a friend of mine sent this to the blog. once again, ms. newman has incorrect information: i will comment in parentheses where i see fit…
Here is Ms. Newman’s response to my asking her about her essay based on a post she made to Google Buzz:
I really, truly have nothing against Julie Bass personally; if you read my article closely, I was simply stating my opinion, and my opinion only, that the city wasn’t being crazy or unprecedented or even out of line. Honestly, the ordinance is not one I feel particularly passionate about. I am passionate about process and I am passionate about the city officials who have been working extremely hard for the city for many years; (if she is passionate about process, she should be passionate about my rights and passionate about the process being fair and correct. maybe she will write another article about how the city can pull their act together in the future, instead of having random prosecutions… although i’m not sure i would trust her reporting on that, either…)
officials who have recently been harassed to the point of receiving death threats for doing what they honestly believed was their job. The city has received tens of thousands of complaints from across the country, approximately 4 people from the actual city of Oak Park have registered any comment, and only 2 of them were against the action. (i don’t know if this is true or not, but it doesn’t sound right based on the feedback i’ve received. i think this may be some oak park official playing fast and loose with the facts again…)
Moreover, the charge against Mrs. Bass was dropped because, the city agreed, the ordinance as written was too vague. (AHA! if only it were true! sadly, another wrong piece of information from ms. newman. neither i nor my lawyer was contacted about any such thing. so, at this point, she is either spreading weird rumors or just totally making things up. either way, i hope she wasn’t planning on a career in journalism!)
This does not change the fact that the city does have a legitimate interest in attempting to protect neighborhood home values by enforcing standards, and that if the Bass family and others like them disagree with their interpretation, they have every right, and are encouraged to register that discontent by asking for the ordinance to be updated rather then by taking it upon themselves.(i agree with this completely. all except that we shouldn’t have taken it upon ourselves. this was thrust upon us by the city coming after us when we clearly did nothing wrong. so if not us, then who???)
Shouldn’t the city’s residents have the opportunity to weigh in, through democratic process, what they think about changing the character of their neighborhoods? (absolutely. but this has nothing to do with anything. going to city council meetings and weighing in on issues is not the same as being prosecuted by the city- who we tried in the first place to comply with! i don;t even know why she thinks this is related.)
so, i think i’m pretty done with jessica newman. i’ve already given her more time and exposure than she deserves. now i’m going to do a real blog post, worthy of my readers!