I read with interest your April 18 story regarding the United Sanford Alliance ("United Sanford Alliance expands mission; Group plans 'Unity Celebration' for Saturday").
An organization dedicated to unity and changing "the nation's perception" of Sanford? That's nice. So too is the "Sanford Unity Celebration" that the group's founder, C.J. Blancett, promotes as a " ... super, super positive day for the citizens of Sanford."
Just one problem: this group that claims to promote unity and positivity is also sponsoring a recall of Sanford City Commissioners Velma Williams and Mark McCarty using language that is neither unifying nor positive.
Ms. Blancett, who declares herself an expert in conflict resolution, accuses Commissioner Williams of "ruling through fear" and "threats of retaliation." In the petition letter signed by Ms. Blancett on change.org, she says Commissioner Williams has used her position "in order to solicit and gain a partnership with other morally corrupt individuals." Ms. Blancett also writes, "We find that the unlawful and unscrupulous acts of Ms. Williams have proven detrimental to the citizens of Sanford."
During public comments at the April 9 Sanford City Commission meeting, a video of which was posted on Facebook and YouTube, Ms. Blancett “congratulated” Commissioner Williams “for her ability to systematically seek out and successfully solicit the assistance of other morally corrupt individuals within her circle of puppets.” She also figuratively cast a vote of incompetence for Commissioner Williams, Commissioner Mark McCarty and Mayor Jeff Triplett for their “vicious and cancerous ways.”
Is that the language of unity? Are those the words Ms. Blancett uses during her practice as a professional conflict resolution coach? If so, the organization that certified her as a specialist in conflicts and strategies should ask her to seek more training.
Ms. Blancett has the right to disagree with Commissioner Williams or any other elected official. She can speak her mind in any forum she chooses as bluntly as she pleases. She can also work to remove those officials from office through any legally available means. But spare me the claim that Ms. Blancett is an advocate of unity who is dedicated to promoting “super, super positive” events for the betterment of Sanford.
A large number of Sanford residents consider Commissioner Williams a respected leader in our community. As a professional conflicts resolution coach, Ms. Blancett should know that using inflammatory language to make unsubstantiated accusations alienates those who believe Commissioner Williams is doing a good job. You can’t unite an entire community when you dismiss the opinions of others as “vicious and cancerous.”
We as residents don't have to agree on all the issues to become a more unified community. But we should agree to reject self-appointed "unifiers" who talk out of both sides of their mouths. If Ms. Blancett truly seeks unity, she should take the advice printed on the $15 rubber band bracelets she sells on her conflict resolution web site (skilzforlife.com): "Be A Friend/Not A Bully."