Grinch - The Rest of the Story

Councilman Bryan's reply to a Cherokee Tribune editorial

Dear Editor,

So Rebecca you say, "It’s official — the Grinch has stolen Christmas in Canton this year". Really!? Are you serious!?

It's just a bunch of plastic light fixtures. It can be changed, swapped, and replaced. I've lost count of how many times the need to replace the Christmas lights has been discussed in Council meetings over the past 4 years.

Until this week, never, not one single time ever, has any citizen mentioned to me any preference, choice, or opinion about Christmas lights.

Last January the Canton Tourism Board and the Street Department started looking at replacement lights. The old ones were just worn out; literally held together with bailing wire and duct tape. Why the Tourism Board? The Christmas light money was in their budget because selection of Christmas lights is their responsibility. Why the Street Department? Maintenance and installation of the lights is their responsibility. Together, these two bodies recommended the selections that the City Council approved.

Now the Main Street Board Chairman Bill Grant is all bent out of shape because he was not consulted. Well Bill Grant attends most Council meetings. Assuming Bill Grant actually listens at the meetings between his yelling and booing, he was well aware of the situation. If this was such a big deal to the Main Street Board, why did the Main Street Director Ginger Garrard (annual salary $42,000 of your tax dollars) not say anything?

So Rebecca, do you remember how the Grinch story ends? Just when we think all is lost, what happens? Go watch the entire thing again. Be happy.

Merry Christmas, 

Bill Bryan

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Pat Porter Gold December 03, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Unfortunately, once again Mr. Bryan has some of his facts wrong. The trick he is so good at is that Mr. Bryan presents some facts and slips in errors that are taken as truth. Mr. Bryan knows little about the Canton Tourism board I sit on and has not taken the time to verify his statements concerning the actions of the board. There is more to the story but it has already become bigger and more negative than it should be. Good intentions have been vilified and all over Christmas decorations. I will agree with one statement made by Mr. Bryan; It is just a bunch of plastic light fixtures that can be replaced or possibly exchanged. See Mr. Bryan? We can agree on something. Not everything, but something.
Jeff Brown December 03, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I challenge you to prove that Bill Grant yells or boos at ANY council meeting. Pat and I can verify that he does not do that. Some others do but, he never has. Bill Grant has too much class for that. However, some members of council do not. I have seen many outburst by you Mr. Bryan...For example, the one where you went off on a rant about the 2 am poring and suggesting we just place a bar in City Hall. Then, the poem that you read at the last council meeting which was quite offensive and out of place. Please look at yourself before making statements about community leaders that are not deserved. Also, this is not about the Christmas lights and you still can't seem to comprehend that.
Bill Bryan December 03, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Pat which facts are you refering to? I did talk with three people who were present at the meeting last January where you guys selected the decorations. I do understand that the Tourism Board is a CITYWIDE board and the decorations are CITY decorations; not just downtown decorations. Personally I like the decorations and I think you did a good job in selecting them - that's why I voted (via Gene's famous "headnod") in favor of your Board's selection. So there's another thing we agree on. Yay!
Bill Bryan December 03, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Hey now that we have it out in the open I bet he won't do it any more. Making progress!
Pat Porter Gold December 03, 2012 at 11:15 PM
The Christmas light money was not in Tourism's budget and Christmas lights are not Tourism's responsibility. Those would be two of your incorrect statements. At the time of the initial request, Tourism did have funds available, but not budgeted for that project. Tourism did consider a request to pay for the Christmas lights, however, it is not Tourism's responsibility. No final decision was made, pending the possibility that the existing decorations could be repaired. You probably should have requested the minutes from the meeting in question, not relied on memory of a meeting that took place a year ago. And, no, Mr. Grant has never booed or yelled at a council meeting.
Bill Bryan December 04, 2012 at 02:15 AM
As you said, Tourism did originally have the money for the lights and later used it elsewhere. You can call it "budget" or not; that is irrelevant. Tourism had the money. Tourism made the selection. The Council then had to approve an amendment to the general budget to pay for the lights that Tourism had selected. And yes the light selection was Tourism's responsibility and Tourism fulfilled that responsibility in January and did not notify either Main St. or DDA - but Pat I'm not faulting Tourism for not notifying them. Nobody's blaming you or the Board. Had I been in your place I would not have thought about notifying them either - who would have guessed what a huge uproar it would cause? Your Board was just doing it's job. A bigger lesson to be learned from this is that ALL Boards and Committees related to economic development should work together via free flowing and open communication and even some joint meetings. You will find this to be the case in all cities with highly successful Economic Development Departments. You will also find that there is NOT EVEN ONE other city in Georgia where the Main St. Director is under the supervision of the part time Mayor. It just does not work and we will soon correct this problem.
Pat Porter Gold December 04, 2012 at 03:54 AM
As I said, you should have looked at the minutes of the meeting. Since you have not, you couldn't possibly know the facts and you have shown here that you do not. You are wrong on this one, Mr. Bryan. With nothing more to be said, I respectively leave the discussion.
Bill Bryan December 04, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Jeff a handful of folks have criticized my little poem. For the benefit of those who might have missed it, here it is again: "The election is over, the talking is done. My party lost, your party won. So let us be friends, let arguments pass. I'll hug my elephant, you kiss your ass." While my intent was to lighten the mood of the audience, and it did create some laughter (but no boos or yelling), in retrospect it would have been even funnier if I had paused at the end and substituted the word "donkey" for the word "ass". Ironically Jeff the poem was sent to me by a dear old family friend who was our next door neighbor when I was a kid.The lady is now 87 years old, living in Florida and still very active in the Democratic Party. She is as liberal as they come and I am as conservative as they come yet we are still friends.
Jeff Brown December 04, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Bill, you can write anything you want on here as it is an opinion section. But, when you are wrong, you are wrong. In this case you have proven to be wrong about many things. The lights were indeed picked out by the City Manager and the head the streets department. I am sure your deflection on Pat and slams on Bill Grant is helping your conscious. But, these claims are simply not true.
Etowahwah December 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Mr. Bryan's uncanny ability to pass the buck and reconstruct the "truth" to fit his unique sense of reality is alarming. He continues to attack and harass his constituents, including some of the most dedicated volunteers in the city. Canton citizens deserve better, so much better.
Jeff Brown December 04, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Yes Bill and how was it fitting for a non-partisan council and council meeting? It was simply uncouth. I am glad you posted it again for everyone to read. It just shows you really get it.
Bill Bryan December 04, 2012 at 06:07 PM
So which part of my poem did you not like, "so let us be friends" or "let arguments pass"? or both?
Bill Bryan December 04, 2012 at 06:25 PM
John I'm sorry you are down to baseless, non-specific dissing - the sign of a person out of facts. Maybe you should read my poem again too.
Jeff Brown December 04, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Those lines are okay in the poem...but not is not the sentiment and you know it. Although it is a very easily interchangeable poem. The election is over, the talking is done. My party won, your party lost. So let us be friends, let arguments pass. I'll hug your elephant, you kiss my ass. Either version is unacceptable for a City Council meeting and public forum.
Bill Bryan December 04, 2012 at 10:12 PM
From the Jaunary 11, 2012 Canton Tourism Board, Inc. minutes - written by Pat Gold: "Tourism members present agreed on the following: 32 - 8' Loop tree 20 - angel with trumpet from catalogue 21 - 8' Star Spray" "Also in attendance were Ginger Garrard and Pat (Trish) Fowler." Anyone who would like a complete copy of the entire minutes of this meeting can contact me.
Pat Porter Gold December 05, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Agreed on the following should repair of the existing decorations not be viable. Mr. Bryan, you are trying to make an issue of a non issue. You should certainly release the minutes in whole, not in part. We were trying to support the director of Public Works and all the work he had put into the proposal. Mr. Bryan, your behavior is starting to worry and even scare me a little. We have nothing to hide. We were walking the high road, you have just gone into the ditch. I'm actually worried about you.
Bill Bryan December 05, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I have no way at home to scan and send the document. Pat you have the whole document - can you publish it? Otherwise I will be glad to get a hard copy to whoever asks. Again, please understand, I am not faulting the Tourism Board. I would have done exactly the same thing that you guys did. The lights are CITY Christmas lights. The Tourism Board is the only CITY wide Board. It is just logical that you guys would make the recommendation. I am stepping up and taking my share of the heat on this - and I will do my part to fix it. Honestly I don't know what we could have done differently; again it was discussed numerous times in public Council meetings, Ginger and Trish were at the Tourism meeting where the selection was made and there was almost a year to spread the word. You did it right Pat and I am here to support you if you want to offer an alternative for next Christmas.
Bill Bryan December 05, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Pat, Today at the Tourism meeting I promised you that I would post the entire body of the January minutes. I have been trying to do that for the past two hours. Donna scanned it in the city scanner which automatically puts it in Adobe Reader and sent it to me. I cannot copy & paste it from Adobe to my word program to post it here. Donna is now trying to send it a different way. George will also try to send it to me another way when he gets back from Atlanta. If you have it in Word please just post it. I hope we made some progress today in the meeting. As I said I am willing to take my share of the heat on this and do everything in my power to fix it.
Pat Porter Gold December 05, 2012 at 09:56 PM
For those of you still following the saga of the Christmas lights, Please see the minutes from the January 11, 2012 Canton Tourism, Inc. meeting. We applaud the Director of Canton Public Works for the passion he shows each and every day to make Canton the beautiful town it is. Dave was truly excited about contributing to the Christmas spirit in Canton. Everyone might not agree with the choice of the lights, but surely everyone can agree with the intent.
Pat Porter Gold December 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Canton Tourism, Inc. Minutes January 11, 2012 (part one) Members present: Pat Gold, George Murphy, and Frances Vaughn. Members absent: Bill Magurder and Joyce Swindell. Ginger Garrard, Pat Fowler and David Cangemi also attended. President Frances Vaughn called this meeting to order at 1:30 PM for the purpose of a presentation and request for funding from David Cangemi, Director of Public Works. Mr. Cangemi is requesting that Canton Tourism, Inc. fund replacement of 73 city holiday pole decorations. The present pole decorations were purchased in 1993 and 1998 and are deemed to be beyond repair. Mr. Cangemi presented a suggestion of replacement decorations, consisting of five (5) designs, which would attach to 73 light poles throughout the downtown area. The designs included: 22 – 8’ loop tree 10 – 7’ double candy cane w/holly 20 – 8’ angel w/candle 13 – 7’ leaping buck 8 – 8’ star spray Total dollar amount: $19,950.50 (including trade-in/credit of our old décor The members present asked Mr. Cangemi if there was any way to repair the existing snowflakes and angels. Mr. Cangemi answered that they were severely damaged after years of use and doubted that repair was an option. Mr. Cangemi was asked to check on the repair viability and let our board know the result. All members agreed that we would prefer to repair and use the existing snowflakes and angels.
Pat Porter Gold December 05, 2012 at 10:01 PM
In the event that repair is not an option, and after much discussion, the members present recommended narrowing the number of designs down to three (3) and using those with white lights only. Mr. Cangemi showed the members a catalogue of possible designs from which to choose. Tourism members present agreed on the following: 32 – 8’ loop tree 20 – angel with trumpet from catalogue 21 – 8’ star spray The committee members thanked Mr. Cangemi for his time and hard work in preparing the proposal. He agreed to contact Universal Concepts for a revised cost, which we approximate will be about $13,795.00 for the replacement of 73 pole mounts and hardware. Tourism members discussed replacing old designs and mounts only at this time. A brief discussion also took place concerning the possible development of a winter carnival between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The minutes from the November 09, 2011 meeting were presented for approval. George Murphy shared that we have $59,000 in hand. Future costs to include: $15,000.00 for Fourth of July fireworks 7,500.00 for future façade grants 2,500.00 Mason façade grant already approved by the Main Street Board 5,000.00 pledged for Canton Festival of the Arts sponsorship Anticipated expenditures total $30,000.00 for the remainder of fiscal year. No further business at this time. The meeting adjourned at 2:25 PM. Submitted by: Pat Gold
Bill Bryan December 08, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Jeff didn't you ever learn that you are known by the company you keep? I will have to compliment you guys though after the last meeting. Much better. Good job!
john public December 09, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Zzzzz zzzzz
Change For Canton December 18, 2012 at 09:24 PM


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