Navarre Press frequently receives letters to the editor and we print them. It is a chance for citizens of Navarre and Santa Rosa County to speak their mind – about whatever is on their mind. Letters to the editor are also part of our mission statement – to be a voice for the voiceless. It is often a way for someone to express opinions; and the great thing about an opinion is it is neither right nor wrong. As constituents, the residents of this county are charged with making their opinions known so that their representatives can make informed decisions on behalf of the people who put them in office. As a newspaper, we are charged with holding the elected officials accountable and to also let them know we are watching. It’s not “gotcha journalism” – it’s ensuring that everyone follows the rules and that our taxpayer dollars are guarded and spent thoughtfully and wisely.
This week we received a letter to the editor by someone who writes to us frequently, but whom we have never met. We don’t always agree with what he writes, but that is never a criterion for getting the letter published. We celebrate all opinions and believe that everyone has a right to be heard. This gentleman, Gilbert Cichy, who, by the way, is a retired Air Force master sergeant, also emailed his letter to Commissioner Rob Williamson. The letter addressed some decisions made by Williamson so rather than just sending it for publication, he extended a courtesy copy to Williamson.
Rather than answering Mr. Cichy’s email, Williamson took it to his public Facebook page where he has placed the Santa Rosa County Seal – and addressed Mr. Cichy as a “knucklehead” and called him “delusional.” The kicker is – if we had not sent this Facebook post of Commissioner Rob Williamson’s to Mr. Cichy – he would have never seen it. Commissioner Rob Wiliamson never had the courtesy to send his response to him. Instead he just put it out on his Facebook page and publically ridiculed Mr. Cichy – and dragged others into his snide remarks.
Mr. Cichy’s letter is published below and Rob Williamson’s complete response is as follows:
Please join me in congratulating the newly elected President of the Rob Williamson Fan Club, Mr. Cichy. (Rhymes with “preachy.”) This knucklehead regularly sends me “hate-mail” and I never post it but thought I would pass this one along because it is proof of the progress underway in our community.
If his name looks familiar, it’s probably because the Navarre Press consistently publishes his delusional commentary in its “letters to the editor.” (See Jan 21st)
This letter is another obvious sign of the success we are having together building the community we want and deserve not settling for the community we have been getting.
Those who have held Holley/Navarre back for so long with their “our community is circling the toilet bowl” message are coming unhinged. We are winning. Our community is improving. You see it, I see it and the keepers of the status quo like Cichy & Ms. Kemp see it too and they are freaking out.
The moment they sense our community coming together, improving, sharing a profound and unifying experience together like the Remember the Blackhawk events, they leap into action and try to convince us not to believe what we are seeing with our own eyes.
Every time you, a competing news source or I post an update, the protectors of the status quo tell us Facebook is bad and cannot be trusted and one week old news is good.
When it’s obvious the Tough Mudder event will be another huge success, they try to distract us and talk about parties not being big enough.
When we have the best year in SRC Tourism history, they publish a story about our director interviewing for a job.
Next up will probably be a report about travel expenses. After all, it has been one year since the “Williamson goes to Washington” hatchet piece was published.
We begin Hwy 98 beautification and double the annual beautification/maintenance budget and they go on a Pensacola radio show and attack me.
Add it all up and what does it mean???
We are winning! We are winning back our community and this is just the start. During the the next twelve months there will be more incredible progress, more improvements and more opportunities for you to participate and help shape your community.
How can I be so confident we are heading in the right direction?
There is evidence everywhere you look and this past week was a prime example.
This was an amazing week for Holley/Navarre because the best of who we are was on display everywhere. We witnessed members of our community looking for ways to be of maximum service to others, looking for ways to comfort others and pitch in and help wherever they could.
Weekends like this one don’t happen by accident. It took so many selfless acts of volunteerism and collaboration to coordinate the events that took place this weekend and it was inspiring to be a part of.
Let’s keep fighting for our community and telling it like it is. We are getting better every day and you can see it, you can feel it.
Let’s do this!
Commissioner, you have been delusional for some time and we believe you to be the “knucklehead.” Please – look up psychological projection – because this happens a lot when you dress people down on your Facebook page.
You took credit for the hotel being built on Navarre Beach. We say thank you to our Former County Commissioner Jim Melvin – he is the reason the hotel is being built on the beach. You take credit for the beautification happening on U.S. Highway 98. Fact is, a citizen, Laurie Gallup came up with the idea and applied for the grant and won the grant. She turned it over to you after you became county commissioner because that is where it belongs – with the county. What did you have to do with any of it? District 2 Commissioner Bob Cole is actually the one at the last meeting who stepped in for the beach leaseholders, advocating another look be taken at available funds that could be used prior to assessing their share of the renourishment. Our own commissioner didn’t. You have taken quite the stand on the courthouse, saying in a commission meeting what voters needed to know prior to those comments: Vote for LOST or receive an MSBU to pay for the courthouse. The courthouse is now slated to be built in a flood area on Pine Street in downtown Milton. District 2 Commissioner Bob Cole also stood up for the Navarre Beach Beatification Committee and said he didn’t know how it got to the point of them resigning, and you said you “took exception to that.”
Of course, when people oppose your view, they are referred to as a “knucklehead” or as spreading unsubstantiated negativity. We are not being negative Commissioner; we are standing up for our community. We are standing up for those who are afraid to voice their opinion for fear of being called names by you or being publicly ridiculed. Not everything you touch turns to gold, not every speech you make woos your constituents into rolling over for you – although there are some who think you walk on air. We will continue to speak up, we will continue to speak for what is right and we will continue to make sure all of local government is doing the work of the people.
So as you stand on your pedestal and brag about all you have accomplished for District 4, please remember your own comment at the Black Hawk Memorial when you said, “It’s never about getting the credit – it is about getting the job done.”
Instead – it seems that you are focusing on your other comment in the same speech – when you said to our distinguished visitors that Navarre is a “dysfunctional community.”