- The turnout was great and there were a significant number of NFL T-Shirts noted.
- Ginger Simonson made a comprehensive presentation of the results of the petition drive.
- During the public participation portion: (My apologies if these aren't 100% complete; I was taking notes as quickly as I could and I have combined some of the speakers if their issue was the same. These are also not necessarily in the same order as the actual speakers.)
- Candidate Bryan Webb retracted a quote that had recently been reported by Chris Roark in the FM Leader. I believe it was related to the FM Cares debate.
- Several NFL supporters, including Candidate Lyda, spoke about their character being challenged by people opposed to the NFL and that they did not like being called "Marxists and Socialists."
- A number of people challenged Paul Stone's ethics complaints. One person specifically quoted his comment about "what happened to civility?" The speaker then talked about the flyers circulating (Keystone, etc.) and the fact that all candidates had agreed to the "Code of Fair Campaign Practices" and that there would be no character defamations, etc. He asked that Mayor Smith publicly repudiate these communications. (She did not.) He reiterated that it was false that "activists" were seeking to halt all drilling operations as the Keystone flyer had alleged.
- Two speakers spoke out strongly against Mr. Stone for making false allegations against them and asked for a public apology. ("Mr. Stone is a stickler for ethics, but not a stickler for the facts.") Mayor Smith explained that Mr. Stone had called her before tonight's meeting to communicate that his mother was ill and he could not attend. (He did not however, communicate any apologies that Mayor Smith should make on his behalf.)
- One speaker stated that the has heard it said that the "radicals" had brought all of this negative talk and dissension to the election debate. He stated that was not so, that the events of January 21st when the Mayor and majority of the Town Council ignored the public outcry, was the cause.
- Another speaker asked the Council if the proposed Chinn Chapel land swap had anything to do with gas drilling that they were not telling us.
- Candidate Gerald Robinson said that in 2006 he attended 30 meetings related to the Master Plan and that he doesn't ascribe to attack tactics. (It should also be noted that he wore a green tie.)
- Mark Stewart (the author of the infamous Saul Alinsky letter), decried what he called the "tremendous amount of anti-drilling rhetoric" including an alleged threat by a petition worker to a 30 year resident (whose husband has cancer) that "if you don't get out of town, we'll burn you out." [Editor's note: DO YOU SERIOUSLY THINK THAT ANYONE IS GOING TO BELIEVE THAT NONSENSE?!?]
- Shiloh Chris complained that the petition group was a PAC and that the petition should be rejected until every single person that signed it agreed to initial every page of the petition indicating that they fully understood it.
- And finally, one speaker challenged Mayor Smith's comments this week (carried by Channel 11) that the Police Chief's job performance was under scrutiny by her and several Council members. He stated that it was against the Town Charter for her to be involved in such matters.
Mayor Smith then asked the Town Attorney and the Town Manager to address some of the questions raised. In particular, the question that appeared to be the most troubling for the Town staff to respond to related to whether or not it had been appropriate for Mayor Smith to publicly discuss the Police Chief's job performance. The Town Manager stated that he did not interpret such matters and the Town Attorney stated (after some hesitation) that if the comments had been unethical he would have brought it to the Mayor's attention. [One more note from the editor: Not exactly a ringing endorsement of her behavior.]
Mayor Smith then stated that she believed that she had acted ethically, and in fact, she was simply exercising her first amendment rights to free speech. She also accused the speaker that had asked this question of a "drive by shooting" in making the allegation. (He had to leave after his remarks this evening in order to take his son to a football meeting.)
Regarding the petition..it was moved to accept it and to put it on the next Council agenda (May 3rd) for further discussion and to make a decision as to whether the provisions should be adopted or whether it should be put up for vote in the November general elections.