In my on-going coverage of Mount Vernon, WA's mayor's decision to give Glen Beck the key to the city and declare a day in his honor, I finally have some good news to report! Apparently, the Mayor is just about the only person insane enough to think this is a good idea! Backlash keeps growing, and coverage is sweeping the nation. And the press definitely is having trouble finding anyone who can get on camera to support the event.
"The timing is probably unfortunate with everything that's going on," said Kristen Whitener, director of Mount Vernon's Chamber of Commerce. Her phone had been ringing, too.
"We've gotten phone calls from people who are very upset. People are threatening not to shop here, things like that," she said. "I think it's unfortunate that some of the phone calls we're getting from people are being negative to Mount Vernon because of it. I hope they would understand that one decision by one person doesn't reflect everybody.
"I hope that it won't put us in a negative light," she said of the city, about 60 miles north of Seattle with a population of about 33,000.
Huffington Post quickly picked it up, getting positive coverage. The article is scathing, poignant and hilarious. I highly suggest a read. Then the real crazy hit the fan as none other than Drudge began linking to the KOMO news story. Even he felt this was important, though who knows for what reasons.
Of course, not all news is good news. The more conservative blogs are starting to pick up on this story as well. As Alamo City Pundit shows, you can't please everybody, every time. I suppose there's just a magical tipping point to where protesters create a response (though I know it's likely hard for Alamo to count, any and all videos I've seen show FAR more than 3 protesters). I'm certain that, were they holding tea party signs, it'd be a HUGE protest with IMPORTANT POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS. Instead, we'll just keep getting coverage.
But really, the most important part of the news is all broken down in that Seattle Times article -- and quote -- at top. Economically, Mount Vernon is getting scared. We're hitting them where they do their most thinking. The Chamber is frightened, six of seven city council members refused free tickets to the event, and the Mayor's office was so inundated with calls they had to reroute them one day.
So thank you all. This is making large inroads and impacts. I don't know if the key can be stopped from being handed out at this point, but I'm doing everything in my power to see that it likely doesn't, and that the Mayor goes down with his ship.
As always, here's contact information. Please, take a moment to contact the city and explain that this sort of hate does not belong in the city.
phone: (360) 336-6211
fax: (360) 336-0623
Or, more importantly, if you're from Washington or Mount Vernon, consider contacting the mayor's office or the office of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and inform them that if this key is handed out, you'll be spending your money elsewhere next Tulip Festival. Show them that advertiser dollars are where it matters.
phone number: 360-428-5959
executive director Cindy Virge: firstname.lastname@example.org
assistant director Nancy Jankelson: email@example.com
Thank you for your time.
UPDATE: WHOA! REC LIST! Never expected that! Thank you all so much, I really think we have this. I would like to add one caveat: The businesses of Mount Vernon are already hurt in this economic time and they unanimously rejected $10k from Glen Beck's people. Hurting them is not a dig at the city, but small business. Balance protest with consideration for those who are caught up in this but still trying to make a living.
Update2: They're hardly even answering phones in city hall anymore! We've effectively shut down their entire operation because of their bullheaded decisions!