An “ugly little mess” has bitterly divided the Star Valley council, after Mayor Bill Rappaport wrote a letter supporting gun control on town stationery.
The issue won’t make tonight’s agenda, which will focus mostly on a proposed settlement of a dispute between Star Valley and the Hellsgate Fire Department about maintaining fire hydrants and fire pumps.
However, council member Paty Henderson’s objection to Rappaport’s endorsement of gun control measures in a letter posted on a national Web site has roiled the council.
Rappaport has dismissed the dust-up, saying that he wrote the letter as a private citizen who is also a mayor. He said he wasn’t trying to bury the issue by not putting it on the agenda — just postponing the discussion to a less busy meeting.
However, an April 12 e-mail circulated by Henderson and others said: “This message is really important, and needs to be read and then forwarded to as many local Rim Country, Star Valley and Arizona residents as possible. Local residents who object to what has transpired particularly should try to attend the below meeting on April 16th in Star Valley.
“Bill Rappaport, Mayor of Star Valley, Arizona, without approval from the Star Valley Council or the Town Manager/attorney, unilaterally took it upon himself to send a letter on Town stationery to Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, founder and promoter of the so-called “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (MAIG) organization — a draconian ‘gun-control’/victim disarmament organization and to link the town of Star Valley and himself as its Mayor as supporters of MAIG.
“The below message is from Paty Henderson, duly elected Star Valley Council member (mailed Thursday, April 11).
“I would like to see as many SV people as possible at the council meeting on the 16th to voice their opinion. In spite of the fact that three council members had asked for the issue concerning the council’s position concerning ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ IN WRITING, the following occurred: The pre-agenda meeting for the April 16th council meeting was held this morning (April 10th) with Mayor Rappaport, Vice-Mayor Newland, and Council Member Hartwell attending. After discussion, the members of the pre-agenda meeting decided to not place on the April 16th agenda the issue concerning the council’s position concerning ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns.’ It was suggested that this be placed on a future council agenda.”
This reporter could not reach Henderson for comment. However, Henderson did speak with Roundup editor Pete Aleshire.
“It’s an ugly little mess. This is the latest in a long string of improprieties by the mayor. I resent that he implies the whole council favors this. This is underhanded. We elected a mayor not a king.
“At times, if something is important we’ll make a written request (to have it on the agenda). There were three written requests. We had an e-mail from Hartwell, Rappaport and Del Newland (saying it would not be on the agenda).”
Asked to comment on Henderson’s complaint, Rappaport said it was a non-issue. He said he belongs to at least four mayoral organizations, including the one mentioned in Henderson’s e-mail.
He said he has sent a letter of support for gun control as a private citizen to the White House and he also supports the efforts on behalf of gun control made by of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly.
Rappaport said the three council members decided not to put the issue on the already crowded April 16 agenda. He said the issue will appear on the May 7 agenda.
The Star Valley Town Council will meet at 6:10 p.m., Tuesday, April 16 at the Lamplighter RV Park rec room, 3933 E. Highway 260 in Star Valley.
Items slated for discussion tonight include:
• Discussion and possible action regarding maintenance, upkeep, and costs of the fire system, fire pump and hydrants.
• Discussion, public hearing and possible action regarding selection of Community Development Block Grant (“CDBG”) projects for FY 2013/2014.
• Discussion and possible action regarding the Selection Committee’s recommendation of an engineer for to upgrade the Milky Way Well Site Project.