Councilman Dillard has made good on his commitment to provide a response to Wildwood Matter's story that referenced his running a Federal PAC.
Wildwood Matters is committed to honesty, accuracy and openness and is encouraged by Councilman Dillard's willingness to provide his perspective on the WWM blog.
CM Dillard's response is as follows:
Recently, Council Member Taylor published here an editorial calling me “Pac-Man: Kevin Dillard, Who Trashed Nominee Because of PAC Allegations Was Himself a Federal PAC Officer
First, for context, I did not “trash” Mikel Garrett. A review of the livestream will find me, and others who had various concerns about his views, calmly argue that we should wait until he was available in person to answer our questions. (A family emergency had taken Mr. Garrett away from town that evening.)
My point was that a position as important as a council seat should be carefully vetted. Because of his family emergency, my conversation with him before the meeting was short—it wasn’t the right time to delve into more detailed topics that I’d ordinarily address.
My one stated concern was his involvement in the Progress for Wildwood PAC. Specifically, I said that I have concerns about anyone who was involved in it, because I (and a great many others) considered it to be one of the most damaging, destructive, and divisive forces in Wildwood’s history. Voters soundly rejected it. I think the Council, and the residents, are owed the opportunity for Mr. Garrett to speak publicly and on the record about his involvement before being confirmed.
That is far from “trashing”. It’s simply exercising due diligence.
Regarding the argument for postponing his confirmation until the following meeting, when he could be there—why oppose that? What is there to hide? What is the detriment in allowing him the opportunity to speak for himself? After all, even if he had been confirmed that evening, he wouldn’t be representing citizens until the next meeting anyway, due to his absence.
Now, regarding Mr. Taylor’s “breaking news” that I was the treasurer of a federal political action committee, and by implication, that I’m a hypocrite for not voting for the Garrett nomination:
Yes, as part of my former job, I was treasurer of a federal political action committee. I've made no secret about this, and I actually referenced my experience in federal politics multiple times during the election last year. That PAC only gave to candidates for the United States House of Representatives and Senate, and for candidates for President. It had nothing to do with Wildwood, or even the State of Missouri, for that matter. And that is the point.
My questions about Mikel Garrett's involvement with the Progress for Wildwood PAC had to do with that specific PAC, and its damaging influence in Wildwood. Any scrutiny of my statements, verbal or written, will show that to be true. Surely Mr. Taylor knows that. To accuse me of hypocrisy on that point is willful ignorance at best. Publishing it without context is a perfect example of the type of hyperbole and personal attacks that cause citizens to lose trust in Wildwood’s government.
I didn’t call all PACs evil. I didn’t trash Mr. Garrett. I questioned his involvement in a very specific PAC. I did so out of a sincere desire to make an educated decision, exercising the judgment that voters demand. I don’t rubber-stamp decisions. I question. I challenge. I do so in order to protect the citizens from government intrusion, and to protect taxpayer dollars from being wasted. Every single city council member should do the same—accepting at face value dubious arguments about how we spend money or make decisions about development, or about the proper use of city resources, is dereliction of our duty.
The Mayor and his followers need to stop the petty personal and professional attacks on those who disagree with him. We need a sincere and intelligent debate about what is going on in Wildwood, without fear of being blasted online or at meetings, or threatened with lawsuits, simply for asking questions.
For those who think, or have been told by the Mayor, Mr. Taylor, and others, that I have acted “unprofessional” or “inappropriate”, I invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with examples of how you think I’ve done so. Don’t just believe the propaganda and the talking points. Ask those you hear that from for specific examples.
If questioning how the government is spending your money, subverting process, and abusing civil rights is called “unprofessional” or anything other than appropriate and necessary, then you might want to look at the people who are doing the name-calling and examine why they might want to trash the reputation of those who stand in their way.