Granby resident calls out elected official’s ‘Mexico’ comment
A Granby resident condemned comments made by an elected official, describing the comment as “offensive and borderline racist” at a town meeting last month.
Andrew O’Neil approached the Granby Board of Trustees with a prepared statement at the Oct. 22 board meeting. He did not explicitly name the trustee who made the comment but said it was made in front of Grand County Commissioners in reference to code enforcement.
“It is abundantly clear that certain trustees do not regard all Granby residents with equal respect,” O’Neil told the board. “… I believe this trustee was aware of the offensive and borderline racist nature of the comment.”
The comment O’Neil was referring to was made by Trustee Becky Johnson at the Oct. 8 board meeting. Sky-Hi News reached out to Johnson via email to discuss O’Neil’s criticism, but Johnson declined to comment.
During an update from the Board of County Commissioners during the Oct. 8 meeting, Johnson brought up concerns about what she saw as a lack of action by the county’s code enforcement officer.
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“I see him driving through town and down 4th Street, but I don’t see that 4th Street changing one bit,” Johnson said. “In fact the other day I thought I was in Mexico because people’s laundry was across their whole fence, pinned up on east 4th Street.”
Johnson went on to outline her concerns. While this area technically belongs to the county, Johnson believed visitors would see it as part of Granby. Even with the code enforcement officer around, this section has yet to be cleaned up, Johnson said.
“I was appalled that for the second time since I began attending these meetings that this trustee made an ignorant comment without consideration for those residents or the people they represent,” O’Neil said. “Despite this lack of consideration and any future attempt to curtail the meaning of her statement, the message was glaring: If you cannot meet this trustee’s standard for property ownership, you ought to be sanctioned.”
O’Neil said he had attended the past few town board meetings out of interest in the town government. O’Neil works for the county, but he said his comments were his opinion and not a reflection of his employer.
“It is with respect that I address the board personally, bypassing public statement in the media, and express my disappoint with this trustee’s comments,” O’Neil said. “I ask that each of you consider the words you choose and the character you portray when commenting on board matters.”
Mayor Paul Chavoustie responded to O’Neil’s comment at the Oct. 22 meeting.
“I know all of us take every comment seriously and everything’s important to us, so thank you,” Chavoustie said.
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