Letters to the Editor

Scales supporters’ cries for civility ironic | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

Bainbridge bloggers who are supporters of Councilmember Bob Scales have been urging during the past several weeks that his colleagues be, well, more collegial toward him. Compromise, they say, should be be the rule of the day. He is becoming our new local poster child for the “be civil”  movement.

This strikes me as a bit off kilter. It’s as if Napoleon’s personal guard, trudging from the field at Waterloo, began shouting, “Let the healing begin!”

I normally dislike personal criticism, but Mr. Scales’ six years on the council show him to be a believer in hardball against all comers, all the time, and with little regard for others’ feelings or reputations. In council meetings he often has waved his law degree like a stick, making dubious procedural claims that usually involve silencing colleagues who disagree with him.

A frequent target, former Councilman Bill Knobloch, so annoyed him that he even went after Knobloch’s city email file, pursuing nonexistent evidence that Knobloch had illegally conspired with the Ratepayers Alliance in efforts to build a firewall around the city’s utility accounts.

This is the same councilmember who when in the majority last year pilloried the whistleblowing Police Commission secretary, denouncing her in a public council meeting as unreliable and refusing her a hearing, or even to hear the Ethics Board’s assessment of her complaint.

He is the same councilmember who after the first whiff of the police scandal, stepped on the council’s procedural rules in ramming through a revision of the ethics ordinance, making the process so opaque as to stop just short of violating the Public Records Act.

And he’s the same councilmember who said from the council dais in January that his colleague, Councilmember Debbi Lester, had neither the intellect nor the temperament to serve in the largely ceremonial role of mayor. Civility, eh?  Lester, a longtime community leader, had the good sense not to reply and was duly elected.

I think the new council majority made a mistake giving Scales a dose of his own medicine when they shut down his rhetorical questioning of a legal expert at a recent meeting.

But cut these people some slack; they’re new to this business and the last election was in good part a referendum on the Scales faction of the council.

Elections, as has been said, have consequences, and bullies are ill-positioned to call “foul.”

Jim Mooney

Pleasant Beach Drive

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