ity Councilman John Cantey wants what Jerry Stephens has, the District 1 seat on the county Board of Commissioners. So we don’t expect Cantey and Stephens to be Facebook friends, but we also don’t expect them to disrespect their offices by acting like children in public.
We will work hard to straddle the fence on this matter, as an election is up ahead, and we don’t want these words to sway a single vote in either direction. So we will begin by saying both men acted poorly during a public confrontation on the first day of the county Board of Commissioners retreat on Wednesday at the county Emergency Operations center.
Cantey, who has made it public that he will file for the District 1 seat when the filing period beings Feb. 13, says he attended the retreat to brush up on some of the issues facing the county; as a citizen, he certainly has that right, and as a candidate, his attendance leans more toward duty. Things apparently went wacky when Cantey was taken to a “break room” by board Chairman Noah Woods, who was providing a tour of the new county building, where the commissioners were gathered for snacks and a sip of a soda.
Stephens questioned why Cantey was in the break room — and things rolled downhill from there.
Stephens insists he was only joking, trying to bring levity to what could have been an awkward moment. We can’t read his mind, but others in the room, including a reporter for this newspaper, didn’t think what unfolded was that big a deal.
Cantey insists otherwise, saying that Stephens embarked on an extended verbal tirade, that he felt threatened, and that’s why he called this newspaper.
We believe Stephens should have either ignored his political adversary or feigned a warm greeting, and Cantey’s mistake was taking the deal, whatever its size, and making it bigger with a call to The Robesonian.
We obliged with a story, and it was probably well-read. That said, we think the public would be much better served if the sparring was over the many matters that affect the lives of 140,000 Robesonians, and that those words be delivered civilly, and without the drama.
There’s plenty of time before the November General Election for that to happen.