This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent to remain focused on specific public issues, regarding the personalities involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their private lives and other public business...
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At the Manistique City Council meeting of 05/29/07 I set up a digital camera and tripod to record a public comments presentation I intended to make. The video on channel 21 had been a blank screen or a never changing advertisement for the last week, and taking my own video was insurance, if the city's tv equipment was on the fritz.
Before I stepped to the lecturn, I pressed the power and shutter button on the camera. While I did so, Director of Public Safety Ken Golat stepped in front of the camera. After I finished, I returned to the camera and the dance with Golat was repeated.
After the meeting was adjourned, Golat told me that I set up the camera to deliberately intimidate and threaten council. "Told me" is a euphemism I use for the wording that a man with a gun uses at a public meeting when he decides that the sight and use of a camera, at a televised public meeting, constitutes a deliberate threat against public officials. For those that watched the televised proceedings, few that I spoke to missed his menacing stance behind me, arms folded, in a classical confrontational posture of a scowling bouncer at the entrance to some "mob" night club, in a bad movie.
I noticed that I had become the focus of attention, for some present in council chambers, right after the meeting was adjourned and the tv cameras were turned off. My short profane outburst, heard by some, was my emotional vocal response to the baseless accusations from the city's top cop, with whom, until then, I had what I considered a candid, civil and sociable acquaintanceship. To those that found my profanity offensive, my apology.
Among other things, the Michigan Open Meetings Act 267 of 1976 ensures:
(1) All meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available to the general public. All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting except as otherwise provided in this act. The right of a person to attend a meeting of a public body includes the right to tape-record, to videotape, to broadcast live on radio, and to telecast live on television the proceedings of a public body at a public meeting. The exercise of this right shall not be dependent upon the prior approval of the public body. However, a public body may establish reasonable rules and regulations in order to minimize the possibility of disrupting the meeting.
It was reassuring to know that the Michigan Open Meetings Act was open to arbitrary interpretation by a man carrying a gun on his hip. Cops and politics don't mix, worse than city managers and politics don't mix.
Regarding other issues that may have lead to Golat's interference, and menacing accusation, it is my intent to make them an agenda item for the next council meeting.
06/15/07 Due to my perception of continued evasion, lies, and denial, regarding the Lakeside Road issues, I deferred my attention to perceived threats for a later date.