His rage we can endure


I told you about the "pre-meeting" in the previous entry, and I mentioned that there were some fireworks shortly after.

The neighborhood folks who came for the pre-meeting hoped to speak briefly to Councilor Sam Roop to ask for his support on the Council Consensus that was on the agenda. We were waiting in the Council lobby right after the pre-meeting. I asked a Council staffer if he was in his office and if I could speak with him. She checked -- he was not in his office. She said he's around here somewhere. I asked if he might still be in the library where the pre-meeting was held, and started in that direction. No one seemed to object.

As I approached the door of the library, which is in the northeast corner of the 2nd Floor, I heard a voice coming from the office of a council staffer as I passed:

"Where the hell do you think you're going?"

I turned to reply. I wasn't bothered by the harsh language -- I assumed the comment was made in jest.

"I'm looking for Councilor Roop."

The reply shocked me:

"Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here! I hate you!"

And he yelled some other stuff.

And then he yelled, "You kitty-cat!"

Except he didn't say "kitty-cat".

He used another feline epithet, which, in this context, would be considered obscene and an insult.

He stood at his desk visibly enraged -- red-faced, hands clenched, stiff-armed, shouting. This was a grown man who had completely lost control of his emotions.

My reaction: I reached into my camera case to try to get my camcorder up and recording. Meanwhile, another staffer told him to calm down and tried to shut the door -- he was still in his office at his desk, I was outside in the hall. I pushed the door back open with my foot and asked him to repeat that for the camera. The door was closed again. Don Cannon, the Council Administrator (for whom I have great respect), had heard the whole thing and he quickly apologized for what had happened. At least one other staffer also witnessed the incident. I walked back to the lobby to wait for Councilor Roop and to relay to the other neighborhood leaders what had happened.

Very, very shortly thereafter, Don Cannon asked me to follow him back to the office of Councilor David Patrick the chairman. I walked in and saw Patrick and Vice Chairman Randy Sullivan. Not sure if I was about to get more of the same treatment, I raised the camcorder and hit record. Patrick apologized for the way I had been treated. He also said that the pre-meeting would henceforth be held in the Council Committee room, which is an area open to the public, and not in the council offices, which is not. They assured me that they would talk to the staffer and deal with the matter.

I have no idea why this man decided to launch an unprovoked verbal attack. I can't recall any significant dealings I have had with him. I almost wonder if it was an attempt to bait me into an angry response, creating an incident that would have ended with my arrest or eviction. Possibly it was an attempt to intimidate me. (Didn't work.) Was he angry about something I'd written on this site? I've never written anything negative about anyone on the Council staff. Was he furious that I had dared to bring a camcorder to a meeting? I hit a nerve somehow.

I have chosen not to disclose this staffer's name. I am hopeful that he is ashamed of his behavior, and I don't want to do anything to embarrass or provoke him further. But I bring this story to you as an example of the way people sometimes get treated at City Hall, when the cameras are off.

In future, I may just walk around City Hall with a camcorder on my shoulder to ensure courteous treatment.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 5, 2004 2:38 AM.

The pre-meeting and the pre-pre-meeting was the previous entry in this blog.

Timeless relationships: F&M Bancorporation board of directors and officers is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]