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Mayor says she's 'sorry'

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Baker apologizes to Legion Post; city council doesn't

By BEN CARLSON

Mayor Edwinna Baker has responded to demands from American Legion officials to apologize for recent remarks by doing just that last Thursday.

A day after The Anderson News printed portions of letters exchanged between the mayor and Legion member and attorney Walter Patrick, Baker delivered a letter to the newspaper that includes an apology for her roll in a dispute between the city and Legion about Little League’s efforts to build a third field at Legion Park.

“Please allow me to begin this letter by stating clearly and without equivocation that I do apologize for my part in the difficulties that have arisen between the City of Lawrenceburg and American Legion Post No. 34,” Baker wrote.

“It has never been my intention to create or perpetuate ill will between the City and the Legion. Nor have I ever spoken or acted with the intention of harming or demeaning the Legion or its members. Nonetheless, it is clear that through my words and actions, I have gravely offended members of Post No. 34. For this I am truly sorry and for this I do apologize.”

In a letter to Baker earlier this month, Patrick called on Baker and the city council to apologize.

“Our fervent wish is that we will be able to soon enjoy a public apology from the Mayor and Board of Council in The Anderson News,” Patrick wrote, adding that Post 34 received “unjustified criticism” from the city council, “all of which came about as a result of abuse of authority by the city.”

Baker’s letter did not include an apology from the city council.

The three-group saga began earlier this year when Baker told Little League officials to begin construction of a backstop for the third field after Legion officials ordered it stopped.

Baker pointed out that the city council had already voted to approve the backstop, but Legion officials countered by saying that only they can approve any permanent structures in the park, which is owned by the Legion.

Patrick, a lifetime member of Post 34, responded earlier this month to letters to the Legion from Baker and City Attorney Robert Myles. Patrick bristled that neither offered an apology for remarks made during a city council meeting, including quips that the Legion apparently doesn’t support physically challenged children due to its refusal to allow Little League to erect the third field that would be used, in part, for a “Challengers” league.

Little League has since made plans to purchase a temporary backstop for the third field.

In her letter, Baker points out that she is the wife of a Vietnam veteran and has a “genuine appreciation for the sacrifices made by all of our nation’s veterans.

“Let me state with equal clarity that I am fully confident that the decisions which have been made and the words that have been spoken, on both sides, have been done in good faith and in an effort to better serve the citizens of Lawrenceburg and Anderson County,” Baker wrote. “Differences of opinion, of belief and of understanding can and will arise and indeed are to be expected. However, it is when these differences lead not to better solutions, but rather to division, that a very serious line has been crossed.”

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.