Local artist Carl Johnson is outspoken. He calls himself a Republican, but nothing I have read of his positions indicates anything conservative, although being Republican isn’t really about being conservative these days.
Johnson fancies himself informed about local politics. From what I can tell, he is doing his best to cause havoc with a municipal election less than a week away. Johnson’s modus operendi is to attack. There is nothing wrong with that in itself, but the style that is used is obfuscation. He throws so much craziness out there, there is no way to engage in meaningful debate. One would normally ignore such an attention whore, but when he shows up in meaningful contexts, he needs to be held accountable.
Yesterday in the Bridgeton News, Emil Van Hook (a favorite whipping boy of the artist) fisked Johnson pretty well. One of Johnson’s issues with the City Commission candidate is that he believes Van Hook received a $64.000 loan from the UEZ to improve his business. Johnson contends that Van Hook is anti-UEZ and therefore is a hypocrite for taking the loan. Van Hook responded:
2. The $64,500 he [Johnson] rants about, is ancient history, took place in 1990, 19 years ago, and had no connection to UEZ whatsoever.
Well, that should make it easy to figure out. Both are on record stating opposite sides. Either Van Hook did or did not get a UEZ loan for $64,500. Would a candidate for elected office lie in a newspaper when it can be so easily checked? My inclination is no, but I said a similar thing about a finger-wagging president in January 1998.
Johnson fired back today. This is where Johnson makes his mistake. His brashness discounts his credibility.
Emil calls the $64,000 grant to turn Fath’s into Section-8 rentals ancient history. As far as I know, those rentals still exist today. I stated that the money came from the state’s rental rehab programs, and at no time did I allude that this was UEZ. But true to form, Emil has to twist the facts. Why can’t he just stick to the truth? Is the truth too painful?
On 22 April 2009 The Daily Journal published a letter to the editor from Johnson. In it he wrote:
Emil Van Hook is running for Millville City Commission. The question that begs to be asked is just what exactly are his credentials? He took a highly successful business, Fath Department Store (I got my clothes from there when I was a kid), and turned it into apartments using a $64,500 Urban Enterprise Zone grant.
That’s not alluding, that is stating. Johnson’s own words strike down his claims.
If Johnson can so easily be dismissed with his own words, then can anything he states be believed?
For what it’s worth, while I am on record that I will probably vote for Van Hook on Tuesday, I never met the man, have not attended a Millville First meeting (unless one counts the Candidates Forum they hosted a few weeks ago that Johnson himself attended), or otherwise have had interaction with the candidate.
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