Mayor: ‘If you want to find fault … find a new home’

Grim responds to resident’s gripes about Christmas tree lighting ceremony

By Kevin Spradlin
Potomac Valley Herald

By most accounts, the Christmas gala in downtown Cumberland Friday night was better than ever. Locally owned businesses, city officials and more than two dozen volunteers came together to host the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and related festivities.

By one account, though, things were horrible.

Photo from Downtown Cumberland on Facebook

Photo from Downtown Cumberland on Facebook

Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim, no stranger to social media, took a city woman to task late Friday for her comments on Facebook that expressed frustration over the street closures to accommodate the crowd of people — and that Frozen’s Elsa, in the form of a teenage volunteer, had the audacity to take a break from being inside rather warm costume.

“First and LAST time I will ever go (to) the Downtown Cumberland tree lighting event,” posted Lisa Raley Taranto, who according to her Facebook profile works at Bob Evans restaurant in LaVale and volunteered to work Thanksgiving Day.

Despite her otherwise holiday cheer, she called Friday night’s ceremony — attended by an unofficial estimate of at least 4,000 people — the “most unorganized event I have EVER been to. Difficult to find parking and had to move the blockades on my own to get through the ONLY parking I could find … which was the parking garage that people were stopping for a ticket because they didn’t know whether or not they needed one (no attendant).

Taranto continued: “I never could get through the crowd hoard to find my kids and grandbaby and my daughter said that they waited in line for Elsa only to be told she was on break.”

Mayor Brian Grim stands with Olaf from Disney's animated feature Frozen inside City Hall in Cumberland.

Mayor Brian Grim stands with Olaf from Disney’s animated feature Frozen inside City Hall in Cumberland.

Taranto expressed dismay that “Cumberland couldn’t pay for a break replacement.”

“What a FIASCO,” she concluded.

Grim, though, defended what is primarily a volunteer-driven event.

“I really get tired of the negativity,” Grim began. “While the number of people commenting about tonight’s awesome tree lighting and visit by Frozen character(s) outweigh the negative, I’m quite honestly sick of hearing people complain. For the record, almost 30 volunteers made the parade and Frozen visit a reality. Teenage volunteers who just wanted to make children happy dressed as Frozen characters for two hours before they got breaks. They volunteered as teenagers to make an event enjoyable to children and they were awesome. And yes, eventually they needed a break to breathe. Then they came back again.”

Grim said the addition of characters from Frozen, including Olaf the snowman and Princess Elsa, was initially an unplanned bonus — one that he paid for out of his own pocket.

“I personally bought the costumes, not the city, not using any tax dollars. Me. I spent hundreds of my own dollars because making children smile is worth it,” Grim continued. “Maybe it’s not mayoral to point out the people who cannot find anything positive about a free holiday event, paid for largely by the Downtown property owners, and powered by teenage volunteers and volunteer musicians. But I’m sick of this attitude. Stop it!”

Lisa Raley Taranto couldn't find a whole lot that went right about Friday night's Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Cumberland.

Lisa Raley Taranto couldn’t find a whole lot that went right about Friday night’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Cumberland.

The mayor then went “on record for saying” this: If you only want to find faults with Cumberland, then find a new home. This is an amazing place to live. I love it. And tonight was awesome! Ms. Taranto is what’s wrong with the Cumberland attitude. If Ms. Taranto has something to say to the amazing teenage volunteers, I dare her to say it to those kids’ faces!”

More than three dozen comments were posted in reply to Grim’s initial post. Many spoke in favor of Grim’s effort to make life in Cumberland a little better. One person suggested arresting Taranto because she acknowledged moving a traffic blockade. Another suggested the best course of action was to ignore Taranto’s negative viewpoint “instead of posting it all over Facebook.”

Grim, generally not one to ignore comments on either side of issues — be it the Rolling Mills economic development project, bike lanes, repeat criminal offenders or anything else — responded to this suggestion.

“I agree, but it’s also about battling the negativity of our community, including by calling out those who perpetrate it,” Grim wrote.

The city of Frostburg will stage its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony Sunday night in the Mountain City.

The city of Frostburg will stage its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony Sunday night in the Mountain City.

 

 

Filed in: Allegany County, Business, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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  • Andrea Kelly

    Mayor Grimm is the best thing that has happened to the city of Cumberland is a long time! He was on spot tonight with his comment about the complainers attitude being what is wrong in Cumberland. Some people will stop at nothing to find negativity in any situation and it is a shame. He truly loves Cumberland and wants the best for its residents. Nothing is more apparent. He is love by so many and regardless of some bad attitudes he will continue to be be the best Mayor in America.

    • Juan

      Saw your post on we be high
      Have that green hmu on kik alphax64

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