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Mayor pro-tem responds

Postscript letter to the Editor:

After the last few months of Mrs. Molly Nixon posting misinformation on the social media website facebook, and then her emotional address to the council in October, I felt compelled to contact her. On October 14, I reached out to her and told her that I was more than willing to provide her with any information she requested and answer any questions she may have. She responded that that would be great and asked for specific information regarding the 2011 Red Flannel Festival bill from the city and the removal cost of the logos. On October 19, I met with Mrs. Nixon in her home at 12:00pm. Little did I realize I was being secretly video recorded during our 1-½-hour meeting.

While I am aware of the law and understand the courts have upheld that it is not illegal, I feel it was morally wrong. Out of common courtesy, trust and creditability, she could have told me what she was doing and I would have not objected. I have nothing to hide. Mrs. Nixon then took the liberty to post a 3-minute-47-second segment of our 1-½-hour meeting on YouTube. She has also taken the liberty to misquote me on facebook. If you secretly record what someone says, then there should be NO ROOM for error when quoting them.

The segment that Mrs. Nixon posted on YouTube resulted from a question she asked about the city’s relationship with Watson Properties. Which, surprise surprise, she did not post on YouTube. I told her I did not know of any Watson Properties and that the only property the city had for sale was 95 N. Main and possibly it had something to do with that. That then led into a conversation about 95. N. Main. (After our meeting I inquired at City Hall about her question regarding Watson Properties and found out they actually own Wendy’s here in town, which has no relation with Mayor Charlie Watson). I believe Mrs. Nixon was on a mission of digging up dirt.

Now that she has been provided all the information she requested regarding RFF and the City, she must realize the information she was distributing was incorrect and is now focusing on 95 N. Main. Nothing I said to Mrs. Nixon concerning 95 N. Main is anything that hasn’t already been discussed during workshops or council meetings (both which are open to the public). Had Mrs. Nixon attended those meetings, she would have been aware of such information.

It is unsettling to me how someone can take bits and pieces of a conversation and twist them to darken another’s creditability. I have learned a very valuable lesson dealing with Mrs. Nixon in a one-on-one situation, while trying to address her questions and concerns.

Christine Fahl

Mayor Pro-tem, City of Cedar Springs

p.s. On Oct. 24, the Kent County Land Bank approved a motion to take title of 95 N. Main. They will oversee the environmental clean-up, redevelopment and resale of this property.

 

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6 Responses to “Mayor pro-tem responds”

  1. Charlie Towns says:

    Ms Fahl,
    First and foremost let me thank you for your service to Cedar. Being on the counsel is not a job full of glamour. You get paid almost nothing and spend many hours of your personal time for the City. So even though I do disagree with the City Counsel from time to time I respect the fact they (Counsel members) stick their neck out and try the best they can to help the city.

    Having said that, you did volunteer for the job. Everything you say to a citizen is “on the record”. So I do not understand why you feel that you were wronged? If you feel Molly misquoted you ok fine, come on here and correct it (which you did). There is no reason to feel wronged! You were quoted on what you said, you came on here and corrected it, what is the problem. This is part of the job of being on the counsel. If you are offended on a personal level then perhaps the counsel is not for you.

  2. Cedar Resident says:

    Really Charlie Towns, you dont’ think Ms. Fahl has a right to feel wronged when she was secretly video tapped? Ms. Nixson should have been upfront with the video tapping to begin with. I find her actions appauling. I think she should appologize to Ms. Fahl for being so deceptive.

  3. Charlie Towns says:

    Remember that Ms Fahl approached Molly as a member of the city counsel. Every Time she operates in that capacity she is on the record. Even at City hall minutes are taken at every meeting. Myself I probably would not have video’ed her, but she should not be upset that when she was talking to Molly that what she said was put out there for all too see and hear. She is in a public office, she went to Molly’s house in the capacity of that office. She states she is open and upfront, ok fine….then why is she upset that what she said was recorded? She feels it was a misrepresentation of what she said, she came to the post and corrected it. But to take it personal that she was recorded is a bit far, she was not operating in a personal capacity, but a public capacity. To her and all the other counsel members I would say that if you do not want to be put on the record, do not comment on issues at anytime, or choose when you do. Because anytime you give an opinion or statements on issues of the City you are subject to having these opinions/statements broadcast to
    everyone.

  4. Cedar Resident says:

    I think Ms. Fahl is upset that the video was done deceptively, she even states that if Ms. Nixon had been up front about video taping the meeting Ms. Fahl would not have objected, so I think you are missing the point Charlie Towns.

    Again, Ms. Fahl has every right to be upset for being mis-represented in the video, if the section on YouTube is an editted version of the conversation, thus being misleading in an attempt to continue an uproar with the community over the RFF Board and the City of Cedar Springs.

    Ms. Nixon needs to grow up and behave like an adult rather than teach the youth of our community that it’s alright to lie and be deceptive to get what you want.

    I belive that there needs to be a change in thinking with the RFF Board, the City of Cedar Springs, and the Residents so our small town stops being the butt of jokes for those who don’t live here.

  5. Charlie Towns says:

    Admin if this is over the number of characters allowed in a post please split it up between post.

    Ms. Fahl has no basis to be upset or feel wronged, and if she is upset it is not the public’s concern. She vents this without considering she is in a public office.
    I will quantify this with another secret video of another public official and we will see how it was handled. I do not know if the post will allow me to put links up here so I will explain, and post the link in a second post.
    Mitt Romney was secretly videotaped at a fund raiser. He was in someone’s private home just like Ms. Fahl was. He was operating in a public capacity just as Ms. Fahl was. The Video was edited to make a point just like Molly did.
    Both Mitt Romney and Ms. Fahl came out afterwards to correct what THEY FELT was a manipulation of the total context of the message and what they stand for. The difference between them is this, Mitt came out and told his side to set the record straight and that was it. While Ms. Fahl came out the set the record straight she also thinks that she is entitled the same courtesy she would get as a private citizen while operating in a public capacity. (I will post the link below in the next post).
    As for Ms Fahl’s personal feelings, why is any of what she does on a professional level interfering with her personal feelings? Even if it does keep it to yourself, it is the job you signed up for. Come on the record and state your case, and move on. I respect her for taking a thankless job on the city council, but I do not sympathize with her that comments she was not expecting to be on the record were put on the record in a way she did not like.
    You say: “I believe that there needs to be a change in thinking with the RFF Board, the City of Cedar Springs, and the Residents so our small town stops being the butt of jokes for those who don’t live here.”
    I love my home, I have traveled far away from it for almost 15 years now, and I count down the days until I come back. People who do not live there will say whatever they say I don’t care.
    Molly decided to be involved in the process is causing those in the community to look at the issue and form an opinion one way or the other. I do not know if all her facts are straight or not, but either way she has gotten people involved and considering an issue they otherwise would not have. For as long as I can remember the main problem in Cedar city hall has been no one is involved with it (zero civic participation). So I would assert her doing this is a healthy process.
    Several months ago I wrote City Hall and the school board on the issue of funding for Skinner field maintenance. For so long I have not live in Michigan consistently I did not understand how proposal A worked and how things were funded. Although some of my facts were wrong the core of my argument that the school should put money into a facility that both CSPS and the community can use (as opposed to Red hawk stadium that only they can use) rang true to many who e-mailed me they agree me. It caused some to look closer at how the Sinking fund will be spent who otherwise may not have. The City and the school board said they would meet to discuss the future. So no not all my facts were 100% correct but it is always a healthy thing to get people thinking about their civic duty as a tax payer and voter to know what their representatives are doing.
    I did not agree with 100% of the Article the post ran, and I did not want them to put my job title in the article (which they did). Unlike Ms Fahl however I did not get mad things did not go my way because I understand I put myself out there in a public environment.

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