Letters to the editor — Oct. 24

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

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Editor’s note: Letters to the editor endorsing candidates are no longer being accepted for the upcoming election.

Elect Larry Kirby

Clemmons Citizens:  There has never been a candidate who is as remotely qualified to serve as your mayor as Larry Kirby.

Larry Kirby served you as your first director of public works for some 28 years. He literally created the department that we now know.  He was the original designer and “builder” of our sewer system. Larry guided our wonderful community from a sleepy community to one of the most desirable incorporated cities in North Carolina. We enjoy one of the lowest tax rates in our great state while taking advantage of some of the very best services of any community, smaller or larger. While guiding our public works machine, Larry served as a volunteer fireman with the Clemmons Fire Department, now among the highest rated departments in North Carolina. He continues this dedication to purpose in retirement.

Larry also served as our assistant village manager while still directing public works full time. When the need arose for a new manager, Larry stepped up and skillfully, artfully, competently, and without fear, became our full-time village manager for some two years. He earned a solid reputation as a true “git ‘er done” leader. At a council meeting in 2017 while we were waiting on a signature to get final approval on one of the most important projects we have ever had in Clemmons, Larry calmly rose from his seat and left the council chambers. A few minutes later, he returned with the announcement that the signature we had been waiting to get for some weeks now would be delivered the next morning. It was, and the project took off. He is a focused, take charge, respectful, encouraging leader.

Our current mayor used the term “servant leader” in describing himself in a recent issue of the Courier. This term actually describes Larry Kirby so much more. Larry’s photo should appear in the dictionary next to “servant leader” because he truly embodies all that the term describes.

We all need to take full advantage of the opportunity that we have to elect clearly the best leader we could ask for to be our next mayor. I encourage you to cast your vote for Larry Kirby as our next mayor!

— Lanny Farmer

In support of Lofland

I support Pam (P.J.) Lofland for Village Council. Pam has directly helped our neighborhood by addressing and resolving a relentless speeding issue that we have endured. She listened to our concerns, she assisted us in researching solutions, and she arduously and relentlessly presented our problem before council. Thanks to Pam and other council members, residents of the village have a Streets Modification Policy that indicates every street is unique and dangerous situations can be addressed through a form and submitted to the village for resolution.

Pam is dedicated to the residents of Clemmons.

— Laurie Fitzgerald

Kirby wants to get things done

As a member of the Clemmons community, I am sure I would enjoy stories and conversation with John Wait. During two years of watching the Village Council meetings, I’ve heard stories and observed his moderation of council meetings. However, before he was mayor, he didn’t vote in Clemmons elections and, likewise, was not involved in the Clemmons community. This was evidenced by his inability to see issues, clearly, not to mention his lack of leadership.

What a contrast Larry Kirby brought to Clemmons for decades. There was never any question that Larry Kirby knew every part of the village. While in charge of Clemmons Public Works and village management, he was a servant and leader, admired without question.  We saw how well our village was managed.

Why will he be a good mayor? The Clemmons mayor has no vote in council meetings. The mayor can lead, build coalitions when needed and clarify issues for voters and council members. Leadership has been needed for a long time and Kirby proved that he brings it. His involvement never stopped. Now we have an opportunity to have a leader who will bring his vast skills, experience and love of Clemmons to us, council and businesses.

Should we vote for a person who wants to be mayor or wants to get things done? Mr. Kirby wants to get things done.

— Paul Johnson

Wait and Lofland helped slow traffic

I am writing to say how refreshing it has been to have leadership listen to its constituents. Not only listen but endeavor to find resolution. Many times the big-picture folks lose sight of the frontline issues. As we all know, it’s the little things that make a difference. I have to say John Wait and Pam Lofland certainly have been willing to help residents resolve neighborhood matters. Traffic calming has been a serious issues for our street — folks have clocked at 60+ mph in a 25 mph zone. For the first time ever, someone sat down and listened. Now there is a proposal to rectify the matter. I wish them both well in the upcoming election. May he continue to shine on our community.
— R.A.Dorsch

Lofland is the voice of the village

P.J. Lofland is not the problem for the growth we have seen in Clemmons, I believe she is part of the solution. This growth started years ago when others were on the town council. P.J. Lofland has only been on the council for two years and she is trying to do what she can to slow it down. For instance, our neighborhood has an ongoing issue because of the accelerated growth. I emailed P.J. Lofland explaining our problem and she responded right away. She then came out to see for herself and has been helping us ever since. She has been our voice. Given the opportunity she will continue to be the voice of Clemmons to help manage the excessive growth.
— Melissa Taylor

Kirby has proven track record

I am writing to endorse and lend my support to Mr. Larry W. Kirby as the next mayor of Clemmons. I first met Mr. Kirby when I was an impressionable young 14 year-old ninth-grader who was interested in joining the Boy Scout Explorer Post No. 2014, which was associated with the Clemmons Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Kirby served as the post adviser, helping to guide young men and women ages 14 through 18 as they learned about firefighting and emergency medical response while helping their community. He also taught us about life. School and grades were always important and failure to pay attention to either prevented our participation in this experience we all loved. We learned about business by developing our creativity, planning, execution, and customer service skills as we sponsored the annual Explorer Post Haunted House, which was immensely profitable. He took us on recreational trips, spending his personal time and money to teach us how to waterski and enjoy bonding as a group. He was instrumental in helping us to mature into successful young men and women, each of whom have excelled in their chosen professions.

Mr. Kirby has served this community for many years in various roles. In addition to his service as an officer with the Clemmons Volunteer Fire Department, he has worked for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. He was one of the Village of Clemmons’ first employees when he began the Clemmons Public Works as a one-man show, installing street signs, cutting downed trees and handling the needs of the community. After hours, callers to the Village Public Works would get his personal cellphone — at all hours, because customer service was critically important to him. He grew alongside the Village of Clemmons, building a staff of dedicated employees along with multiple pieces of specialized and ruggedized equipment to handle the various tasks associated with public works. He was instrumental in the development of the Northwest Piedmont Safety Partnership, which pooled resources from many small communities such as Clemmons and provided assistance through a mutual aid agreement during tornadoes, hurricanes, and other disasters. He has served as an interim village manager, and most recently as the full-time appointed village manager.

Mr. Kirby knows Clemmons. He and his wife Diane have raised a family here. He has attended church in the community as far back as I can recall. He has been involved with community organizations. He can tell you what “Weatherwax” was, where Heffners’ was located and their business,  about the original two-lane Lewisville-Clemmons Road, and much more. He is very familiar with the past and has been a leader in the present. I feel confident that he is the type of leader who will provide insight and knowledge as he serves the people of Clemmons and the Village Council in the years to come. Please join me in supporting Larry W. Kirby as the next mayor of Clemmons.

— Jon Anthony Canupp

Clearing up info regarding Kirby

I would like to ask all residents of Clemmons to verify information that is being published about Mr. Kirby. I do not dislike Mr. Kirby in any way, but have found that in the last two years in Clemmons with our new mayor, John Wait, I have seen great change and taking ownership of what was inherited and looking outside the box to help us as residents. There have been many false allegations made in the paper through opinion pieces. I just want to make a few quick points.

The median issue was totally false — scam is a more appropriate word — and Mr. John Wait’s personal thoughts and ideas about it where published by himself and still are openly available. Clemmons did not support the median and DOT showed a median would not fix the problem. From the last election, Mr. Wait was the only one to think outside the box. I recall him saying, “What if we look at aligning up the stoplights to help?” and asking for more ideas. I have never seen nor known Mr. Wait to not listen to ideas, thoughts or opinions on any issue including this one. It is just being thrown out there again as scare tactics and false information.

Mr. Kirby’s job resumé continues to come up, but none of the problems he created for Clemmons while holding these positions. The Village of Clemmons did have to settle a legal dispute with the former village clerk after Mr. Kirby fired her against procedure. Although it has been stated he knows better than anyone, but did not display it in this incident or for the benefit of Clemmons residents.

Clemons’ hall was unable to build Market Center Drive in front of K-Mart as Mr. Kirby did not secure “the right of way” when he was Clemmons manager, which again does not show his expertise in the way it has been portrayed in letters to the paper. This all can be verified in documentation in the village hall. Call and verify the information you are seeing as opinions by talking to Scott Buffkin.

The council has not overspent anything and every Clemmons resident can check it. The budget was just published and everyone can see where money is spent and how. I will not insult anyone’s intelligence by pointing this out piece by piece.

The temperament and actions of elected officials, as we have all seen on the national and state level, is a concern in our world today. Mr. Kirby quitting the Civic Club because he opposed letting women back in the club, which women founded, I think speaks loudly of someone’s “integrity” by their own actions.

We are no longer “the past community of Clemmons” but we are the future filled of a great mixture of residents that come together for many reasons, and in support of one another. As our world changes, so does our community and we have to be open minded and able to deal with our diverse world. Mr. Wait has gone out in the community, and I have seen myself, to support many local groups as visiting those in retirement homes, and youth organizations to speak about what he does as mayor and listen to concerns. I have only seen this in Mr. John Wait as he is willing and able to look outside the box to do what is best for all of us. Mayor is not a part-time position for him, or a title to acquire, but rather service in action for our community.

As mentioned in one opinion piece “as rumored’ (Oct. 3) we can’t vote on that type of information, but rather on verified information and knowledge. Please come out to the Clemmons Candidates Informational Session from 6:30-8:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at West Forsyth High School. I think when you learn about Mr. John Wait personally, you too will see why he was chosen last election for mayor, and I will be voting for him again.

— Hildreth family

Kirby has proven his dedication to Clemmons

The job of our elected officials and government is to provide infrastructure and public safety to its citizens. The candidate for mayor of Clemmons that is most qualified for fulfill this post and basic job description is Larry Kirby.

Mr. Kirby has been a resident of the village of Clemmons for more than four decades. Throughout his time, he has always been involved in one or both of these fields. He began his career in Clemmons as a volunteer firefighter and later a reserve deputy with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, in the community. He was a founding member of the Clemmons Public Works Department and ran that department for several decades.

During his career with the village of Clemmons, the community grew from a few thousand residents to a city with many thousands of residents and became one of the best places to live in North Carolina. Kirby oversaw much of the infrastructure growth throughout the village and spent countless hours ensuring that all of the infrastructure was in good working order.

Every time there was something going on, Kirby was always to be found at the center of the action. Kirby always had one goal in mind — how we can best take care of our citizens. During the tornado of 1998, Kirby stayed at work with his staff for days on end, often taking small cat naps between directing crews and assisting residents. Every winter during the snowstorms that were bound to come, Kirby was there with his staff ensuring that roads were cleared. More often than not when a snowstorm would come through, Kirby would have at least a single lane plowed on each major thoroughfare in all neighborhoods. Kirby, as public works director, worked with Hayward Industries, a local pool parts manufacturer, to develop new technologies to allow the village to make and put down its own salt brine. This both saved the village money, because it didn’t have to purchase brine, and allowed the village to take care of its citizens, because the brine would keep the snow from sticking to the roads.

Kirby’s core values include taking care of citizens and being fiscally responsible. Throughout his tenure as the public works director, Kirby focused on managing each penny he was allocated; only when an expenditure was justified and it benefited the citizens did he spend money. One of his initiatives to save money was to have an in-house mechanic on staff at the village. This saved the taxpayers millions of dollars over the years because money did not have to be spent with outside shops.

Outside of his public service, Kirby is an avid member of the church and has raised three generations to also be involved in the church. His son and son-in-law have both served as full-time staff members in various churches and they continue to carry on the values with their families.

In conclusion, I believe that Larry Kirby is the best qualified candidate for mayor of Clemmons due to his background in the community, fiscal responsibility, and his many years of dedicated service to the public.

— Sam Gaither

Vote for experience

Election Day is near, Nov. 5. It is important to vote and especially important to be a well-informed voter. As with each of our municipal elections in Clemmons, there are three council seats to be filled and a mayor to be elected.

Please consider Mike Rogers for one of the three council seats. Mike is highly qualified having served on the council prior to the last election two years ago. Mike continues to be well informed and eager to serve. His thoughtful use of our tax dollars and his vision for our community makes him an excellent choice for the council. He will seek input from the citizens of Clemmons and he will consider how the action of the council will affect our village. He has an appreciation of our neighboring municipalities and our connectivity. How these three council seats are filled will definitely affect the future of Clemmons.

As you inform yourselves decide how you plan to vote, think also of Mary Cameron, another candidate well known for her dedication, knowledge and experience as well as incumbent Chris Wrights who is very experienced.

These three candidates need your vote. We need a strong, functional council and mayor. As for mayor, Larry Kirby has my vote.

Let’s go with experience.

Be sure to vote, Nov. 5.

— Susan D. Jones


Setting the record straight

There has been quite a lot of false and misleading information being bandied about recently in the letters to the editor and elsewhere. I have taken the time to check out every erroneous comment.

Mr. Dillon claimed that one of the councilwomen appeared at the county commissioners meeting wearing shorts and a halter top. PJ Lofland is the only one that has spoken at a commissioners meeting, so if whoever gave him that story has seen her wearing that, he must have climbed into a time machine and gone back more than a few decades. I have known Lofland for 25 years and have never seen her in shorts, and she doesn’t own a halter top. I can assure everyone that neither she or Michelle Barson would ever dress that way to speak before any governmental body.

The current council has not spent our “nest egg” as one of the candidates is telling people. The fund balance is more than $1 million higher now than when they took office.

This council had nothing to do with the sidewalk project to Tanglewood taking so long. It was approved in 2012 and they didn’t take office until five years later, in 2017. It is supposed to get started in a few months and hopefully be completed sometime next year.

The library project has not been held up. It is on schedule to be completed on time in 2020. Our council members did insist that the commissioners add back the aesthetics they had removed from the original design, and most of them were added back. I happen to be grateful and think that is a good thing.

Depriving Clemmons of jobs is not one of the reasons they fought the industrial park development. Had Mr. White been to the council meetings, seen and listened to the many residents that were opposed to it, he would have been opposed as well. Tens of thousands of 18-wheelers thundering down our already crowded streets would have been a nightmare. The previous council members, Mary Cameron and Mike Rogers, were nowhere to be found on that issue.

The council has not been “continually increasing spending on social events.” The majority of the Clemmons community events are sponsored and cost us little or nothing. Clemmons was already having social events before this council came along. The new ones they have added are providing a lot of fun for the residents and visitors, me included. Next year, I will be taking my young grandson along with me to some of those events.

Writing letters to the editor is a great idea and is part of exercising our free speech rights. However, before you lay pen to paper or peck it out on a computer keyboard, make sure that your information is correct by checking it out yourself like I did. False information and misleading statements are not ethical ways to try to win an election.

If you want an ethical, responsive and responsible council, vote for John Wait for mayor, and PJ Lofland, Chris Wrights and Matt Moger for the council.

— Tammie Maat

Lofland doesn’t represent Clemmons

I can say that Chris Wrights, who is running for re-election, and Michelle Barson, who is not up for re-election this time, have served Clemmons’ people by their hard work, research, growth of knowledge and diligent efforts to represent the people. I am eager to see them serving us next year too.

One of the biggest issues this year came from bad comments made at a council meeting by two people regarding equal housing and a decision by a third party that the council must pay money resulting from the words of those two people. A council member said things that were offensive to people. During the debate, a citizen made similar comments which are equally offensive. Why does this matter? The citizen became a member of the council — Pam Lofland. Most of us had no idea she made such comments. I am embarrassed as a citizen of Clemmons.

There are other reasons that I think voters shouldn’t vote for her. She doesn’t seem attentive, doesn’t seem to research and is slow about decisions. She’s been willing to spend our money and step into issues that contradict her claimed conservatism.

However, it is embarrassing that she made those public comments as a citizen, which were never renounced by her, subsequently. No public oral or written statements have come from her. She didn’t communicate that her previous public comments were mistaken, unintended or immature. She made no requests for people to forgive or understand what she meant by them.

I watched her, paid careful attention to her actions and words and I think her value on the council was adverse to the quality the voters should expect.

— Paul Johnson

Disappointed in Mike Rogers and Mary Cameron

A month ago, I wrote a letter to the editor. I was perplexed as to why Mike Rogers and Mary Cameron are apparently just fine with Clemmons voters feeling like they are seeking “re-election” when in fact neither of them currently hold political office. For the record, the current incumbents actually seeking “re-election” for council are Pamela Lofland and Chris Wrights.

I had hoped Mary Cameron and Mike Rogers would rise to the occasion and correct their attempt to mislead voters. They did not. In fact, Mike Rogers went out and posted even more “re-elect” signs and then had friends write letters to the editor telling us why he is entitled to make such a claim. Very disappointing and feels a bit sneaky.

This is either an attempt to confuse the voters and take credit for the good work the actual current incumbents (Pam Lofland and Chris Wrights) have done or it is a lack of attention to detail — either way, it’s concerning. Mike and Mary were voted out of office last election. After all, who wants candidates willing to try to pull the wool over our eyes when they aren’t even in office? Makes you wonder what else they have done or are willing to do.

— Laura Reinhardt

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser

Reelect is a verb.

English Language Learners Definition of reelect: to elect (someone) again.

Miriam Webster: to elect for another term in office.

Specifically:  “another term.” Consecutive not specified.

Laura Reinhardt wrote in the Sept. 19 Courier implying that two candidates for Clemmons Village Council were not being truthful with you, asking to be “re-elected” to council. Based on the dictionaries, they were being totally honest. Both these candidates served multiple terms on your council and are seeking re-election. Actually, Ms. Reinhardt lives in Forsyth County and is not a resident of Clemmons, living outside of the town limits. She never cast a vote in Clemmons, but claims she did: “We voted them out two years ago.  I guess we have to tell them again.” How did she vote in Clemmons? Who put her up to writing such a letter?

Ladies and gentlemen, neighbors, it’s all starting again! Slandering good people. Spreading hate. For what? Certainly not for good.

Please don’t fall for these hateful, dishonest tactics again this year. Look at the facts, examine the issues, ignore the haters and slanderers.

Clemmons is still a wonderful village. Full of wonderful, loving people. Great neighborhoods. You trusted Mary Cameron for over 24 years and she worked hard for you, your children and your homes. She hasn’t changed. And so, Mike Rogers, a local businessman and community servant. None of these slanderers have ever worked for your good like Mary Cameron and Mike Rogers have. None of them!

Vote for honesty and proven unselfish service. Re-elect Mary Cameron and Mike Rogers to your village council!

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser!”

— Lanny Farmer