The mayor of Mount Vernon, Washington, Bud Norris, is fixing to honor Glenn Beck tomorrow. Glenn Beck is a native of the town, which had a population of 26,000 in 2000. He was born there in 1964. And on Saturday, September 26, Mayor Norris hopes to give Beck a key to the city at a sold-out, 700 person, 25 dollar per plate affair.
Norris says he knew Beck when the talk show host was just 12 years old. He said he remembers the tyke carrying a sandwich board saying “Vote for Norris for county commissioner” up and down Mount Vernon’s First Street.
He said he and Beck’s parents were friends, but said this is not a political payback for campaigning decades ago. He said this is merely a recognition of someone who is from Mount Vernon.
The Mayor’s plans have riled up a lot of folks. Almost Sixteen thousand people have signed a petition to the Mount Vernon City Council stating:
We do not believe the city of Mount Vernon should honor Glenn Beck’s fear mongering, racebaiting, inflammatory and dishonest approach to politics. Our country is better than this.
Please take action to overrule Mayor Norris’s decision to give Glenn Beck the key to the city. It disgraces Mount Vernon, Washington State, and our country to honor a national poster child for intolerance, racism, and radical right-wing fringe politics.
The City Council met on Wednesday, but it was too late for them to override the mayor’s plans. Instead, they passed a symbolic resolution distancing themselves from the Mayor and Glenn Beck: “Mount Vernon City Council is in no way sponsoring the Mayor’s event on September 26, 2009 and is not connected to the Glenn Beck event in any manner.”
In addition to the 16,000 person petition and the Council’s resolution, one of the Council members, Dale Ragan, reports that as a result of the Mayor’s efforts to honor Glenn Beck, “I have received hundreds of e-mails from people saying they won’t come to Mount Vernon to shop anymore. They won’t stop to buy gas.”
It seems to me Bud Norris made a strange decision to honor Glenn Beck. Norris has been mayor for six years and he has never before now proposed honoring anyone. Beck is an extremely controversial first pick, and honoring Beck is an odd way for the Mayor to demonstrate a concern for Mount Vernon’s image, reputation, and prosperity.