Last week, Angle permitted the ACLU's Emma Cleveland explain, for fifteen minutes, why a privatized federal detention center for illegal immigrants is a bad thing, no matter how many local jobs it might create in the slate belt. He let her speak even though she started things off by saying she's a Lehigh County resident. He let her speak even though he personally appears to favor a private detention center being advocated by private prison giant GEO. He let her speak even though she claimed incorrectly that there would be no immigration courtrooms in this proposed detention center.
But Angle did what he frequently does when people come to the podium. Instead of listening to her with stony silence, he engaged her. He shared what he knew with her. He certainly made no attempt to silence her, although he does love to talk.
At one point Emma asked Council for a "clarification." She wanted to know if County Council would advocate this detention center if the host township, Upper Mount Bethel Township, were opposed.
"If Upper Mount Bethel decided that they do not want to allow this prison ..."
"That's their business," Angle quickly stated.
"That's their business?" Emma asked.
"We are not getting into any ..."
Although Angle was just answering Emma's question, Lamont McClure himself interrupted their exchange with this. "Stop interrupting her. It's courtesy of the floor. Let her talk."
Then Emma just continued with her question, and went on for another seven minutes.
You don't have to take my word for any of this. Go to the webcast, and you can see for yourself that Emma was allowed to speak from 32:26 to 47:06. McClure's attempt to marginalize Angle occurred at the 39th minute.
Incidentally, Emma was followed by another speaker, a nurse who claimed to be "in solidarity" with the ACLU, and who complained for 2 1/2 minutes about "human rights abuses" at private detention centers for illegals. So basically, Angle permitted two people to complain to Council for 17 1/2 minutes about something that is really in the hands of Upper Mount Bethel Township.
The very next day, McClure complained to The Express Times about Angle.
"He interrupts them, harangues them and he generally treats them with a lack of civility," McClure whines, when what Angle really did was have a fairly interesting conversation with the ACLU. What really surprises me is that Council member Tom Dietrich voices a similar lament, complaining about Angle's treatment of this woman.
Anyone who views that webcast and who does not already hate Angle will walk away with a completely different impression.
At the end of the meeting, Angle told Council members that he's well aware that, in recent weeks, he's been called a dictator and other names. Angle was concerned whether other Council members, other than McClure, felt that way, too. So he prepared a letter of resignation as Council President, and would submit it if it was their wish.
"As President of County Council, I serve at the pleasure of you people. So I've made up a letter of resignation, which if you people want, I will gladly submit, because if I'm not serving you well, the last thing I want to do is be here not serving you well, quite frankly. Anyone interested in me putting this in, other than Mr. McClure?"
One of the Council members saying "No" was Tom Dietrich. He had said the same thing privately just two weeks before. But on the day after the Council meeting, Dietrich was stabbing Angle in the back, with complaints about Angle's treatment of an ACLU representative.
During Thursday night's Council meeting, Dietrich had proposed an idiotic 0.1 mill tax reduction. Council had just avoided a 20% tax hike. And as Council member John Cusick pointed out, the County needs that money just in case a Gracedale sale fails. But Dietrich wanted to pander.
Now Angle is no saint. He makes plenty of mistakes. But if he was not there, Northampton County would be raising taxes. And Dietrich would continue making speeches nobody understands.
Chris Miller was at Thursday night's Council meeting, too, and he had a pretty good assessment of Angle.
"Is he controversial? You bet. I used to have a head of hair before I heard of Ron Angle. He is a very controversial individual. But you know, sometimes, that's what it takes. And the man is taking the arrows and I think he deserves to be appointed and continue what I think is a very fine job here.
"I think you saw a large change in Mr. Angle when he apologized to Mr. Stoffa. I think these two men can work together and get the job done."