Jun 26, 2014 | 1899 views | 5 5 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor,

There was a large period of time where I had no use for the local newspaper and the slant that was coming from it. That period of time never encompassed the period in which Mr. Swift owned or operated the paper, nor during the period in which it is currently owned.

I knew that when I brought to light the controversy at the Hammon Senior Center that I would be publicly skewered by certain people. No problem. Unfortunately, it goes with the territory around here.

Truth is a hard pill to swallow for some. However, I was, and still am, astonished at the personal attack leveled on Ron Swift, former publisher and editor emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator.

To remotely suggest that he lacks journalistic integrity is outrageous. I have lived in this community half of my life and if there is one person in this community I trust wholeheartedly, it is hands down Ron Swift.

Ron is a professional. He has never viciously gone after another person in this town to create a headline. He has always endeavored to reach out and gain an understanding of all parties’ side of a matter before he writes his opinion.

Back in 2006, I was on the receiving end of an editorial regarding a council decision that he did not agree with. He had his say, and I had mine, and neither say involved a heated exchange.

As time passed, I concede that we were both wrong on our stances, things were learned and remedies made. That said, never at any point did I feel that Mr. Swift was malicious or untruthful, and that opinion of him stands to this day.

The response that Ms. Lustgarten produced in direct response to Mr. Swift’s article regarding the concerns at the Hammon Senior Center only serves to illustrate Ms. Lustgarten’s inability to comprehend his generosity.

The article was not written to attack her, but to bring to light that there are serious concerns from both “camps” that require immediate attention and that all parties need to communicate, especially her.

Mr. Swift was incredibly fair in approach; couldn’t she afford him the same in response?

Lastly, I again ask that the City Attorney address Ms. Lustgarten regarding her conduct during “other matters.” Violating anyone’s First Amendment rights is not appropriate, nor is rumor-mongering on the record. This last week’s episode was over the top and only creates mounting legal liability issues for the City.

As for the Mayor’s embarrassment, he needs to pick up his gavel and use it.

Specifically, when a speaker is at the podium and individuals in the front row are calling the speaker names and stating that their time is up… use the gavel.

No citizen should be intimidated from addressing their elected leaders no matter how controversial the subject.

When a Council member reads an inflammatory letter into the record during open session... he needs to use the gavel.

The Mayor needs to do his sworn duty and control the meetings.

He, and others were well aware of the concerns surrounding the Senior Center for over a year. The matter was brought forth privately last year to no resolution, and the intensity has since escalated.

Our leaders need to ask themselves what they “could have - should have” done in order to resolve the issue instead of attempting to minimize serious concerns by classifying them under the “finger-pointing/bickering” categories.

Eventually it will be necessary to demonstrate some leadership.

Annette Smith,

Former City councilwoman

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June 29, 2014
i have been following this drama between Council Member Lustgarten and Former Council Woman Smith. I recently came across a website run by Citizen Smith who i assume is former Council Woman Smith. The Site Pattersonelection2014.wordpress.com states, This site is about Patterson, those that serve, those that wish to serve, and most importantly, the truth. From what i have read this more of a vendetta site from a bitter former council woman.

One post on the site struck a chord with me. The post titled Propaganda- Reichsminister Lustgarten reads about an incident where the former council woman is claiming that Council Woman Lustgarten read a false letter into minutes that speaks down to the acts of the former council woman. What is disturbing is the term, Reichsminister, the former council woman uses to label Council woman Lustgarten.

For those that don't know a Reichsminister were the people in charge of the German Propoganda Machine during the Ado lF Hit lers regime. The holocaust was one of the darkest times in Human History, and peoples lives today are still affected by those horrific acts. To see a former council woman loosely and belligerantly use terms with such history to anyone is disturbing.

Im all for truth sharing and holding our elected officals accountable, but the examples the former councilwoman is setting is boardering cyber bullying and not prodctive both sides need to grow up and stop real work the city needs to get done.
June 29, 2014

June 29, 2014
I have been following this drama lately and it seems to be getting a little out of hand. I recently came across a site (pattersonelection2014.wordpress.com) that looks to be authored by Former Councilwoman Smith. While the site states that it intends to reveal and speak the truth of all elected officials and those thinking of running for office, her style has really offended me.

In a post, titled Propaganda- Reichsminister Lustgarten (http://pattersonelection2014.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/propoganda-reichsminister-lustgarten-style/)

The author, Citizen Smith, who i assume is Former councilwoman Annette Smith, labels Councilwoman Lusgarten as Reichsminister and threatens to take legal action for supposedly reading a false letter into the minutes. What really struck a cord with me on this post, was the label of Reichsminister that she as given Councilwoman Lustgarten, and in new posts uses the initials RM in front of council member Lustgarten's name.

For those that don't know the history, Reichs ministers were the people in charge of the NAZI Propaganda Machine under Hitler. The insensitivity shown by former councilwoman smith in using this term to describe a city official is disturbing. This label is offensive to the families who have had their histories connected to Hitler's acts and linking a current council member to the Nazi regime is malicious and very belligerent and boarders cyber bullying! Not an example a former elected official, i think, would want to be setting. And yes even though we have freedom of speech, one would expect some thoughtfulness before statements like this are posted for people to see.

I am all for truth sharing, and holding officials accountable, but this looks more like a personal vendetta. I suggest taking a more productive approach, or at least a civil approach to doing what your site states it intends to do. Better yet label what the site is, a vendetta driven hit piece run by a bitter former councilwoman.

Jose Perez

June 28, 2014
I have been following all this drama, and i came across this site run by, what seems to me, a bitter Former Councilwoman Annette Smith. Where i believe there is a space for truth sharing and accountability of our council and board, a post on this site struck a nerve with me.

In the post labled "Propoganda- Reichsminister Lustgarten, http://pattersonelection2014.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/propoganda-reichsminister-lustgarten-style/

Former Councilwoman Smith, goes on to threaten legal action against Council Woman Lusgarten for reading a letter into the minutes that talked down to the former council woman.

What blows me away is the insensitivity of Mrs. Smith, Attaching a label such as Reichminister, which for those that dont know, were the people that were in charge of the propoganda machine for the NAZIS. I get that feelings are hurt, but to attach that title with that history is offensive to the Councilwoman, and to the many people who's own histories are tied to and families have been affected by the NAZI regime.

I don't know what your agenda is, but it seems more of a vendetta than a site to hold our officials accountable. Please if you are going to be the truth barer and the fact checker for the community i would recommend taking a productive approach that helps the community instead of the childish name calling, and insulting of character.

June 30, 2014
This was my original comment, but i thought i got denied because i used the word Nazi..You can delete the others so to not confuse the public.


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