To the Editor,
This is in response to the letter to the editor from Polly Singer Eardley published on Oct. 26, 2019. Ms. Eardley seems to either be ignoring or completely misunderstanding why so many of us who worked in favor of the Fairness Ordinance recently passed by the city council are upset with her behavior.
In her letter she outlines at length and in detail why she voted against the ordinance. Let me make it very clear that while people may be disappointed by her vote, they nonetheless respect that she has a right to vote for what she believes is best for the community. That is not why so many are upset with her. She was caught on a live microphone the night of the vote making jokes with fellow council member, Marvin Thompson, about the sexual activity of LGBTQ individuals, immediately after listening to about two hours of personal testimony from LGBTQ individuals describing the discrimination and prejudice they have experienced in our community.
The joking—crude enough in itself—was absolutely inappropriate, considering that she and Mr. Thompson were still in their official capacity as elected officials, and it showed a complete lack of understanding and compassion for the testimony that they had just heard from their constituents. It was this specific behavior, not Ms. Eardley’s vote, that generated the ethics complaint.
Ms. Eardley claims the complaint was anonymous. It was not. The person who filed the complaint asked to be notified so she could attend the hearing and make her complaint in person. She was not notified and only learned that there had been a hearing when she read about it in the newspaper.
Ms. Eardley describes the complaint as “bogus” and “fraudulent.” It was neither. The ethics complaint addressed the behavior caught on the live microphone that was an embarrassment to our entire community. The ethics hearing determined that no ethics had been violated, but that does not clear our two council members from violating the public trust with such blatantly inappropriate behavior. Mr. Thompson stated to the council at a later meeting that he should not have said the things he said; Ms. Eardley has not even attempted an apology.
Ms. Eardley claims she is being harassed. I disagree. She is being held accountable for her behavior, and it is the right of the public to demand this accountability. Ms. Eardley can best serve this community by reflecting deeply on her own behavior to see if she can understand how damaging her unguarded words were that night, and she needs to issue an authentic apology. Then we can all agree to let this go and move forward with her stated vision of working together for the betterment of our community.
Mary Lou White