Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bobby Ferrell Is a Man of Letters

I once had a client who tried to adapt a breathalyzer ignition lock from his car to his computer keyboard, hoping to prevent himself from sending late night emails to an old girlfriend and embarrassing himself beyond shame when sober reality returned the next morning. Had he been successful, he would have found a ready market among certain public officials who appear guilty of writing under the influence of hubris and making themselves appear foolish.

Fayetteville Alderman Bobby Ferrell is only the latest example. His quoted remarks in the local newspaper coverage do not appear to be enough to make his point or make him feel secure. He has now taken up the asinine and pointless practice of writing Letters to the Editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times in response to citizens who submit letters regarding his public conduct and comments as a member of the City Council. It is becoming an annoying habit, one that might require intervention.

On June 24th, Alderman Ferrell's letter to the editor was in response to comments by William Moeller, who disagreed with Ferrell's position on road impact fees and offered an alternate vision of what kind of community we are trying to create for Fayetteville's future. Ferrell fired back with an ad hominem attack on Mr. Moeller, writing, "let me say it is flattering to be quoted by Mr. Moeller, even if he usually helps carry the water for the current administration. Mr. Moeller asserts 'contrary to what appears to be the mantra of our business community, simply growing the tax base will not solve all of our economic problems.' Most local business people I know don’t have time to meditate and espouse a mantra; they are too busy worrying about profit and loss and making payroll..... I hope my incantations have helped 'enlighten' Mr. Moeller." Rather petty and somewhat arrogant for a public servant.

Ferrell's June 24th letter brought one in response from another citizen, Jim Bemis, on July 11th. Mr. Bemis charged that Alderman Ferrell "all too predictably" responded "by firing a few cheap shots at Moeller" and avoided the "central point that impact fees 'put the pain right where the problem is on the new construction.'" Mr. Bemis quibbled about Ferrell's choice of the word "incantations," then asked, "Does Bobby somehow believe that his 'incantations' will summon the powers of darkness to silence his critics, as dictionary meanings suggest, or is this just another reminder of his own pious predictability in serving the interests of a few of the town’s special interests?"

Unable to resist, Alderman Ferrell today has yet another juvenile Letter to the Editor, apparently responding to Mr Bemis with "Hardy-ha har har." Ferrell wastes good ink citing dictionary definitions of "mantra" and "incantation," then concludes with an attack on the original Northwest Arkansas Times news story of June 10th and
asserts, "At this point I am declaring myself victorious in this volley and will try not to respond to further attempts to raise my ire on this subject from you, your surrogates, etc."

Alderman Ferrell, get a grip. And get help. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

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