…. LITTLE BOY
Last evening’s Wildomar City Council took an unfortunate turn in citizen/public servant interactions.
Because the agenda issue before the City Council was about possible park closure, there were several passionate speakers who took the opportunity during the Public Comment portion of the agenda to address their concerns.
One of them was a young man, who represented a local soccer league, who was concerned about unfounded rumors that the City of Wildomar was going to impose a nearly $50 per athlete fee for using Marna O’Brien Park.
It was immediately apparent to myself, sitting in the audience, that some elements of my modest proposal presented at the prior evening’s Budget Session, had been distributed throughout the community, via a “blast e-mail,” according to this properly concerned young man.
After he completed his comments, he returned to his seat, located in a row of empty seats just in front of me, as the Council Chambers were less than one-half full.
Eventually, my name was called and I took to the dais for my public comments, wherein I offered my “political” opinion that the City Council should wait for the results of the June 07, 2011 election before formally considering park closure as an option, lest they be seen to be, by voting citizens, as surrendering to, and admitting the defeat of their own unfortunate ballot measure. At the very least, they should delay taking any action until after the election.
Or, on the other hand, voting to close the park, effective June 08, 2011, would be seen to be an inappropriate “fear tactic” on their part, to influence voters to vote “yes” on Measure D.
At least, that is how Wildomar Magazine would have read this morning.
I made my comments, with all due respect to the elected officials, and they seemed to take note of the admonition, so much so that they failed to provide the direction requested by City Staff, and merely moved forward to the next agenda item at the conclusion of their own statements.
However, after concluding my remarks, and as I returned to my seat, I tapped the young man from the soccer league on the shoulder and briefly whispered to him that I would, as the originator of the recommendation which concerned him, be willing to speak to him after the meeting.
Apparently, however, a “brief whisper” was intolerable to the speaker at the public dais.
I was shocked, and offended, to hear the speaker, after turning from addressing the City Council, to address me at my location in the far corner of the Council Chambers in order to “shush” me.
To my knowledge, a brief whisper is not out of order in a public meeting, especially as it was not disruptive to any of the empty chairs in that half of the chamber, or at the council dais.
For that matter, abject silence is not a requirement for attendance at a City Council function. If I were being disruptive, it would have been appropriate for the Mayor to gavel the Chamber to order.
She did not do so, as there was no need to do so.
Instead, the speaker took it upon himself to disrupt his own comments by turning away from the microphone to address me.
Needless to say, as a grown man of a mature age and and having just conducted myself with an appropriate public demeanor, I was personally offended by the public impudence of a much younger man, such that I later confronted him face-to-face, advising him that his public disrespect of an older man was inappropriate.
Or words to that effect.
I may have included a perjorative descriptive noun.
In response, since he was probably caught off guard by the confrontation, he merely giggled nervously.
That’s what little boys do when confronted by adults.
If this “punk” were only another uncouth citizen of Wildomar, the “face-to-face” confrontation would be sufficient for Zak.
However, since he is an elected public official of another local government entity, I insist on a public apology commensurate with his public affront, since he did so from the dais of a public meeting.
Unless elected officials understand that they are to be publicly respectful of the citizens they have been elected to “serve,” even in disagreement, the very “civility” of our democratic process is in jeopardy.
Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Lake Elsinore City Councilman George Alongi used to warn his colleagues to “never get in a dispute with someone who buys his ink by the barrel,” referring to newspaper editors or reporters.
“Cyberink,”on the other hand, is absolutely free.