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Letter: A shameful display of disdain by council member Christianson

At the special Willmar City Council meeting of Aug. 20, council member Ron Christianson not only sealed the status quo at City Hall, but prevented further discussion of other important issues facing the council. These include recommendations to settle three labor contracts, including one that has been open three years, and suggestions to repair relations between the City Council and business leaders.

To leave a labor contract open for three years is inexcusable, an insult to the professional staff at the city. And I can’t name another city council anywhere which has such a poor relationship with our business leaders. Yet Christianson has the audacity to denigrate them as an outside special interest.

That’s ludicrous. They are, to a person, leaders in the community, men and women fully involved and invested in myriad organizations devoted to the betterment of the city and our region. They are right from a civic and business standpoint to be concerned about the poor decision-making by Christianson and his followers.

Christianson today rules and dictates by his own personal political worldview, as if an emperor. He brushes away facts and evidence, while declining to provide his own beyond vague soundbites. Those who disagree with Christianson are automatically deemed unworthy of having their views heard and discussed, and instead interrupted, shouted down and ridiculed.

Council member Audrey Nelsen is one of the latest to be so shamefully attacked by Christianson, being told that her tenure on the council did not qualify her to weigh in on the matters under discussion. Nelsen defended herself brilliantly, pointing out her 17 years of public service and 30 years as an involved resident of the city. It should suffice that she, like Christianson, holds an election certificate and is thus one of his peers, not an inferior, and he needs to stop treating her as such.

Representative democracy demands opposing viewpoints be allowed to be heard, considered and respected. Christianson’s obvious lack of respect for his peers, the public and the process, demands his replacement at the next election. Governance by anger and disdain has no place in our city of Willmar.

Steve Gardner