Your Views: Are we a city that tolerates bullying of residents?

Your Views: Are we a city that tolerates bullying of residents?
Alexandria City Hall. (Photo/Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

Most people know me as Mike or Michael Curry. However, that is not my real name. I started using Michael during the 1970s because I didn’t want anyone to know that I was gay. A lot of the LGBTQ community made up a false identity out of fear of abandonment by family and friends, losing their job or being attacked or killed.

Unfortunately, some LGBTQ people’s struggle was so great that they saw suicide as their only option. I tell you this story because living in fear made me lie about who I was. Once I came out as gay, I realized that my lying hurt the people I love far more then telling the truth. At that point, I made myself a promise that I would never again hurt others by telling a lie. I share the above information only as background to explain my anger about the below comments.

Yon Lambert, Director of Transportation & Environmental Services, in an e-mail to Mayor Justin Wilson called me a liar and stated that he hoped his email would get discovered in a Freedom of Information Act request. Even more astonishing is that Wilson not only didn’t condemn Lambert’s comment, but he also agreed with him in his reply.

A FOIA request by citizens made the emails public. Since that time, Wilson has not mentioned it publicly or attempted to contact me regarding this issue or offer an apology. City Manager Mark Jinks should have at least publicly condemned Lambert’s comment as unprofessional.

Given the number of redactions within the FOIA documents, I can only imagine what horrible things were said about me and other residents of Alexandria. I believe Lambert’s comments, and Wilson’s follow-up, shows that a culture of bullying exists within the city and T&ES as well as a total lack of respect for the residents of Alexandria. I am still waiting for an apology from Lambert, Jinks and Wilson.

This is not the leadership Alexandria residents deserve. It’s time for a change.

-Michael Curry, Alexandria