Reaction to commissioner statements
September 8, 2022
To the Editor:
An article on the front page of the September 1 issue of the Dayton Chronicle reported that Commissioner Charles Amerein responded to a community member at the Aug. 22 commissioner’s meeting by saying that he has “learned to investigate first before making accusations”.
I found this to be in contrast to recent statements made by Commissioner Amerein.
Mr. Amerein claims that a flag rally, where he gave opening comments, was held at the Dayton Historic Depot “because that was where it was believed the ‘Betsy Ross’ flag was pulled from”.
Had the commissioner investigated first, someone could have explained that the Dayton Historical Depot Society had no part whatsoever in the removal of any flag, anywhere. It could have also been explained to him that the Dayton Historic Depot property is privately owned, and available to rent with board approval. Because none of this investigation took place, the advertised “rally for the flag” - which included flags and signs ranging from patriotic (current and historical representations of the American flag) to political (God, Guns and Trump) to homophobic (people huddled under an umbrella with rainbow colors above it) - began in an unauthorized location, for an invalid reason.
I was inside the Depot during the flag rally. Unfortunately, there were a couple of out-of-town visitors, also. Shellie gave them a tour, but they seemed uneasy and asked, “Is this a normal event for Dayton?” They left with a somewhat skewed vision of our town. After attending the flag rally, a young man came in with some well-thought-out questions. He seemed to be open and willing to listen to the answers. Later in the day, Joe Helm came in to talk to Shellie about the happenings during the rally. I witnessed both of these people investigating, and appreciated their thoughtfulness in doing so.
More investigation would have been helpful to Mr. Amerein had he done it before providing quotes supposedly from Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx in a letter he wrote to the Port of Columbia opposing the building of a childcare facility on Port-owned property. Though the statements he quoted are often attributed to Lenin and Marx on unreliable internet sites, there is no source material to support that attribution.
These examples describe Mr. Amerein acting based on rumors, and using false information as a scare tactic. In these two incidents, Mr. Amerein clearly did not investigate the facts before addressing community members.
I am concerned about the unwelcoming climate evident in Dayton. These rumors and falsehoods are tearing our little town apart.
This letter has been submitted to the Dayton Chronicle and the Waitsburg Times.