Why did Mountain X‘s writer [”The Long Goodbye,” Jan. 9] attempt to intimidate Reid Thompson by publishing his official criminal background information?
Who inspired Jonathan Barnard, the writer of the article surveying Reid Thompson’s battle with Greenlife Grocery, to include Mr. Thompson’s criminal-records information? I don’t see that his record is pertinent to his complaints against Greenlife Grocery at any level.
If people at Greenlife Grocery were afraid of him, you would think they would have settled with him and corrected the UDO mistake, OK’d by the Asheville City Council. Instead, the writer has attempted to paint Mr. Thompson as a garden-variety criminal who is simply, obviously, getting into another pushing match.
Instead, what you might want to know is something that a former employee (he was reportedly fired over this) told me: Greenlife does not do the recyclying that you think it does (swoon).
As a mental-health advocate and activist, and someone who is acquainted with the strategy of dragging the skeletons out of a closet in order to intimidate and shut up someone, information is not just information. Rather the parlaying of information serves a purpose—and in this case it appears to serve the purpose of rendering Mr. Thompson, whom I have never met, as a person who is a petty criminal who, by God, should just sit quietly and deal with the tractor-trailer trucks pulling up next to his house at 5 a.m.
Mr. Thompson answered a query to myself and Cecil Bothwell, a former reporter and editor for Mountain X … indicating that he had followed Shannon Tuch, currently the temporary director of the Asheville City Planning Department, down a stairwell after a meeting in order to quickly get to his water-volleyball game, for which he was late. This apparently was the event that prompted Mr. [Bob] Oast, the city attorney, to place an injunction on Mr. Thompson being able to come into the city’s buildings without an escort or calling ahead of time. Yes, he has been very vocal about the violation of his quietude, a matter which is supposed to be protected by the city’s UDO.
I can appreciate that city employees want to feel safe. According to the article, the city should have advantaged Mr. Thompson by utilizing a restraining order that would have given Mr. Thompson the possibility of a rebuttal before a judge. The city chose a more permanent, punitive way to keep Mr. Thompson away and Mountain X has chosen to publish admittedly public information about Mr. Thompson which is an attempt to dismiss him as an irascible, petty criminal who has no right to a quiet household.
— Marsha Hammond
As Senior Editor Peter Gregutt responded last week regarding this story: The intent was not to undermine Mr. Thompson’s credibility but to give readers the full story and then let them draw their own conclusions, as Ms. Mansell has done. Judging by the lively discussion on the Xpress Web site, however, other readers are interpreting this information differently. That includes Thompson himself, who wrote: “I believe the reason for printing the arrest record was to show that over the past three plus years I have been harassed by Greenlife owner [sic] and the city of Asheville for pointing out the obvious violations. … Thank you mountain express”
Journalism necessarily involves a great many judgment calls. In my judgment, it would have been irresponsible not to include this information in the story; readers are free to disagree.