Stirring up Conflict in the Community

Ms. Barrentine’s track record of stirring up discord and division on council is well known, but the problem is actually much worse than that. Ms. Barrentine has been actively inciting conflict between neighbors, between neighboring businesses and between residents and city staff.

In order to do this, Ms. Barrentine will either find or manufacture a grievance between two parties in the community. Then she’ll take the side of whichever party is the loudest and angriest. Then she’ll do whatever is in her power to attack the other side regardless of legal or ethical boundaries. Her unethical tactics include personal attacks, false accusations and treating gossip and hearsay as fact. She will make accusations against constituents and businesses in her district from the dias or in study sessions, publicly slandering people she is supposed to be representing. She has circumvented the chain of command to unduly influence city staff in direct violation of the charter.

This is malfeasance of the highest order. Of course, she doesn’t often win these battles, but they are very costly to the city in terms of time wasted, growing discord, distrust, and unrest in the community.

Many residents of District 3 are fed up with the fighting and division. At the same time, the few residents Ms. Barrentine has sided with seem to see her as a kind of savior. A responsible council member initiates inquiries on a constiuent’s behalf through the City Manager’s office so as not to exercise undue influence on Code Enforcement and other city departments. Ms. Barrentine should do the same; she does not. Instead, she attempts to exercise undue influence to curry favor with a small but vocal minority of angry people, who in turn defend her (often using the same attack tactics she does) and speak of her with genuflecting reverence.

That is exactly the kind of conflict we don’t need. The growing sense of anger and discontent in Englewood, and especially in District 3, has to end. We need to replace Ms. Barrentine with a council member who will lead District 3 toward a culture of mutual respect, dialog and decency.

 

 

 

 

Violating the Charter: Code Enforcement

Suppose you had a dispute of some kind with your neighbor — tree branches overhanging, trash cans left out too long, whatever. Would you want your neighbor to be able to call up your city council member and get them to influence Code Enforcement to take sides against you?

Of course not. We need Code Enforcement officers to remain impartial, not unduly influenced by city politicians, and for exactly that reason, the Englewood city charter does not allow individual council members to direct city employees like code enforcement officers or police.

Ms. Barrentine regularly violates the charter in this way, exercising undue influence on behalf of one citizen against another.

For example:

On 02/23/18 Councilmember Barrentine called the Englewood non-emergency line
to request the assistance of a Code Enforcement Officer in filing a complaint.
Council Member Barrentine and Mr.Walker met code Enforcement on the 3600
Block of S Sherman. A report was generated and pictures were taken with the
Reporting Party listed as Council Member Barrentine.
Each of the registered owners in violation expressed a level of frustration regarding
this complaint. Each property owner pointed to the City as a contributing factor for the violations.

You can read the entire memo here.

Paragraph 32 of the Englewood city charter directly prohibits this.

Powers expressly withheld from Council. Council shall deal with the administrative service solely and directly through the City Manager, and neither the Council, its members nor committee shall either dictate the appointment or direct or interfere with the work of any officer or employee under the City Manager, either publicly or privately. Attempted dictation, direction or interference on the part of any member of the Council shall be deemed misconduct.