Mea Culpa

Everybody Hates Me, Nobody Likes Me, Guess I’ll Just Go Outside And Eat Worms

The Monday Morning Meeting With The Mayor (MMMM) just did not work out for me. The Mayor informed me by email of the error of my ways. “The Monday morning meeting with the mayor was never intended to be a press conference. You somehow fail to grasp that,” boomed Mayor Lindy Peters. He sure has me there. I had been banging my head against the smiling immoveable wall that is Lindy Peters for months and in the end, lost my composure in what I thought was a private email. Our gleefully opportunist mayor jumped on the opportunity to publish it, which was embarrassing for me, but fair enough in the hardball of politics. I should not have vented. I trusted the sanctity of a private conversation, but trusting Lindy Peters as a “professional politician” turned out not to be real smart. Hello.

The fact remains on the occasion of the last meeting he has me cold. I was busted having an (I thought) modest meltdown in a private (I thought) email. Although I apologized repeatedly in the culpatory email for my frustration, I was clearly pissed. Flat out naked wrath is never edifying and although I embarrassed myself, I do not think that I am alone in my frustration with the Mayor.

Mayor Lindy Peters’ Monday morning exercise in transparency was indeed not a press conference, if such a thing might ever have been said to exist in our village. MMMM is unique and it has its own unique rules. It was originally billed as a wide-open meeting, a chance for the Mayor to answer questions and address community problems. On issues like potholes, he was great, but his capacity to move the conversation past little obstructions like pointed questions was never seriously challenged. For sure I never made a dent in it. Mayor Peters’ meeting was not the place for serious discussion.

For months every Monday, When I got my little turn at the conference table I would ask questions that I thought mattered. They were all questions that I still have and that the Mayor glibly and relentlessly ducked and apparently feels entirely justified in ducking. Perseverance in the pursuit of answers was quickly and relentlessly denounced as "dominating the meeting.” Persistence only made it worse. “You are rude, insolent and seem to be unaware and uncaring of how your treatment may, in fact, affect other people’s feelings.”

Ok, already Mr. Mayor. What did I expect? Of course, the mayor is going to duck criticism. I can hardly expect open confession and should never have imagined candor. I was acting like a boy scout expecting the Mayor to fess up if I pushed a little. When I got mad it just underlined the amateur quality of my pursuit.

In related developments Meg Courtney this weekend jumped on the anti-Rex bandwagon, releasing an email to key bigwigs in her faction, rallying the troups and raising the specter of my (highly improbable) candidacy for the city council next November.

Saith Ms. Meg —

Hello you four with the large email lists (Linda Jupiter, Tom Wodetzki, norma watkins, Dave Turner)

We are getting down to the wire trying to find some eligible person to run for FB City Council. At first, we were focussed on Latinas, then Latinos, now we are looking for any good progressive who lives in the city limits (very important!) and is a registered voter. I am willing to meet with anyone to explain what the job is about. Let me know if anyone comes to mind. We can't have Rex G. getting that empty seat!!

Thanks, Meg (Courtney)

Meg Courtney and Lindy Peters share a common concern. Apparently, I have them shaking in their boots. It can not be me and I don’t think that it is. I think they are paranoid, and I suspect they should be. Picking on me is like picking on a minnow. I have such a small voice and the city power structure holds almost all the cards. The AVA has generously provided me a platform but I don’t own it and get edited all the time. My column or whatever it is is only a tiny fish in the great ocean of information. One wonders why should they care, and apparently care so much. All I have is the perspective of a private person. I don’t speak for anyone, and no one anywhere agrees with me all the time. It is true that I have run for the council a couple of times, never very hard and never without serious self-doubt about my qualification to do a very difficult and demanding job. You would think that with the vast power that they have, it would be easier for them to simply discount me entirely. Geez.

I will say this since we are discussing courtesy: no one is aware of the off-camera intimidation, threats, and warnings with which the Mayor routinely assails me. I never much cared. Absolute silence is the Mayor's condition for my continued attendance at the City Council meeting. I get my three minutes, no other sounds, gestures, or anything damnit, are otherwise permitted. Audible groaning even when it is an involuntary reaction is emphatically and specifically disallowed. I don’t know if he can actually kick me out, but he makes the case with tedious regularity that he would like to. You just have to roll with it, I guess. I know that having lost my temper I will have to be especially careful of the Mayor. I told him flat I would fight back against his program (not him really) and childishly exaggerated the power of righteous indignation. I was very wrong to get mad and promise in the future to ask only quiet courteous questions. One thing is in the Mayor’s favor, he bends to any public pressure with remarkable facility. I promise to extend him every courtesy.

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