Op-ed twisted facts about Danville’s and Boyle’s parks debate

Published 5:22 am Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Guest columnist

In the Aug. 30 op-ed by Elaine Wilson-Reddy titled, “Magistrates must remember they represent Danville residents,” Wilson-Reddy took issue with some magistrates’ desire that the county not fund all the parks within city limits, and cited how their constituents are also Danville residents. She specifically took aim at Magistrate Phil Sammons. Her editorial provides some good life lessons.

Email newsletter signup

Her words were reminiscent of a line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem; “IF.” The line reads: “twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.”

There are valid points in arguing both “city parks” positions. However, doesn’t it come back to who’s doing the defining? Sammons and other magistrates have defined their positions and perceptions regarding this issue while providing examples, one of which is fiscal responsibility.

Magistrates are concerned about the pressing jail issue which looms in the near future and they also see this as their responsibility to “every resident” of the county.

I’d like to provide a few examples of how Wilson-Reddy seems to define her positions, perceptions, and responsibilities.

  1. Wilson-Reddy repeated Magistrate Sammons comment; “It’s always been done this way” as “the ultimate killer of new ideas and change.” I agree. However, doesn’t life show us everything involves balance? Change for change’s sake isn’t necessarily a good thing, just like being a progressive doesn’t necessarily mean “forward thinking.”

For example, was getting rid of former DHS band awards won under the direction of William Gravely (citing we can never move ahead until we move beyond the Gravely era) a good thing? It was change but was it the right and responsible change? Wasn’t Wilson-Reddy the director at the time? Perhaps she didn’t consider former alumni her constituents, but is this perception an example we should follow?

  1. Wasn’t Wilson-Reddy also quick to call out the national story involving Covington Catholic student(s) wearing MAGA hats involving an American Indian, before having all the facts? For example, she wrote:
  • “Covington Catholic students have a reputation as being unruly and obnoxious.”
  • “… the group of predominantly white immature boys.”
  • “He wore a MAGA hat and stood toe-to-toe with the drumming native American.”
  • “They need to be educated on mob mentality…”
  • “Boys continue to live their white male privilege.”
  • “Covington Catholic has a reputation for toxic culture.”

We later discovered it was the American Indian beating a drum and others yelling racial slurs at the students who instigated the action. The Covington Catholic students showed great restraint and maturity. Can the same be said for Wilson-Reddy’s comments? Is this her example of forward thinking? “Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools?”

It’s interesting that Wilson-Reddy also didn’t point out her husband is a sitting city commissioner who’s had disagreements with Magistrate Sammons in discussions over the Parks and Recreation issue. Isn’t full disclosure proper professional protocol?

When we point, don’t we have three fingers pointing right back at us? It seems Wilson-Reddy has never provided for us a better example.

Sometimes when certain people are against us in life, it’s a good sign we’re doing something right. “Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools?” I believe the citizens of Danville aren’t as foolish as Wilson-Reddy’s words seem to express.

Good life lessons can be learned from both good and bad opinion op-eds. But then again, it’s all in who is doing the defining.


Randy “Gip” Graham is an entrepreneur and author. He lives in Danville.