By EAMON J. BISHOP
After reading the October 5th edition (Lowered voices, Keizertimes), I have to admit as always that your editorials are well thought-out and written in a tone that is a fair summary of events.
Public admittance of being imperfect is at best difficult. Your editorial narrative about the October 1 city council meeting does force me to admit that I most certainly can be an idiot. I do need to offer the following clarification on that confession with the following:
I attended the council meeting in my role as a representative of the Keizer Traffic Safety Commission. My sole purpose was to provide the council with the commission’s recommendation on bikeways. As I sat waiting my turn to speak, a Keizer citizen whom I have not met on previous occasion rose to address the council about a separate matter. This citizen made comments based upon an assumption he surmised after reading a council agenda item described in the broadest of terms.
The citizen’s assumption was wrong. Rather than a civil explanation, the citizen received what you correctly described as a “…sharp response” and a “(demand) to know where the witness got that information.”
I waited patiently for the involved councilor to offer an apology after a moment, or for council leadership to offer some sort of olive branch, but this did not occur. If one of my children or my wife were to be treated in (what I perceived) to be the most rude, unprofessional and confrontational manner that I had just seen (and with “perception” being 9/10ths of the law) I suppose I might have given the offender a good punch in the nose. Not the most Christian thought, but there it is.
Instead, I sat and pondered more civil options. I could have written an angry letter for publication. I could have requested a later conference with the mayor. I could have addressed the involved councilor after the meeting. I ultimately decided, right or wrong, that my complaint was with action that came from the dais, and that it should be rebutted before the dais instead of being buried away. That is why when it was my turn to testify I ultimately clarified that I was speaking only in my role as a Keizer citizen, and made my complaint.
After giving my commission testimony I left the council chambers. It was only on the way home that I considered with campaign season being in effect and with me running for office, that my addressing of the matter at hand may be seen as some sort of political grandstanding. That was when I felt like an idiot. I have no quarrel with the involved incumbent councilor, have never met him, nor am I running against him for office. I would be most civil with the man were I to see him again as I feel that I resolved my one complaint with him. I would be saddened were I to ultimately lose the election based on the events you fairly described, and I am ashamed to admit that I can (often) be an idiot.
One wishes that they could go back in time and change things, but after contemplation I would not have done anything differently in this matter. I would like to state for the record that were I to attempt grandstanding I would produce a much more exuberant demonstration, possibly involving fireworks or other excitement.
Eamon J Bishop lives in Keizer. He is a candidate for City Council Position #3 in the November election.