Friday, June 13, 2014

Chadwick flip-flops on Douglass Park alcohol ban

Ginny Chadwick’s fight to ban alcohol at Douglass Park has taken a new twist.  She’s communicating a desire to ban alcohol at all city parks while giving the impression doing so has been her intent from the beginning.

Chadwick confronted the controversy surrounding her plan to ban alcohol at Douglass Park with a press release communicating a plan to ban alcohol at all city parks.  Chadwick is also pushing to ban alcohol at university parks.

The language of the recent press release diverts attention from a policy perceived as racially driven.  Tyree Byndom confronted Chadwick about banning alcohol at Douglass Park, and was told to prepare for a battle (

Chadwick’s recent position should be considered within the context of her previous position on this issue.  Records of her input during the June 2 city council meeting reveal her plan to ban alcohol exclusively at Douglass Park.

The details of that meeting were recorded by The Columbia Heart Beat.

"One thing I did see that continues to be an issue is alcohol," The Columbia Heartbeat reported Chadwick saying.  "I would like to look into an ordinance to make that park alcohol free."   

The issue was presented to the city council in February by Fred Schmidt, former 1st Ward councilman.  Schmidt was advocating for the ban at only Douglass Park, a position supported by Chadwick.

"The use of alcohol in that park is not like it is in other parks," Chadwick said.   "Do we have the drinking issue in any other park like we do in Douglass Park?   It's a perpetual thing that people are drinking in that park."   

The Columbia Heartbeat’s reporting clearly reflects Chadwick’s desire to ban alcohol at just Douglass Park.  Residents should press her to discuss why she flip-flopped on the issue.

Chadwick’s new position is easy to endorse, but her claim that this has always been her goal is disingenuous.  Tell us you have reconsidered based on conversations with residents living near the park.  Tell us you have listened to the criticism and altered your position after accepting the racist undertones related to your previous stance.  Tell us you have done research on alcohol usage at other parks, but don’t insult the intelligence of your critics by presenting a press release that claims a different position.

That may cover up the mistake you have made, but it fails to address the character of one who just played a game when the heat in the kitchen got too hot to bear.  Citizens are willing to accept an apology.  They understand when a person brings a perspective devoid of an understanding of how a certain group may respond.  We all make mistakes, and there is always space to grow.

But don’t pretend you’ve always seen the bigger picture.  In the words of Samuel Dewitt Proctor, my former mentor and teacher at Duke, that dog will hunt.

This hound dog smells what you are doing.

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