Petulance in Palisade

The Daily Sentinel has long argued against recall elections for public officials in most circumstances. Recall is a heavy hammer usually brought out to address a few minor problems or public disputes. It should only be employed when there is evidence of official misconduct, malfeasance or neglect.

However, if Palisade Mayor Dave Walker finds himself headed down the road toward recall in the next few months, he can thank his own petulant words for greasing the skids in that direction.

Calling a political opponent a “brain-damaged candidate” during a public meeting is not the sort of thing that typically inspires confidence among constituents. And by referring to that same candidate, Wayne Reid, as part of a group of “low-life Livery drunks,” Walker managed to insult not just Reid, but a long-standing Palisade business and everyone who frequents it.

Furthermore, it’s exactly the sort of language that contributes to incivility in today’s world and turns politics from reasoned debate into something more akin to a barroom brawl — no reference intended to The Livery Saloon or any other Palisade establishment.

Even so, it’s not hard to understand Walker’s anger. The recall petition being circulated by Reid and others claims Walker abused his power by threatening to have the Livery shut down. This came during a heated debate with Reid prior to the town’s April elections in which Reid was an unsuccessful candidate for the town board.

The Daily Sentinel reported on that incident months ago and, while it was unpleasant, there is no evidence Walker acted on his heat-of-the-moment threat.

The petition also claims Walker tried to keep Reid from being elected to the town board. Hmmm. A politician trying to influence the outcome of a political election. Imagine that.

The fact is, Walker has as much right as any other citizen of Palisade to work for or against any municipal candidate he chooses.

The recall petition against Walker appears to be long on accusations and short on solid evidence of the sort of official transgressions that might justify recall.

Still, Mayor Walker should learn to tone down the rhetoric and chest-thumping if he wants to avoid angering constituents in the future.


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