Del. Griffith fights back against the 'haters'
In response to several occasions where public officials have been verbally flogged by some residents during public comment periods with insults and accusations of corruption, Prince George's House Delegation Chairwoman Melony G. Griffith (D) recently issued a call for those residents to behave themselves and to "stop the Maddness [sic]."
"In the past 18 months I have had the misfortune of interacting with a few people in the county who I can only describe as haters," Griffith wrote. "For the purpose of this correspondence, I am defining haters as those who choose hateful attack politics that seek to embarrass public servants and gain media attention under the guise of promoting an issue or position.
"I am calling on those haters to STOP THE MADDNESS [sic]. STOP insulting, misleading and attacking. I have heard these haters demand respect, transparency and open communications. These requests are reasonable, and when presented with respect and civility even welcomed. When laced with hatred, drama and insults, these demands will be ignored.....at least by me." (See full e-mail below.)
Griffith's message, distributed in an e-mail blast to about 50 people including elected colleagues, residents and members of the media, came after a town-hall-style forum at a Glenarden church last week, in which several attendees hurled verbal assaults at a panel of local elected leaders. One man accused officials of corruption, waving his shoes in rage. A woman lamented that God can't seem to find Prince George's County, apparently because of a malfunctioning gps device. And County Council Member Samuel H. Dean (D-Mitchellville), who did not attend, was called out by a senior citizen--who was there to highlight alleged substandard living conditions in his community--for being "missing."
Several of the more fiery attendees were affiliated with the group People For Change, who first gained notoriety for their opposition to a proposal to build a professional soccer stadium in the county. They railed against the project, and protested outside the County Administration Building in the spring, calling for the resignation of several officials. Some had signs that said, "Hit the Road Jack," referring to County Executive Jack Johnson.
The group also rallied around a man who filed a law suit claiming that a single polling site for a referendum in Laurel constituted racial discrimination, and has supported a group of seniors in the Cameron Grove community who blame their developer and county officials for alleged poor conditions there.
In an interview, Griffith said she intentionally spelled "Maddness" with two D's in her message as a reference to the theatrics of the protesters, which she said reminded her of the sketch comedy show named after MAD magazine. However, the magazine, and the show, MADtv, were both spelled with one D.
Griffith declined to cite any individual or group by name when asked just who the "haters" were, and said to refer back to the definition in her e-mail.
"If the shoe fits," she said, "wear it."
For the past 11 years it has been my honor and privilege to represent the citizens of the 25th Legislative District and Prince Georges County as a Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly. For nearly a year I have also had the fortune of serving as Chair of the Prince George's County Delegation. I have had the pleasure of working with and for some of the
most committed talented and dynamic public servants in the country. In the same 11 years I have interacted with passionate community activists, business owners and leaders of the faith community. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to work with state and local agencies, municipal leaders and non-profits.
In the past 18 months I have had the misfortune of interacting with a few people in the county who I can only describe as haters. For the purpose of this correspondence, I am defining haters as those who choose hateful attack politics that seek to embarrass public servants and gain media attention under the guise of promoting an issue or position.
I am calling on those haters to STOP THE MADDNESS. STOP insulting, misleading and attacking. I have heard these haters demand respect, transparency and open communications. These requests are reasonable, and when presented with respect and civility even welcomed. When laced with hatred, drama and insults, these demands will be ignored.....at least by me.
In a county that celebrates its diversity, I recognize that there will be differing opinions about the challenges that we face and the solutions we select to address them. I remain open and available to hear from the citizens and give thoughtful consideration to the input of others.
I must again state that the overwhelming majority of my interactions with my colleagues in public service and the citizens of Prince George's County have been valuable solution based interactions. It is my hope that the haters will join the majority who are willing to be civil even in disagreement.
I invite elected officials, citizens and representatives with solution based ideas to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I remain committed to service,
Melony G. Griffith
October 23, 2009; 11:19 AM ET
Categories: Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County
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