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The benefit of the doubt (for now)

Special Commentary by Chris Graham

I’m curious as to what Bruce Allen was trying to convey when he said this morning, “I’m here to serve all the people of Waynesboro, not just a select group.”

I think I know what he was trying to say. During our city-council race this year, Allen’s handlers made me out to be an elitist (the born-to-teen-parents, raised-by-a-single-mom-in-a-trailer-park kind, of course), while Allen, himself from a humble, hardscrabble background, was the “man of the people.” Thus positioned as a populist, Allen would serve “all the people of Waynesboro,” while as an elitist I would serve “a select group,” ostensibly referring to my service on the board of directors of the for-some-reason-reviled Wayne Theatre Alliance.

(Another reason to call me an elitist – I use words liked “hardscrabble” and “reviled” without having to look them up.)

I note my curiosity to what Allen was trying to convey in light of revelations since Election Day that he had been backed by a group of local businessmen whose interests in the next city council included firing the city manager. Those revelations have turned the “select group” issue on its face over the course of the past few weeks, and it now wouldn’t be that difficult to argue that the new council majority exists to serve a truly select group, which has obviously achieved its primary (and to date only publicly known) aim.

Maybe Allen was meaning to reference this and try to defend himself against the implication that he isn’t what he told the voters that he is.

Either way, I’ll give Allen the benefit of the doubt, for now, anyway, given the main thrust of his first message as a city-council member to city residents this morning.

“I made some statements and some commitments to the people of this town. I plan to carry out those commitments,” Allen said. “I’m a conservative, and I plan on living up to being a true conservative for the town. I want responsible – responsibility to our department heads and to the citizens of Waynesboro. I’m here to serve all the people of Waynesboro, not just a select group. And I’m glad to be here to work for the city and for the citizens of Waynesboro.”

Except for the part about “responsibility to department heads,” he made decent sense there, I think.

augusta free press
augusta free press