Editor: Mayor Fontaine may have thought he was politically sly earlier this year when he joined other candidates in failing to condemn the behavior and rhetoric of those near our town who seek to inject their extremism into our community.
The mayor continued by hiding behind vague interpretations of court cases to avoid uniformly enforcing sign ordinances. He then doubled down, apparently allowing extremists to violate sign ordinances while ensuring some with political views in contrast to his own followed the rules. This is a double standard, and another clear case of using his position of power to further a political agenda—possibly in violation of the Hatch Act.
The mayor then continued this trend, dragging in one of our planning commissioners for a browbeating after she made an online post denigrating alt-right groups, and specifically Nazis.
A sharp departure from his predecessor who vowed to oppose Nazi’s in our midst, up to and including in court, Mayor Fontaine has thrown down the welcome mat for extreme hate groups in Lovettsville. In case you might be tempted to dismiss this as a one-off lapse in judgment, he stayed silent on the dais while the council reappointed a committee member previously removed for associating racist remarks with his official position. Lest one believe the cases of Consaul and Scott Spangler are identical, remember the first was anti-racist while the latter’s comments were plain racist.
The mayor failed to correct the council who stated we must play together or risk losing volunteers to run our town events, even if those volunteers are unapologetically racist and without qualms about associating their racism with our town.
Through all of this the mayor has skirted the core issue, turning a blind eye to the extremism taking over in front of him and in full view of our community.
Mayor Fontaine just might be blissfully ignorant, blind to the role he is playing in this tragedy. However to play that card, he would have to admit to an incurable failure in leadership and basic situational awareness.
Another explanation is that Mayor Fontaine agrees with, and is in league with, the extremists who are waging their culture war in the midst of our town. His silence is deafening.
We do not need the mayor to give another long, mealy-mouthed homily which seeks to avoid complete and total condemnation for extremists, and especially those extremists who also happen to be his political supporters. We need a mayor who will speak plainly, loudly and for those who are targeted by bullies and extremists- no matter where perpetrators might fall on the political spectrum. Characterizing extremists’ actions as merely “unprofessional, unneighborly, and in extreme poor taste” falls far short.
If the mayor takes action or believes the council has erred, we deserve a public explanation. Otherwise we are left with the sole option that he is also a bigoted extremist. It is up to him to change our community’s perception without delay.
Mike Dunlap, Lovettsville