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.