Letter: ‘I find it hurtful and damaging to my reputation’

Imagine my surprise at being alerted to Patty Hardee’s article in the Rappahannock News which attempted to report on the Ben Venue Rural Historic District meeting that occurred Aug. 13 at the Griffin Tavern.

I feel that Ms. Hardee reported the “session” comments in a harsh and unfair manner concerning me when she said that, “Brenda Mieth was especially upset . . .,” citing my name only as a participant in what she described as a “shouting match.” Additionally, Ms. Hardee’s other comments included, “Last week’s informational meeting . . . began as a celebration . . . and ended in a shouting match, colored by a bit of antigovernment fervor. . . .” and “So, from the meeting’s beginning, the seeds of discontent were sown.”; and “Brenda Mieth . . . even suggesting . . . ‘the start of a government land grab.’ ”

First, I doubt that Ms. Hardee is qualified to unequivocally state that, “Brenda Mieth was especially upset.” At best, that would be her opinion.

Second, since mine was the only name specifically used when Ms. Hardee decided that a “celebration” ended in a “shouting match,” it would naturally follow that people would conclude I must have precipitated, fueled and agitated an otherwise lovely meeting. I deny this inference as I believe that quite a few people were speaking louder than I.

Third, the comments regarding anti-government “fervor” and the start of a “government land grab,” used together within the same article, would almost certainly lead persons who do not know me to believe that I am what is commonly referred to as some “conspiracy theory nut.” This is blatantly false. The question I asked regarding some government land grab was on behalf of another individual and not a concern of mine. As it turns out, due to incorrect maps, I do not believe this person will even be affected by the proposed historical area.

Therefore, I find it hurtful and damaging to my reputation that the Rappahannock News would print this article, considering my nationally known involvement in fighting for women’s rights (U.S. Supreme Court, Mieth vs. Alabama, my legal representation having been Morris Dees’ Southern Poverty Law Center, hardly considered “anti-government,” and to be featured in an upcoming book). Furthermore, my 40-year-marriage to a highly-decorated Air Force colonel as well as my employment at the Pentagon with a TSS-I security clearance should, by way of common sense, negate the slanderous inference that I am “anti-government.”

Finally, I regret having been put in a position which has forced me to defend myself, especially to this extent. I did not have a recorder at the meeting as did Ms. Hardee. However, I still maintain that I was neither louder nor more disruptive than some others. I know that I did interrupt a couple of times and do apologize for that, but others were doing likewise.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my side of the story.

Brenda Mieth

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