The Transylvania Times -

Editor: Commissioner Chapman's Comments Incorrect


Last updated 3/3/2021 at 4:11pm

Larry Chapman

County Commissioner Larry Chapman's claim he was denied the opportunity to respond to criticisms printed in The Transylvania Times is incorrect, according to John Lanier, the newspaper's editor.

On Feb. 22, during commissioners' comments at the end of the board's regular meeting, Chapman said he was "informed by the editor of our local paper that he would not accept any response to any opinions that were printed in the paper, from me. I don't know if it's just me personally, or from anybody, but anyway." (Chapman's full comments are below).

Chapman said he and the board have received calls and emails, along with letters to the editor, criticizing the board's recently approved Constitutional Rights Resolution.

"I don't feel, at least personally, that I have been able to respond to a lot of those," he said.

Chapman then read the "opinion," he said, he would have sent to the paper, "had they printed it."

"Mr. Chapman's statement that he was informed by me that the paper would not accept any response from him regarding the Constitutional Rights Resolution is incorrect," said Lanier. "I have had no conversations with Mr. Chapman via email, by phone, in person or by any other means in a few months and certainly not since the county commissioners passed their Constitutional Rights Resolution. He never contacted me about responding to readers' opinions of his statements about his 'hate America left' comment.

"Maybe Mr. Chapman is confusing me with news editor Derek McKissock, whom he contacted about another matter. The latter, however, had nothing to do with him writing a letter to the Opinions of the Readers.

"As he told the commissioners on Feb. 22, 'What I am going to read now is an opinion that I would have sent to the paper had they printed it.' We can't print what is not submitted.

"Mr. Chapman is also either disingenuous or forgetful when he states, 'I don't know if it's just me personally, or from anybody' as to why a letter he admittedly never sent was not printed.

"Mr. Chapman previously was informed of our policy about not printing letters from elected officials. (See editorial titled "Policies for Politicians" in the Opinions section online). Before he ran for office in 2010, this paper printed plenty of letters submitted by him.

"From 2007 until his election in 2010, we published 23 letters written by him. In 2019, the one recent year in which he was neither in office nor a candidate for office, we printed two letters that were submitted by him.

"During his previous eight years in office the paper actually waived its policy for Mr. Chapman when he wrote a letter entitled 'What This Veteran Was Thinking.' At the end of his letter is an editor's note stating, 'The prohibition of letters from elected officials was waived since this is a letter by a veteran about Veteran's Day.'

"All of these statements are verifiable by either looking at past newspapers or requesting copies of Mr. Chapman's correspondence using his county commission email."

Editor's Note: Commissioner Larry Chapman made the following comments during the commissioner comment period of the Feb. 22 Board of Commissioners' regular meeting.

"Mr. Chairman, this is coming out kind of more in frustration than anything. I was informed by the editor of our local paper that he would not accept any response to any opinions that were printed in the paper, from me. I don't know if it's just me personally, or from anybody, but anyway. So, this frustration is growing. I very rarely read the paper, especially any of the opinion things. But I get a lot of calls about it. We got a lot of calls regarding our Constitutional Amendment. And I don't feel, at least personally, that I have been able to respond to a lot of those.

What I am going to read now is an opinion that I would have sent to the paper had they printed it: I understand that in addition to emails I have received that some citizens have been attacking me and some of our commissioners in the local paper, especially regarding my, quote, 'hate America left' comment and my response to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. I thought I, and we on this board, responded appropriately and condemned it, but maybe not strong enough for some. I rarely read the paper and especially any opinions. I am not sure exactly what comments were made. However, I really don't care whether someone likes me or not. I'm too old to worry about it or to be concerned about being politically correct. First, I fully stand behind my comment regarding 'the hate America left.' I am talking about the leftist anarchists and not liberals or Democrats because there is a big difference. Maybe some don't know the difference. I have no problem with liberals or Democrats, for that matter. I just don't agree with some of their polices. The leftists I deplore are the anarchists, such as Antifa and other leftist groups, that have spent the summer burning down federal buildings, state buildings, private businesses and local governments. They are looting stores; killing people, like the retired cop who was acting as a security guard in a private business; blocking streets; taking up city blocks; and basically destroying the livelihoods of thousands of our citizens, costing their government and their citizens hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, and assaulting police officers in the process. They hate the police and law enforcement to the point of trying to defund them or, in extreme cases, kill them. Their chants, as they marched down the streets, and most recently in Washington, D.C., quote, 'F the police.' And their loudest recent chant is 'ACAB-All Cops Are Bastards.' I have not heard or seen much evidence locally from any leftist liberals groups condemning these actions. Or, maybe some don't care or are afraid to say so. For that reason I totally support our excellent professional law enforcement personnel and agencies. We, as a Board of Commissioners, recently were somewhat attacked, mostly by email and probably in the paper, for passing a simple resolution, regarding our support for the U.S. Constitution. Best I can count, I have raised my hand on a Bible at least 10 times, swearing publicly that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And I will do all within my power to live up to that oath. Maybe those who have never taken an oath really don't care, but I do. I will stand by that any time appropriate and will never apologize for it. If we as citizens and governments do not stand up to the leftist anarchists, we will not have a country left and lose the freedoms and liberties that thousands of brave men and women have given their lives to protect. The supporters of wokeness, cancel culture and censorship will continue to try to silence voices they do not agree with. But this old retired Marine will not be silenced, and I will point out injustices and hypocrisies any time I can. Semper Fidelis."


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