George Unger’s letter to the editor titled “Wellington Doesn’t Need an Arts Center” (Sept. 21) is a familiar echo of a divisive past that not too long ago dominated the political discourse in this community. His rhetoric, laced with lies and personal attacks against Mayor Anne Gerwig, is not useful or productive, nor does it advance the discussion on any issue. She certainly does not need anyone to speak for her, and that is not my intent. What I want to address is Mr. Unger’s eagerness to disparage her for having the audacity to point out that she has a skill set and experience that is unique and useful to the council and is pertinent to the topic at hand. In fact, his entire letter has a misogynistic overtone throughout and is inaccurate on virtually every point he raises.
Contrary to his assertion, her actions do indeed speak for themselves, which is something that Mr. Unger cannot claim, unless he wants to point to all the time he has spent behind a keyboard typing nonsensical letters to the editor. Mr. Unger has a history of actively participating in the past acrimonious political environment with his many letters and public comments in support of the previous council members that often instigated it. She has been a target of his disparaging letters and name calling ever since she first ran for a seat on the council. The previous council stated they passed her over for vice mayor, which is primarily a ceremonial title, “because we can.” This is to be expected from an arrogant few like Mr. Unger and his lot, who seem to be threatened by a strong woman in leadership.
His political bent betrays his desire to appear to care about a particular issue by his fabrications and false allegations. And for good measure, he plays the “Trump” card. To create a guise for his allegations, he had to lie about her running a vocal partisan campaign, about her advocacy for Wellington owning and renting an office building and about her propensity for recklessly spending of tax dollars. All of this to create a platform for him to bring his partisan politics into local issues, while trying to look like Father Time dispensing sage wisdom. We have seen how destructive this disingenuous behavior is to our national political discourse, so I cannot understand why he is so willing to drag our community into that gutter with him. This has no place in our hometown.
For more than eight years, the mayor’s record is clear and her actions consistent. She was the only dissenting vote in 2013 to purchase the office building, which was done by the previous council with less than three weeks of due diligence. It was her opponents who inserted party into their campaigns. She is the only member of this current council to vote no to raising taxes on the residents this year. She is the only member of this council to oppose this year’s budget with a $10 million project that has had zero public input at this time. With such demonstrable lies, he exhibits what is wrong with today’s public discourse. Politics of personal destruction has no place in our town square, and, thankfully, Mr. Unger is an outlier in this regard.
Fortunately, for every letter or comment like Mr. Unger’s, the mayor receives dozens of unsolicited, encouraging comments and e-mails from residents, whether they agree with her position on any specific issue or not, saying they appreciate her courage, her service and her doing her best to represent all of the residents of Wellington. I have had the privilege of going on this journey with her and have witnessed some really bad behavior by elected officials and residents, but overall this is not the norm by any stretch. I have witnessed this council working very hard together, whether they agree or disagree, for the benefit of the residents.
Alan Gerwig, Wellington
Editor’s note: Mr. Gerwig is the husband of Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig.