Originally created 04/22/00

Attacks editorial, defends Wilheli

As a staunch conservative, I often find myself in agreement with the editorial staff of this paper. It was, however, with great shock and disappointment that I read the vicious April 17 attack on Bush Field Commissioner Marcie Wilhelmi. It is one thing to honestly disagree with someone and to logically point out those differences, but to ignore substance and demonize, as that editorial did, reminds me of the tactics of a certain president which this newspaper frequently points out.

The editorial refers to Ms. Wilhelmi as a "self-described community activist." I have to wonder what this newspaper thinks it takes to get beyond that level. Evidently the many thousands of volunteer hours she has invested in our community as director, chairperson, board member or volunteer of many civic and charitable organizations does not qualify. It is worth noting that with her chosen career as wife and mother, Ms. Wilhelmi enjoys no economic benefit from these activities. ...

It is also important to understand that in opposing Bush Commission Chairman Ed Skinner (a retired vice president of this newspaper) and his man Al McDill, Ms. Wilhelmi knew she would incur the wrath of The Chronicle. It tells me she cares a lot about our community to willingly endure such a vicious attack.

The editorial sounds more like it was written by a rebuffed, vindictive Airport Commission chairman than a new editorial page editor from Alaska who has not been here long enough to develop the bitter vileness expressed. How much influence does the retired vice president still have at 725 Broad Street?

Instead of vilifying Ms. Wilhelmi, she should be recognized as the community treasure she is. Thank goodness someone not only recognized the lack of progress at the airport but also saw the potential that was not being pursued. Let's give her and the other progressive members of the Aviation Commission a chance to implement their plans to bring in commuter airlines and make the airport a contributing asset to our economic engine.

Mr. McDill is gone. A new director will be hired. It's time to push forward and work together for the benefit of our community. I only hope that The Chronicle will let go of its obsession with Mr. McDill and its "scorched earth" policy toward Ms. Wilhelmi. ...

David Hogan, Augusta


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