So tonight I go to the first public meeting of this task force. The task force was presenting its recommendations and taking comments (a copy of the presentation and schedule of additional meetings at (link...)).
The presentation was interesting (I do recommend ya'll take a look at it if you can't make a meeting); the questions/comments were moving along productively - and then Lumpy showed up.
I've watched Lumpy for a long time, and I know he's capable of a pretty high level of misbehavior, but he really outdid himself tonight. He just would NOT shut up - kept making the same point over and over - and basically took over the meeting.
He had two basic grievances. One of that he wasn't allowed to be on the task force, for which he blames co-chairs Tony Norman and Joe Hultquist. In all fairness, I'm sure they didn't want him, but it was Council and Commission who appointed the members. But that didn't stop him from personally attacking Tony about six times.
The second grievance was that he owned a piece of property on a ridge on Clinton Highway that had been in his family for FIFTY YEARS - and "you people," dang it, aren't gonna deny me the best use of MY property." (The property is now zoned ag, which means it can only be developed at one dwelling unit/acre, and he has absolutely no legal expectation that he will ever get it rezoned, even if none of these new recommendations are enacted. Pointing that out to him was, of course, waving the red flag at the proverbial bull.)
He went on about his granddaddy and his poor gnarled hands and how HE didn't work for the government (slam at Tony Norman) and HIS $$$ was tied up in property since HE didn't have a 401K (slam at everybody there pretty much).
We managed to change the subject a couple of times, but the third time he really let it rip. He got louder and louder and ended up on his feet, yelling his head off. "Pretty soon somebody is gonna bring a gun to the City/County Building and shoot ALL of us and we'll DESERVE it!"
At this point, I realized that he was sitting there with a gun in his holster or pocket or wherever the heck he keeps it. I've never actually been scared of a public official before.
Lumpy is, of course, entitled to his opinion and to advocate for it. But this was a shameful performance, and I very much hope he doesn't show up at the rest of the public meetings and do the very same thing.
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