Salida City Council’s new ordinance limiting the access of the “wrong people” to documents was just the latest attempt to silence dissent. On April 19, I received the following anonymous letter via U.S. mail at my Salida home:
“Vincent Edwards Phillips
“Once again I picked up my morning paper and found you shooting your mouth off. Vincent Edward Phillips it is obvious from the information I provided that you are NOT a citizen of the good town of Salida CO. You are a bigot, a coward and an a**hole with your head shoved so far up your own ass you can lick your own tonsils. But you are not a member of this community and I DEMAND you get out! Those of us who belong here do not want people like you here.
“As for your constant whining over Drew Nelson, get this straight once and for all, he is a married man and you are not his type. Take your gay, bisexual ways and go back to California as you are doing nothing but embarrassing yourself. And quite frankly I am tired of hearing it. …
“You need to shut the f**k up! Am I making myself clear? You and all your friends Jim Livicci, Hal Brown, Mike Bowers, Melody Hallet, Monica Grisenbeck, you are all the reason abortion should stay legal. BECAUSE YOU ALL SHOULD HAVE BEEN ONE!
“Do not, I reiterate, do not let me pick up the paper and see your whining again. Have I made myself clear?”
Quite a rant! This epic prose was followed by a two-page wildly inaccurate internet background search of me, interspersed with more infantile insults. Who knew that someone who is obviously one of the most ardent supporters of Mayor Wood, this city council majority and Drew Nelson is a foul-mouthed, crazed homophobe?
I reported the letter to the postal inspector, since mailing a threat is a federal crime. The original was provided to the Salida police, who forwarded it to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis. Results are pending.
Somewhere a disagreement on policy moved away from politics and into criminality. Sure, I write letters. I thoroughly research them and document what I say. What do I never get in return? A reply from any of our elected officials.
They certainly never address documentation that proves their version of events is patently false. Instead they use taxpayer money and the power given to them by the people to fight a running battle to obscure the truth.
This vile and ultimately ineffective attempt to silence my right to speak deserves one response: universal condemnation. Council must hold a public vote condemning this anonymous letter. Failure to do so is an acknowledgement that they are OK with this behavior – if it is directed at their critics. I see no middle ground – silence is acceptance.
What say you, Salida City Council, is the cowardly letter quoted above an acceptable defense of your policies?
Editor’s note: At the request of Vince Phillips, the anonymous letter he quotes has not been edited for spelling and grammar.