Tuesday, January 31, 2023

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Good questions, but we didn’t write them

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This newspaper’s publisher certainly wishes he could have been present at last week’s Graham city council meeting, particularly during one of the public comments.

Eric Crissman, who is a member of the planning board but stressed he was speaking strictly as a Graham resident, took the new council to task for its approach to filling a vacancy on the council.

Crissman somehow believes that the council should just automatically appoint one of the defeated candidates, starting with Melody Wiggins, the council member who was defeated in November, but ran third for the two seats.

Crissman did not like the methodology that the council decided on, to have applications from interested citizens, with a questionnaire to be filled out by those applicants.

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In particular, our ears started burning when Crissman made the statement, “I have learned subsequently that the editor of the newspaper compiled the questions.”

There’s an old adage that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

And in that sense, we take some pride in the fact that new mayor and city council members have devised a questionnaire for prospective appointees to the city council that includes many questions similar (or, in several instances, identical) to ones we posed to Graham’s city council candidates prior to last year’s November municipal elections.

But this newspaper’s editor had no role whatsoever in devising the questionnaire being used for applicants for the current council vacancy.

We have no idea whether the specific questions to which Crissman objects – he thinks some are “irrelevant” or “contradictory” –are those from this newspaper’s earlier questionnaire to candidates last fall or whether they were entirely new questions, presumably developed and included by the new mayor, potentially with input from the two new council members, Bobby Chin and Joey Parsons, as well as previous incumbent councilman Ricky Hall.

At any rate, we think the questionnaire approach is a perfectly valid method for the council to use in order to gauge the backgrounds and the policy positions of prospective council candidates.

But, contrary to Crissman’s assertion, we had nothing to do with formulating it.

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