Norton councilman apologizes for ‘white trash festival’ remark

NORTON – Councilman Dennis Pierson says he regrets a comment he made to a Norton police dispatcher last month, when he called due to residents’ concerns on Easton Road.

“I regret what I said, it shouldn’t have been said,” Pierson told Fox 8 Monday.

He told the dispatcher he wanted to know where the police officers where located because they were having issues with dust from a sewer project made worse by speeders on Easton Road.

“I’d like to know where they are at, I know we have the white trash festival going on today,” Pierson can be heard saying on the non-emergency recorded line.

The Norton Cider Festival was held that day at Columbia Woods Park.

Festival organizers and many in the community say it’s a family friendly event.

Norton Mayor Mike Zita released the following statement:

To address the remarks made regarding the Cider Festival by the third ward councilman, Dennis Pierson:   "I was disappointed to learn of the conversation Mr. Pierson had with a Norton dispatcher on several fronts.  The Norton Cider festival is a time-honored tradition that Norton families enjoy with their children, extended family and friends.

For the past 29 years, countless hours have been invested by the Cider Festival Committee to plan, organize and oversee this wonderful event.

Additionally, many of the service organizations from Norton volunteer time toward different activities for the Cider Festival; many of which are fund-raising opportunities that allow them to help others or fund their own activities. I truly appreciate each and every person that dedicates their time toward the Cider Festival.

Each and every year families have the opportunity to enjoy the pageant, apple-decorating contest, parade, games, food, music, car show and some amazing cider. My family and I have enjoyed the festival since it began and I have participated in this event for the past 14 years as a city official.

 

Pierson said he never meant to offend anyone.  “It was unfortunately a malicious comment and I feel bad about the folks that took it personally,” Pierson said. “It really wasn’t meant that way, I live in the community, it’s a good community.”

Pierson said he called the dispatch center because residents in the area contacted him about the condition of the road and speeders.  “Numerous neighbors called me and walked over and complained because the dirt is mixed with concrete and sticking on their window frames and screens,” Pierson said. “They have complained ant they are frankly being ignored.”

Many living on Easton Road agreed with Pierson. One neighbor even had a sign up in the yard about the dust.

“Our city ignored it, our mayor ignored it and he lives in the area, and I think that’s a shame,” Pierson said.  Pierson, however, said he does wish he would have handled the situation differently.