Archive for November, 2011

The Vice-Mayor of Manassas, Andy Harrover, owes the citizens of Manassas an apology. Harrover who runs a blog My Side of the Fence on Manassas politics and government had a very public and snarly temper tantrum online the other day referring to some who post critically, or in what he deems a hostile tone on his blog as “buttholes.”

Thus is the level of political discourse in the City of Manassas set by a public official, a public servant who holds a public forum online focusing on city matters. And make no mistake about it, despite protestations otherwise by some of his obsequious supporters, it is a public forum, it’s not Mr. Harrover’s living room, kitchen, house, or backyard at his fence. It’s a public forum, he opened, he chose as a vehicle with which to inform and engage the citizens of Manassas. A reasonable person can hardly find fault with Mr. Harrover for moderating and controlling the tone of the discourse on his blog but is this the tone and attitude Manassas citizens should expect from its Vice-Mayor?:

“I won’t tolerate any more insults of any sort. No snark. no cute re-writes or comments. Many of you who have been buttholes in the past will find yourself already blacklisted and unable to comment. It’s an admission that our collective third-grade teachers were right: it only takes a couple of jerks to spoil it for everyone. To all who are unhappy with this, go open your own blog and keep it fresh for the next 5-6 years. Good luck and bon voyage.” (- Andy Harrover Vice-Mayor of Manassas)

To be fair to Mr Harrover, one recent poster Cromagnum seemed over the top, but anonymous/cloaked posters are not the norm on Mr Harrover’s site, most posters post openly and do so in good faith to contribute to a public forum on issues that effect their lives, families and neighbors.

I have no idea whether I am one of Harrover’s ‘blocked buttholes’ of Manassas, and I honestly have no interest in finding out one way or the other, but I do have an interest, as do other citizens of Manassas, in not being censored, misrepresented, or disparaged by a public servant, who invites public input only to backhandly dismiss what he deems unwelcomed input  as so much crap.

If Mr. Harrover wants to make a public demonstration of scolding  constituents, then he better be prepared for return fire. He has posters’ e-mails, why such a public display of bravado?  Is this how a leader brings people with different opinions together for finding points of agreements?

Mr Harrover deserves enormous credit and thanks for all the work and long hours he puts in on behalf of the city, including the operating of his blog, but looking down his nose on citizen posters is not one of his finer moments in public service, no ifs, ands and buttholes about it.


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