Mayorial Candidate Farmer and Police Chief Yates Controversy

JONESBORO, AR -- Mayoral candidate Alec Farmer and Police Chief Mike Yates are in an electronic war of words over the content and meaning of the e-mails the two exchanged in June.

Farmer recently put part of the letters in an advertisement.

"I wish I could've put the whole thing in the paper, but I couldn't.  We've got it posted on the website. We have got all the e-mails posted on the website," said Farmer.

"When Mr. Farmer ran his ad in Sunday's newspaper he used bits and pieces of what I said and he altered it," said Yates.

Farmer said he sent an e-mail to Yates asking for the source of rumors about him.

"Acquaintances, friends kept approaching me saying there were rumors about me leading up to this mayor's race and a lot of what I was hearing wasn't true," said Farmer.

"As a courtesy to him I sent word back with his buddies that if he's running for mayor, he doesn't need to be doing that kind of stuff," said Yates.

Yates replied to Farmer's e-mail that night.

"Sent an email on June 16th of this year and that evening he responded with the three page e-mail that everyone has now seen that had some disturbing comments," said Farmer.

The comments that Farmer is talking about include "set of political nuclear warheads" and "one that they wouldn't be able to weasel out of," two things that Farmer also included in an ad that ran earlier this week.

"To take that stuff out of context and to use those e-mails and things the way he did, that's just part of the political process.  I don't like it.  I feel a little betrayed by him," said Yates.

"You can't say you're going to set off 'political nuclear warheads' and 'have warfare like no one has ever seen here'.  I don't know how else you can take those things," said Farmer.

Because of the exchange and Yates' position, Farmer said he's not seeking the endorsement of the Police Benevolent Association.  Yates said he's a member of the organization, but says he stayed out of the process for endorsing candidates.

As for the e-mails that have been exchanged between the two men, "I thought that we had enough of a relationship as gentlemen to be frank with him and talk to him privately and get answers to some very pointed questions," said Yates.

"He's the Police Chief for the City of Jonesboro and I'm a candidate for mayor and a private citizen.  If an employee, especially the Police Chief makes a threat, it is not private.  It's in the public's best interest.  There was no relationship there between me and Chief Yates," said Farmer.

As for the position of police chief, Farmer said he has not made any decisions for what he would do in any city departments if he is elected.