At a recent City Council meeting I watched online, I witnessed an interesting and egregious statement made by councilmember Peter Blake. Anyone who pays attention to the City Council meeting knows that Mr. Blake can specialize in rude and aggressive behavior, towards other councilmembers and the public as well. By the way, I have had several online conversations with Mr. Blake and found him to be very interesting, albeit opinionated, community member.
At the council meeting, I’m referencing, the mayor had mentioned the recent workshop the Council had attended – a refresher on Robert’s Rules of Order, the standard guide for conducting meetings. Upon which reference, Mr. Blake blurted out in an aggressive tone that he had no intention of following the generally agreed-upon format for meetings. His words and attitude were akin to a child folding his arms across his chest and shouting, “No, I won’t, and you can’t make me!”
In fact, he’s right, because he knows that he can get away with this unprofessional attitude. There was no comment by other councilmembers after this verbal outbreak. This, along with dozens of Mr. Blake’s outbreaks, went unheeded, and therefore allowed.
At such times, Mr. Blake, an erudite and intelligent man, not only appears to be an immature bully, but also the Council appears much weakened by not forcefully addressing the forceful elephant in the room. Mild admonitions have had no effect.
Since when is it OK for one councilmember to be the renegade, rife with nasty insults and refusals to cooperate with the modus operandi, while the rest of the Council remains silent? To not challenge him amounts to letting him have his childish way. Rules for 4, none for 1?
I have been attending City Council meetings for decades. Councilmembers have generally maintained the decorum necessary to allow a sometimes very heated discussion among the group. That’s how it should be. But for one member to shout out refusals to cooperate, and to insult others, is totally detrimental to the ability of all to express themselves—and come to productive resolutions of conflict.
To me, the sad thing is that if Mr. Blake were to temper his approach and attitude, others might be more inclined to consider his ideas. He just might be more successful in forwarding his agenda. He could better forward his agenda by rational argument rather than insult and denigration.
Anita Dobbs, Laguna Beach