I was in attendance at Monday’s City Council meeting in Waynesboro. There were quite a few comments regarding Vice Mayor, Jim Wood, and his recent disparaging remarks aimed at Pete Buttigieg.
There were many requests from the remaining council members and many residents that Mr. Wood voluntarily relinquish his position, which I agree is the right thing for him to do. There were also several citizens who apparently have personal relationships with Mr. Wood and spoke in support of his retaining his council seat. The refrain from his supporters varied little, and centered on the idea that he made a mistake, has apologized and should now be left in place to continue his work with council.
Three problems came to mind while considering the comments. The first is, Mr. Wood’s pejorative reference to Mr. Buttigieg’s homosexuality is not a “mistake.” A mistake is something that happens once and hopefully corrected and learned from. This was only one instance in a long list of disparaging remarks Mr. Wood has been making for some time. It is obvious to many of us that his homophobic references join a pattern of thoughtless, careless and insulting speech carried out on his blog and elsewhere that must be viewed as representative of his essential lack of respect for any group he does not approve of.
Second, his apology, if in fact you can call it that considering he made no attempt to actually accept responsibility for his pervasive lack of respect, was simply to say his remarks were a joke–a play on words. That is a supremely insulting, disingenuous statement.
Lastly, after all remaining members of council stated clearly and unequivocally their disdain for Mr. Wood’s damaging rhetoric, how on earth would they, as a body of officials, be expected to work together with any cohesive sense of mutual respect in the city’s best interest?
No, Mr. Wood should resign for the good of the city. If he is such a “good guy” he will surely be able to find another way to do good for Waynesboro.
Letter from Connie Wright-Zink/Middlebrook