commercial development in our town. With objectivity and without bias, KBC/CURE provided information that in the past had been stifled by the previous council.
As a result, KBC/CURE had a strong voice in the community as well as an extensive email distribution list for the town. A few years ago, KBC decided this placed them in a unique position to push forward candidates (often with no prior experience in any capacity with the town) that would support their specific positions/wishes. Our objective informational source had morphed into a political machine. While this might seem benign, it has transformed into exactly what it was opposed to in the past. It is now an organization that stifles transparency, directs voting prior to council meetings, and quickly and openly turns on councilmembers who express differing opinions. Differences are squashed by using false information by inference, by innuendo, or directly with untrue statements about other candidates. They produce talking points and send a few devoted followers throughout the town to spread their “message” instead of addressing differences with honesty, candor or even in open debate.
The problem here is that KBC has lost its community voice. It no longer wants to distribute impartial information about residents that wish to serve our town. They made this clear in the last KBC letter when they informed their readers for whom to vote instead of providing objective information on all candidates running. Are these people wrong or right, or good or bad for Bartonville? That is up to you. But do not exercise your voting rights without understanding where your information comes from. Our town will continue and our rural life will be maintained, but do you endorse a group that spreads lies and negativity, is not transparent, and attacks others all to maintain control?
Be mindful that you only have a few independent council members left. Those on council currently, that were not recruited by KBC, are either up for reelection or are leaving office. This is important why?? Because “Keep Bartonville Country” is not your elected officials. But they do strongly influence the voting patterns of the council AND, by extension, the Boards in an undemocratic manner without the transparency you deserve in local government.
I ran for council (and replaced the former mayor) to bring transparency, respect, and honesty to local government. To, once again, represent all residents of Bartonville and no longer support the hidden agenda of a select few. I feel compelled to write this letter because we have come full circle, back to the unacceptable behavior of the previous political machine. And it is worse this time. Last time, it was elected officials, this time it is a few residents hiding behind the banner of “Keep Bartonville County.”
My call to action? Have an open mind, ask questions, and really look at the information you are provided. Read the KBC voter’s guide that provided no stance, not even on key topics like the future of our roads, continued increase in the police department, increased government size and spending, impact of growth around us, etc. They will not even discuss their desire to implement curfews or desire to ban fireworks. The only communication you hear is slander and misinformation about people just wanting to participate in our town’s government. I implore you to become informed. Take the time to attend “Meet the Candidates” on Monday night, April 11, at 7 p.m. at Lantana Community Church. Ask questions, learn the candidate positions, and inform ALL the candidates that their purpose is to represent the entire community regardless of their personal opinion or coaching. Then, make your informed decision on how to vote.
I am aware of the negativity KBC is spreading about me. Just another effort to direct attention away from what is important. I have performed my duties as mayor with integrity, honesty, candor, and respect for all. It has been my honor to serve this wonderful town for 9 years. I look forward to enjoying our rural environment for years to come.