Fayette Democrats ask commission to denounce Barlow comments

Fayette Democrats ask commission to denounce Barlow comments

Last week’s comments by County Commissioner David Barlow in which he equated Democrats to demons drew a response letter from Chairman Steve Brown and a call from the Fayette County Democratic party for the commission to “publicly denounce” his statements.
Barlow read a prepared statement at last Thursday’s commission meeting in which he used the term ‘demoncrat’ and said he would “work tirelessly to see that in 2016 the GOP regains the Presidency thereby nullifying the evil that has been proliferating throughout our great nation. I declare this, in the mighty name of Jesus.”
Barlow’s statement was ostensibly addressing the election of Democrat Pota Coston to fill the seat currently held by Allen McCarty.
In a response letter, Chairman Brown said Barlow had shown a pattern of “attacks on the Internet that consist of name-calling and venomous insults of Democrats and specifically female Democrats.”
Brown went even further, recounting a situation where he had to “sit through one tirade where Commissioner Barlow debased ‘the Blacks’ with stereotypical racial insults, saying he knew such things to be true from his days of living in Mississippi. I reminded him in front of colleagues that he was talking about my wife and he offered no apology.”
Brown said he chose not to respond to or cut-off Barlow’s comment during the meeting (no commissioner commented) because he “believes in free speech,” and felt “as a sitting commissioner, he should be able to express his feelings and I would be a hypocrite to say otherwise.  The voters make the ultimate decision.”
The Fayette County Democratic Committee sent a letter to the board Monday in which they “formally condemned” Barlow’s behavior and asked the commission do the same.
The letter, signed by Chair Dawn Mabra and Executive Vice Chair Terry Williamson, cited county ordinances which address meeting decorum and went on to cite past Facebook posts of David Barlow’s which they said “define a pattern of conduct unbecoming of a public official.”
Some of the county code quoted in the letter include:
-“The chair shall enforce the rules of decorum. The purpose of meetings of the board of commissioners is to conduct the county’s business. Meetings shall be conducted in an orderly and respectful fashion. They are not a forum to belittle, ridicule or embarrass county commissioners, other county officials, county employees, or others.”
-“Commissioners shall conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner”
-“Personal attacks and inappropriate remarks shall be ruled out of order by the chair”
-“Commissioners should keep an open mind on all issues coming before the board”
-“Remarks may not address the character of the person involved.”

The letter included screenshots of what are apparent Facebook posts by Barlow which the letter said he had since deleted.
The letter said those posts demonstrate his “malicious beliefs.”
The posts include comments from Barlow such as “the NAACP and liberal demoncrats promote HATRED!” and another in which he promoted a photo which said “Liberalism is a mental illness.”
In another post contained within the letter, Barlow remarked on the “beauty and intelligence” of Republican women, contrasting it with “Demoncrat” women that “are typically ugly and mean spirited. I think mostly because they are jealous of the beauty and intelligence of the Republican women,” the post said.
Barlow again referred to “Demoncrats” in a fourth post in which he said “I’m all about keeping Fayette Couny Republican and minimizing the evil effects the liberal demoncrats are bringing to Fayette County and this includes the NAACP!”
Brown’s letter also made note of Barlow’s Facebook posts.
“Local citizens have approached me with copies of Commissioner Barlow’s Facebook posts that reveal lists of invectives of a more brutal nature,” Brown said in his letter.
Brown also took issue with Barlow giving “insults in the name of God,” as he did Thursday saying “I declare this, in the mighty name of Jesus.”
Brown responded to the letter from the Democratic Party in an e-mail Monday night in which he agreed with many of the points in the letter, but maintained he felt it was a matter of free speech that Barlow be allowed to share his beliefs.
“I have to agree with your positions on the lack of professionalism and respect, but, again, I felt it important that in his elected position that he be given the ability to express himself and to allow his constituents to draw their own conclusions,” Brown said.
He also said he “purposefully chose not to engage in debate with Commissioner Barlow in his current state of mind, thinking it could elevate his level of hostility and the meeting could get out of hand. Instead, I submitted a letter to the editors of the local newspapers expressing my opinions on the situation.”
Brown concluded his response by addressing the Facebook posts.
“Several people have shown me Commissioner Barlow’s Facebook posts and I can safely say that none of the other commissioners agree or endorse such distasteful comments,” Brown said.
Barlow continued to be active on Facebook Tuesday, with a series of posts in which he used the term “Demoncrat,” including one in which he said “Every black should bailout of the DEMONCRAT party.”

Josh Akeman

Josh Akeman is the managing editor of the Fayette County News, Today in Peachtree City, and East Coweta Journal. He is a graduate of Fayette County High School and the University of Georgia.