CORRIDOR CHRONICLE Opinion
Questions asked; NONE answered
The public has gotten to see Richwood’s dysfunctional city government at its best. The city’s police chief became the ultimate authority on when and whether a question is answered at the most recent council meeting. When Mayor Bob Henry Baber protested that his question had not been answered, the chief said, “asked and answered” twice before grabbing the mayor, pushing him up against the wall and then taking him to the ground to be handcuffed. First Amendment rights were apparently suspended in Richwood years ago, if they ever existed to begin with. But beyond that, the California representatives on council, Chuck Toussieng and Glen Weiler, did fantastic jobs of answering questions about their residencies that were never asked. It is safe to say the pair learned the art of misrepresenting the question very well. Weiler, who had been questioned about whether he serves in the ward he lives in, answered by going through a disjointed explanation of four possible addresses for his house. Given the ward boundaries, it is not important what “911” numbers the home; what IS important is which ward it is physically located in. But all Weiler, who lost to Baber for mayor by one vote, could talk about was the various possible addresses.
Toussieng was even better at deception. He took pains to point out that he spent his own money, not the city’s, to confirm with the Secretary of State’s “election manager” that he is registered as a Richwood voter. Nobody questioned that either. Instead, it was noted that based on his property taxes, Toussieng lives OUTSIDE Richwood town limits; not INSIDE as required. Toussieng went into a lengthy harangue about how payment of property taxes is no longer required to serve in public office in West Virginia. Of course it isn’t — and hasn’t been for decades. But, again, THAT WASN’T THE ISSUE. The issue is whether the man lives in Richwood or not. While they double-talked last week, the pair still left the citizens of Richwood without answers to the questions raised. In this case as well as the other, Council and Chief Cogar, the questions were all asked; but NONE were answered.