An investigation has been launched into the behavior of a city council member in Vancouver, Wash., after she lost her cool at a meeting when citizens wanted to argue over a light rail plan, ordered one member of the public out of the room, ordered the council chairman to “gavel down” a constituent and ordered a colleague on the council to “Shut up!”
The performance of Councilwoman Jeanne Harris is available on YouTube:
Harris told one speaker not to address individual members of the committee, and when he questioned the censorship she appeared to be suggesting, she stated, “This is our meeting and we’ll have it the way we want it.”
When the speaker again mentioned a council member’s name, she erupted, “What are you doing?”
She ordered the chairman to “Gavel him down. Gavel him down. Gavel down.”
Harris eventually left the meeting while it still was in progress, only to return after its conclusion and berate other members of the council.
“You do not chastise me like that,” she warned, prompting the comment from Councilwoman Jeanne Stewart: “You need to go somewhere and get sane. Go somewhere and fix yourself. … You need to settle down.”
Harris’ response? “Shut up!”
A local television station’s report on the investigation also is available:
According to the Oregonian newspaper, Harris, whose antics have brought considerable unwanted attention to the city, was out of the country on a fellowship but issued an apology, stating she “behaved in a manner that is not normal for me.”
Mayor Tim Leavitt in a statement to the newspaper came her to defense, saying the videos have resulted “in more of a condemnation of Councilmember Harris than is deserved.”
But the newspaper reported locals are so upset they’ve demanded her removal from office.
The investigation reportedly centers on Harris’ actions that could be interpreted as failing to treat fellow council member Jeanne Stewart and others “with respect and dignity.”
Leavitt reportedly established a three-person committee to look into the concerns, and the results are expected to be presented to the full council.
On the newspaper’s forum page, there was little sympathy or support for the council member.
“This issue has nothing to do with ‘parties involved.’ There was a blatant disrespect for the citizens of Clark County who came to speak and for Councilwoman Stewart. This matter does deserve the attention it’s getting and more. The kind of behavior that Councilwoman Harris displayed should never be tolerated or minimize,” wrote one participant.
Said another, “Elected officials have forgotten who they work for, the people. Would ms Harris speak like that to her boss at her [place of employment? I should think not, otherwise she would be unemployed.”
“She WAS talking to her boss,” added another. “We are the tax payers who pay her paycheck. … I really hope the people don’t let this slide. She needs to be removed from her position permanently. Her behavior is UNACCEPTABLE.”
At the Plain Truth news site came this comment: “This woman should be thrown out of office for crapping all over the very citizens that pay her salary. She won’t let the people say what they want in this city council meeting. This is the perfect example of what is going wrong in the U.S.A. Politicians think they can silence the people and continue to do what ever they desire.”