GUEST COLUMN

Bob Gullette

It's with sadness and disappointment that one continues to read in The State Journal the ongoing saga (“Rosen withdraws $500,000 pledge for new animal shelter, cites 'disgust' with recent city actions,” Oct. 19) about Richard Rosen's angry vengeance against Mayor Bill May, all because, responding to mounting public pressure, the mayor didn't reappoint Rosen's wife, Anna Marie Pavlik Rosen, to the Frankfort Plant Board. 

Mr. Rosen's actions have become both political and, most hurtful of all to the city, personal (holding a grudge against the mayor). One wonders what he, a man I actually know and like and respect, expects to achieve by his repeated, public, hostile attacks against May, which have gotten rather tiresome to read about in the newspaper.

First, there were Mr. Rosen's personal attacks on the mayor (I hardly know the man) in his many guest columns, the last one being entitled "Guest columnist: Special meeting was further evidence of a broken city government" (Oct. 10). 

In this lengthy article he once again sharply criticizes Mayor May personally, calling his recent actions "despicable." And then he goes on to say, "We really need to replace Mayor May and Commissioners John Sower and Scott Tippett (an insult to those who voted for them, including me), who show no leadership and way too often are on the wrong side of issues (that is, in opposition to his opinions) that would benefit the citizens of Frankfort."

Well, I don't think the citizens of Frankfort need Mr. Rosen to tell them what to think and who to vote for. I certainly don't. His opinion is no more important than anyone else's regardless of his wealth.

Then we learn in an article published on Oct. 16, “FPB meeting continues after former chair's spouse asserts lack of quorum,” that Mr. Rosen disrupted (my word) the meeting, claiming that the board lacked a quorum, an assertion that was ruled against and thus the meeting continued.

Now, last weekend, we learned that Mr. Rosen has reneged on his "pledge," which, according to my dictionary, is defined as "to commit by a solemn promise." This doesn't seem very honorable to me, breaking one's promise, which I was taught never to do.

He says in the article that the purpose of his retraction of his donation pledge wasn't to "spite City Hall" (who believes that?) but to make citizens aware of the "lack of leadership and misdirection" that he sees in the city (apparently he sees more clearly than the rest of us do).

He goes on to say that he would renew his pledge if two conditions were met: (1) elected officials agree to pay the amounts the Humane Society has asked for in the past toward a new shelter and (2) the reappointment of his wife and Walt Baldwin to the Frankfort Plant Board. In other words, he's saying, "Do what I want you to do or you don't get the money I promised you and took back." Such bullying tactics (playing the money card) are both disappointing and distasteful.

To me, what all this really boils down to is this: Mr. Rosen is angry because May wouldn't renominate Mr. Rosen's wife (his representative) to the Frankfort Plant Board and he's used the newspaper to display that anger and to hopefully damage the mayor politically, along with Commissioners John Sower and Scott Tippett.

And what good has all this anger accomplished? It’s done nothing but create hostility, resentment and gridlock. That's obviously not the way to move Frankfort forward.

Like so many others, I don't see why Mr. Rosen just can't accept the fact that his wife and Mr. Baldwin had their "turn at bat" and move on to more "positive and productive" things with the city commission and the Frankfort Plant Board — choosing qualified members, discussing issues in a gentlemanly manner and basing decisions on what is right for the City of Frankfort instead of constantly making personal attacks and publicly criticizing elected officials whom one disagrees with, a tactic that only hurts Frankfort while making newspaper headlines.

Nothing is gained by attacking May in the newspaper over and over. I think Mr. Rosen should get off the mayor's back and let the voters decide about him and the city commissioners in the upcoming elections. That’s how democracy works.

Meanwhile, since Mr. Rosen thinks he knows what's best for our city and how to solve our problems, I urge him to run for political office. And if he wins, then he can endure all the angry and abusive public criticism that's hurled against him by people who heatedly disagree with him, just like what May is currently enduring with him. Perhaps then he'll sing a different tune.

Bob Gullette, of Frankfort, is a retired state government employee. His email address is rwgrwg3232@hotmail.com.

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