Fisking Carl Johnson

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.

Also blogged on this date . . .

10 thoughts on “Fisking Carl Johnson”

  1. You got me on that one – I DID in a previous letter misstate the origin of the $64,500. However, please don’t fall into the trap of distortion that you accuse me of. I corrected that assertion in a letter dated 5/4/09, where I succinctly stated that the money came from “the state’s Rental Rehab program”.

    Yes, even I do make an error once in a while. 😉

    What is disturbing is that Emil’s reply was regarding the most recent letter, but he accuses me of lying on this matter where I stated facts. These facts were obtained from documents obtained by OPRA request, by the way.

    What is even more disturbing is the outright lie that “we have never received a single loan from the UEZ” when I am holding in my hands the payment schedule from two of those loans he “never received”.

    And even more disturbing is that fact the he did acknowledge not paying on one loan. The only reason he paid, I maintain, is that I filed an OPRA request on his loans, and Lew Thompson, Millville City Clerk notified Emil to pay so the city could inform me that all loans had been paid.

    Is that the sort of integrity that we need in city hall?

    Anyway – thanks for thinking of me!
    Carl

  2. I corrected that assertion in a letter dated 5/4/09, where I succinctly stated that the money came from “the state’s Rental Rehab program”.

    Will you kindly provide a link to that letter? I cannot find it.

    The letter you state that has not been published has been sitting on the NJ.com server for hours . . . published at 4:06PM.

  3. Carl is a republican. Yes, not the current Sean Hannity type that runs the party. In fact I WAS a registered republican back in 1979 and I supported John Anderson, John Heinz and have voted for Arlen Spector. I voted for the local Republicans cause they were independent and would open up County Govt. If Mr Johnson told outright lies, Millville First (nee: Paul Porecca) would have suied him to the next century. Yes, he is bombastic but he tells it like it is and REALLY cares about Millville.
    I think it should be Bi-partison to want to make “INVESTMENTS” to the downtown. Now I am biased since my family has invested our hard earned money in this town. We have an art gallery. Good Day sir

  4. “The letter you state that has not been published has been sitting on the NJ.com server for hours . . . published at 4:06PM”

    NJ.com is publishing letters online now? If so, then the letter to which I refer, and to which Emil responded should be online… however I can’t even find today’s letter online.

    I get paper copies of the newspapers – I love technology as well as the next guy, but there is just something about holding print in your hands when you read!

    I guess that would be another conservative point in my favor – inability to move forward… :-p

    Oh – and another reason I am Repub is that I oppose non-nonsensical and ineffective gun control laws. Almost every elected Dem is a gun grabber, while refusing to address the real issues of gun crime, which is a failed social experiment and stress on political correctness!

  5. I cannot, in good conscience, vote for any landlord for our city commission. I’m sorry, but as a life-long resident I have seen the negative impact that rental units have had on this city.

    In a city with 27,000 people, there are more than 5,000 rental units. I’d surmise that at least half of the city’s population lives in rental units, most of them section 8. Now, I don’t have a problem with a person using section 8 to get back on their feet, but this is cleary not the case. Take a drive through center city or the third ward. Renters, typically, have no pride in their community and why should they? They have nothing invested in it.

    If Emil Van Hook wants a vote in this or future elections, he needs to dump the slumlord aspect of his business. Truthfully, that’s what it is.

  6. NJ.com is publishing letters online now? If so, then the letter to which I refer, and to which Emil responded should be online… however I can’t even find today’s letter online.

    It may be, but I sure can’t find it. I like documentation. It goes a long way to keeping people in line. You made a claim that you never referred to UEZ money. That was false. That was the point of this post. Other than your word, you have offered nothing to refute the claim.

  7. Several days later, there is still no documentation to the claim the mistake was corrected.

    I use one’s character on one issue to evaluate his position on others. Johnson has no credibility on his claim that he never said Van Hook took the $64,500 loan from UEZ. He did.

    In light of that and his subsequent claim that he corrected the mistake publicly that has not be proved, how can one accept Johnson’s claim on anything?

    One’s credibility, particularly online, is a trait that is meaningful. Johnson tosses it about recklessly. Given that, he should be ignored, even now when he steps up in public fora. There is no reason to consider anything he spews.

  8. You are hyperventilating as you cast aspersions on Johnson. I mean, you are really hammering hard to prove your point. The guy throws out a ton of information, one item may not incorrect or misinterpreted, and all of a sudden everything he says is a lie. You like the game “gotcha”? Then you really should join Millville First.

  9. Then he should man up when called on it. He has yet to produce that apology he stated here he had issued.

    When one argues the way Johnson does, all another can do is verify the accuracy of his statements. He was wrong and he has not owned up to it. It is fair to dismiss anything such a person says when he flies in the face of facts.

    Sorry you do not agree.

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