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Truth and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Well, let’s get right to it. The words that Williamsport’s City Council President Mr. Bill Hall spoke in referencing me, claiming that I apologized to him in the name of “political personal destruction and smears, lies, innuendos and half truths,” is the farthest thing from fact.

Nico Salvatori picked up Mr. Hall’s comments in covering the Williamsport Lycoming County Council of Republican Women’s Luncheon. In good faith he accepted Mr. Hall’s comments as accurate. Nico does a fine job for the Sun Gazette and is a young up and comer in the journalistic world. Mr. Bernie Oravec, Sun Gazette Publisher, was as professional as he always is when I went to discuss the matter. He understood my concerns of his deception and my reputation. He offered space within the pages of our daily for me to tell the truth. I declined but was grateful for his understanding.

Sounds like I took this pretty good right? I did not, I failed terribly at first. I was madder than blazes; my thoughts were only of self. A rebuttal, avenging my name and a torrid article about Mr. Hall.

See, Mr. Hall emailed me to sit down with him. His wife showed up shortly after we began talking. I was not made aware Mr. Hall’s wife would be attending; it was to be man-to-man so to speak. I informed the Halls I had some tough questions and didn’t want to offend or upset anyone. I had no problem with this change. It was made clear the meeting was entirely off the record. I also offered the Halls some personal advice of what I would do if I was in Mr. Hall’s shoes. There was never anything that could even be misconstrued as an apology. Not to mention I guess the “off the record” part doesn’t apply to Mr. Hall.

I did investigate Mr. Hall’s sexual assault allegations, PFA, sending of lewd photo messages and accusations of drug abuse prior to the sit down. Please understand these are just allegations, he has not been charged. I never made any promise to Mr. Hall about not writing; he should worry more about the ongoing criminal and civil investigations than my column.

As far as the “Politics of personal destruction,” he does a fine job of doing this to himself without anyone’s help. His allegations of me engaging in this tactic, ridiculous, I never would.

So, you can see why I was outraged. Hotter than a hornet on a hot summer day. As I was just about to get out of my car and head into the Sun Gazette the phone rang. It was Mr. Randy Allison. He listened to my rant; he provided me a sounding board. He showed me the light, or allowed me to find it.

See, I was being tested and failed. The test was about; have I matured enough not to take the bait, “the red meat” as my father called it. To handle this matter in a Christian manner and not to make it about self. To look past the obvious and not fall in to the trap of using my tongue or pen to create more opportunity for Mr. Hall’s benefit.

So after my conversation with Mr. Allison and some reflection, I prayed for a do over, a retest, and for understanding.

After much thought I realized it was not about me at all, I was being used. It was about Mr. Hall’s disrespect of women. An alleged victim, a wife, the ladies on City Council and all of the ladies who host and attend the GOP Women’s Luncheon. These ladies take great pride in the event. Mr. Hall tried to use all in attendance for his own personal agenda. This was not the venue for most of his words, it is intended to be a positive event.

As I thought about what has occurred over the past week almost everyone who reached out to me was a lady. They seem to truly know my heart and also how I would be upset about the comments. I would be honored to share their names but I do not want to involve them. I will though say thank you to Mrs. Patti Cohick. I don’t know if I ever spoke to her prior to this event but she was a blessing. Thanks to all for thinking of me.

This got me thinking about all the women in my life. I am blessed to have so many ladies that help and support me. I will have more on this come Mother’s Day.
Other good that came from the situation last week was I had an opportunity to sit down with Liz Miele and Bonnie Katz, business owners and City Council members.
Liz could be a soul sister to my youngest sister Morgan. Both are young and vibrant, both are very intelligent and both are liberal democrats. Morgan and I have some interesting conversations at the Webb family table. She graduated from the NYU School of liberalism and she works for those that don’t have a voice by creating unions.
What is truly great in America is that Morgan and I can agree to disagree and love each other. Morgan and Liz provide a younger generation’s view and make sure republican politics don’t run amuck. This is most important and Liz provides this balance in Williamsport. I should introduce the pair, I’m sure they would get along. I would not engage in political discussions though, I would get clobbered by the pair.

I’ve known Bonnie Katz for years but haven’t spoken with her until recently. As Bonnie and I talked we realized we have much in common. Bonnie is Irish and was raised in a staunch democratic household in the Wilkes-Barre area. I spent much time at my Pappy Maietta’s, who was tight with the Democratic Party at the same time.
The Irish and the Italian Catholic immigrants like her Dad and my Grandfather were very loyal to the Democratic Party at this time in American history. It was a way to have their voice heard. We shared some of the same household experiences, as her Father and my Pappy were strict and believed in sharing their belief in their political party. This is why Bonnie told me she is Republican with a laugh and smile.

Bonnie provides City Council a person dedicated to Downtown and making sure the business owners’ voices are heard. She too provides an important aspect of City government.

It is a blessing to hear from so many ladies each and every week that share their thoughts and stories. I thank all for taking the time to reach out to me. I will continue to provide the articles that you have come to enjoy. Please if there is anything you would like me to write about or look into, get a hold of me.

I encourage all men to take a look around and give credit to the women in your lives. Honor, love and respect who they are and what they do. They have made America great in so many ways. Women can be anything they want to be in today’s world and should take advantage of this opportunity. Most importantly they are the mothers of our children that are truly America’s future.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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