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Guest column: What’s this Shell game?

By Mary Ponds and Bill Feather

In response to the Oct. 18 article “Write-in effort underway on behalf of former Granite Quarry Mayor Mary Ponds.”

Is Ed Shell the candidate or Mary Ponds?

This letter is in response to Ed Shell’s write-in campaign for Mary Ponds in the Granite Quarry mayoral election and how one person is trying to advance his personal agenda on a small town.

Mr. Shell and others tried to stop the SECU from choosing Granite Quarry for its new location. Their efforts to pressure the town and board to stop this project were not successful. In response to not succeeding, he has set out to disrupt the function of the town and the election process.

His efforts are not only vindictive but he is also misleading citizens with his comments. The intensive research performed by Mr. Shell has been slanted to fit his own agenda.

To set the record straight, we — former Mayor Ponds and current Mayor Feather — have and continue to work together and are in total support of all projects presently being discussed by the town board.

Two statements in particular from Mr. Shell are misleading: “Ponds doesn’t believe in intensive development of Granite Quarry, just to have a larger tax base.” And, “Our local town government over the past two years has been undergoing a transformation in which the emphasis has become one of the changing the character of the town to where there is an increased focus on attracting commercial development, creating new neighborhoods, and forcing standards and restrictions on the existing business as if there were some need for the little town of Granite Quarry to become a model village.”

We both believe growth is a good thing for Granite Quarry if planned in the correct way. The effort to revitalize the central business district, develop Granite Industrial Park, Business Park and a residential subdivision — many of which were planned prior to Mayor Ponds’ tenure — have continued through Mayor Feather’s administration.

Any investigation of town board minutes would have brought this to light.

The town manager position was initiated during the tenure of Mayor Ponds and Mayor Pro Tem Feather with the full intention of eliminating staff micromanagement by the Board of Aldermen. The town manager by state statute is responsible for town staff management. The town board appoints three positions: the town clerk, the town manager and the town attorney.

We have served continually together for several years and have always supported each other for the betterment of our town and will continue to do so in the future. Recent discussions have encouraged us to initiate a new Mayor’s Committee to work with citizen engagement.

The main objective of this letter is for clarity and understanding to enhance awareness, in a joint effort to eliminate the vindictive rhetoric, divisive efforts and motives to destabilize our community.

Elections are revered in American society. “Shell said he and other people advocating for Ponds are doing so as individuals and not a campaign committee,” the Post reported. All independent expenditures in excess of $100 are required to be reported to the Rowan County Board of Elections; to date, that has not been done.

We believe in the election process, following the requirements and taking the training, and we encourage others to do likewise.

Granite Quarry is better than this. We set the pace for others to follow.

Mary Ponds and Bill Feather are Granite Quarry’s former mayor and current mayor, respectively.

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