APPLE VALLEY — About 30 citizens crowded into the meeting room of the Apple Valley Fire Department Friday evening and, to the vocal dismay of many, heard that the appointment of an interim mayor was tabled until April 19.
After Mayor Marty Lisonbee resigned the post March 18, the town council originally scheduled the special meeting to interview candidates and appoint an interim mayor that would serve until the next election in January.
Mayor pro tem Dale Beddo, one of the candidates for the job, spoke to St. George News after the meeting.
“The interviews and appointment were tabled because the application had some discrepancies, which mainly consisted of dates that were inconsistent,” said Beddo. “Under the advisement of legal counsel, we postponed it.”
Council members also noted that the extra time will allow all those citizens who are interested to put in an application.
The meeting degenerated a couple of different times into shouting matches back and forth between Beddo and some citizens.
After the agenda items were tabled, obscenities were shouted and almost the entire crowd stormed out of the meeting room.
Richard Ososki, one of two applicants who was ready to be interviewed Friday night, was disappointed with the decision to table the matter. Several members of the crowd wore red baseball hats with white lettering that read, “Make a switch, vote for Rich.”
“I think we could have solved this matter tonight, and dragging it on is going to make it harder on Apple Valley,” Ososki said. “I think that the people here showed the support of the town and they wanted to see something that was put to bed, put an end to everything.”
Ososki said he was able to submit his application three days before it was due, and thought that the application process was clear to everyone.
“You try to solve a problem, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” Ososki said. “This is just digging a hole.”
Mason Walters, treasurer of the Apple Valley Republican Party, mentioned a quote by football coach Lou Holtz, who said you need to ask two questions: Can I trust you? and what can you do for me?
“I think the people of Apple Valley don’t have a sense of trust in our town officials. And that meeting demonstrated exactly why,” Walters said. “Right now, we’re questioning the integrity of the entire town council. That is not good for our community. I think that the citizens, at least the ones I’ve talked to, feel that this was predetermined. It was a forgone conclusion to elect Dale Beddo.”
The animosity between some Apple Valley citizens and Beddo has deep roots that were grown by a document compiled and distributed by Shamim Monshizadeh, a citizen who spoke at the special meeting via Zoom.
The document lists a public records search that details no less than 20 bankruptcies and lawsuits Beddo has allegedly been party to.
“There are some who have questioned me and my ability because of my financial past, because I filed bankruptcy four or five years ago and that that should disqualify me,” Beddo said, adding that filing for bankruptcy is an unfortunate tool that many Americans have to employ. He and his family used that tool when the nationwide recession struck years ago.
“I understand that’s public record, I’m fully aware of that,” said Beddo. “Is it something you’re proud of? Of course not. Is it something that embarrasses you? Of course it is.
“What my challenge is when you take that information and you use it to browbeat other people or to discredit them, I think we have enough of that in Washington,” he added. “I don’t think we need it in Apple Valley.”
The public comment portion of the special meeting was moved from the bottom of the agenda, where it normally is, to the top.
Some in the audience said this caused confusion among the public, with people saying they didn’t know when they were allowed to speak or even if they were, and therefore they felt shut out by the council.
Beddo apologized for that confusion and reopened the meeting for public comment after the vast majority of the crowd had walked out.
“I know that the people of this valley are passionate about their town. That’s one of the things I like about this town, and the reason I’m here is because I’m passionate about this valley,” Beddo said. “While I may find myself on the opposite side of the other person’s particular agendas, I certainly applaud their passion. I’m the same way.”
Beddo, who intends to maintain his pursuit of the interim mayor position, made a plea for a return of civil discourse.
“When you have an individual who’s made mistakes, I think you have a responsibility to that individual to go sit down and talk to him,” Beddo said. “I think it’s responsible citizenship to do that. And I would just like to encourage the people to be more neighborly and friendly. Try to be kinder.”
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