Letter – Fawcett continues to show disdain for citizens

Published 6:02 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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Instead of being proud of the engaged residents Suffolk is lucky to have, Councilmember Roger Fawcett sees fit to tell people who show up to get involved in their city to “get a life.” Working to change things is a part of many good citizens’ lives, and when he sought to hold public office, listening to those people and working towards making our city a better place to live for everyone should have become part of his too.

I was not an eyewitness, but I read the SNH article on Mr. Fawcett’s remarks at the second 2045 Comprehensive Plan community engagement meeting and listened to several reports from those who attended. As one of the organizers of the hundreds of Suffolk residents who sought to stop the rezoning of the Williams Farm property to heavy industrial for the Port 460 project, it is clear to me that his remarks grew out of his frustration and anger that residents were so determined to save the city they love from the bad decision of five city council members that they were able to bring it to Suffolk Circuit Court.

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While Port 460 opponents were showing up this summer at city council meeting after meeting and taking every opportunity we could to educate our neighbors as well as city council members of the implications of such a rezoning decision, many of us continued to go to our jobs, care for our families, and meet the demands of our daily lives. Fighting City Council wasn’t what we wanted to do over our summer and then into fall, but we did it for all the Suffolkians, current and future, who can recognize a bad thing when they see it.

Mr. Fawcett showed his disdain for citizens during that time too, often talking down to them after public hearings and speaker time had ended and belittling the hours of work they put into researching the issues associated with the massive Port 460 proposal, doing the work that clearly he had not done.

His recent actions demonstrate that his attitude towards citizens has not changed and he lacks the vision required to lead the development of a visionary plan. His attempts to portray the incident as simply “lively debate” are false; there was no debate, just Mr. Fawcett running his mouth and ruining the bit of progress city staff members had made to improve relationships with the citizens they serve.

I agree with Dr. Sherri Johnston, who called for his removal from his position as the chair of the 2045 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. Clearly, he is not the right person for the job.

Denise M. Murden