I was saddened, but not surprised, by a column (page 5) in the Feb. 9 edition of The News Messenger titled “Is Mayor Peter Gilbert insensitive to the disabled?” under the title “Jeeves Just in from Jeeves.”
The column frustrated me because I had watched the City Council meeting from home that evening, including the exchange between Mayor Gilbert and Byron Chapman. Just to be sure that I was remembering accurately, I went back and watched that portion of the meeting again. It was perfectly clear to me that Kathy took advantage of a situation that was clearly about the time limit for speakers under the Public Comment area and used it as an opportunity to attack Peter Gilbert as an insensitive elected official.
A review of Kathy’s articles since she returned as a columnist (and I sure wasn’t thrilled about that) makes it evident that she has been looking for any opportunity to attack him. She really hit the bottom of the ethical barrel this time when she stated “He (Jeeves) wonders if Gilbert has a “mind set” disability rather than a physical or sensory one? If so, it’s one marked by ignorance, arrogance and callousness.” If that isn’t enough, she has to go further with her insults by suggesting “Perhaps the mayor needs a leash to help him understand his limitations. Jeeves knows where Gilbert can find one.”
I wrote a letter to The News Messenger in September 2012 complaining about Kathy and Jeeves. At that time, I was tired of her unwarranted personal attacks on residents who were donating their time in an effort to assist with the serious fiscal problems the city was facing. It appears today that nothing has changed in the interim. Unfortunately, many readers will rely on the content in her column and come to the conclusion that the mayor is insensitive to the needs of the disabled. In those cases, Kathy becomes the victor as she has successfully defamed the mayor.
Kathy was a downtown merchant for several years. During that time, she earned a reputation as someone you could count on to not participate in the positive efforts being put forth by the other merchants. Instead, she preferred to spend her time criticizing and downplaying those efforts. If she did anything positive for this community during that time, it remains a well-kept secret. Unfortunately, Jeeves contributes even less.
It is my personal belief that the function of a community newspaper is to deliver the news objectively to its readers. The staff at The News Messenger has taken the paper in a positive direction as a result of your demonstrated professionalism. Kathy and Jeeves can be counted on to take your paper in the opposite direction. It’s time for both Kathy and Jeeves to take a walk.
Jim Datzman is a Lincoln resident.