Well, it would appear that my ever-present smile, sparkling wit and willingness to allow people to be just as intelligent and kind or stupid and mean as they want to be has lulled a few into a false sense of security.
It seems that the anti-incorporation folks have gotten frustrated at trying to discredit the local incorporation group and have decided to turn their fangs on the editor of the local newspaper.
I wouldn't have bothered responding to it, but the group in question has the nasty habit of spreading their ridiculous rumors far and wide. I felt it better to nip this one in the bud.
It doesn't hurt, either, to show bullies that you aren't the easy prey they may have mistaken you for.
I received a letter this week from one "former member of the UGV (Unification of Golden Valley)," calling me a liar.
Jerry Weiss wrote, "The fact is that Marie Hill absolutely did not announce that Pat Randolph and Henry Peairs were on Dorado's payroll. That statement is a blatant lie."
He wrote that he and UGV member Gary Meland both taped the meeting in question, and neither of the tapes caught Hill's accusation.
While I won't stoop to accusing any particular person of tampering with the tapes, I don't believe there's anyone older than 40 who is so naïve as to believe tapes can't be altered, can't be cut and spliced, can't be erased or taped and retaped. It's been done at the highest levels. Remember Watergate? Remember President Richard Nixon?
Sorry, Jer, but I have told the truth and will continue to shout the truth to the best of my ability. The fact is that I have at least two witnesses who will, under oath if necessary, testify that they heard those very words come from Hill's mouth on two separate occasions.
One of them, at my request, spoke to four of the IGV board members informally on March 21 and informed them without hesitation that Hill had told him directly that Peairs was being paid off by Dorado.
And I know I heard the accusation myself, not only at that final Oct. 28 meeting, but in a prior UGV board meeting. At the time, I kept my silence, believing the accusation to be false but not wanting to create a libelous situation out of a slanderous one.
So let's put that issue to rest. There's really no contest between the truth and a lie.
But if I really were a liar, what would I be telling people?
If I were a liar, I could pretend to be pro-incorporation and then work to undermine and sabotage the efforts of the sincere incorporation individuals.
I suppose I could say that individuals on the other incorporation committee "may involve the backing and commitment of a development company," that my brand of incorporation is the only one that has any validity and that all other pro-incorporation groups are just in it for political, financial and personal advancement.
If I were a liar, I would accuse them of collusion, of being political wannabes, of being guilty of incest, of being pedophiles, necrophiles, criminally insane and sociopaths.
Even though I didn't live inside the proposed incorporation boundaries, I would write scathing, accusatory letters to the editors of all of the local newspapers, spreading the venom just for the fun of seeing my name in print and watching the fight that ensues.
I would wail that taxes are bound to skyrocket with incorporation, that the valley will become a police state under the guns of the scary Minutemen, where no one is allowed any personal freedoms.
I would accuse the pro-incorporation people of drowning puppies and pulling the wings off of butterflies, of any other ridiculous thing that came to mind, all just to keep the incorporation issue clouded with utter nonsense, insinuating that the people of Golden Valley are so stupid they'll never see through the smoke screen to the truth.
But never, never would I tip my hand and openly reveal that my pettiness, immaturity, hatred and berserker, vigilante attitude might stem from spite, from fear, from envy or even from racial prejudice.
I don't believe Golden Valley is a bastion of racial bigotry, but I am aware that prejudiced individuals are universal, as common and unwelcome as graffiti on bathroom walls. It's something we all have to deal with, and it's truly unfortunate when such a backward attitude stands in the way of those who want to protect and preserve Golden Valley.
Think that's as low as the negative bunch can go? Wrong.
When I called Weiss to confirm his letter, he further accused me of being Peairs's "live-in publicist." So let me address this particular bit of slander before he or anyone else has a chance to try to make it really ugly.
And let me remind you all that this attack on the newspaper and me, in particular, is just another smoke screen designed to take attention away from and to cast unnecessary suspicion on the IGV's incorporation effort.
Those of you who read the Feb. 28 issue of the GVG probably saw my column concerning Black History Month. In that column, you read that Peairs is both my landlord and a very dear and close friend. I help him with his bookkeeping, housekeeping, cooking, grocery shopping, errand running and ranch chores. He provides me with a place to live in exchange, a nice, workable arrangement.
The UGV knew of our relationship, as do all others who have any dealings with the incorporation effort, a good number of people in the community and the bosses at the newspaper. It's not something that needed to be hidden.
This is a small community with a small local newspaper. The GVG editorial staff is a staff of one - me.
Peairs is an individual who is very active in the community, and as a result, appears frequently in the local limelight.
In addition to his chairmanship of the two latest incorporation efforts, he's president of the Valley Pioneers Water Co. Board of Directors and a member of the Golden Valley American Legion. He's a retired Baptist minister and a retired business owner. He's also a member of the Kingman Eagle's Club and has been a Mason for almost as long as I've been alive.
A journalist would have to be both blind and stupid not to see what an important role such an individual plays in this small-but-growing community.
As fate would have it, our paths crossed more frequently than most and we eventually established our current relationship. Such connections are not uncommon in small communities.
Despite my relationships with Peairs and with other friends who just happen to be movers and shakers in the Golden Valley Gazette readership area, I strive to remain as impartial as possible. Granted, it isn't always easy, but I work hard at it.
In the year and a half that I've been working and living here in the valley, I have met many wonderful, good-hearted, intelligent, peaceful people and a very loud handful of ... those who are otherwise.
It is my hope and belief that most of the citizens of Golden Valley are savvy enough to read between the lines, to ask questions when they need answers and to make their own informed decision regarding incorporation, a decision based on facts rather than supposition, accusation, fallacy and fear.
Don't let the smoke screens fool you.