Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Was Angle Rude to ACLU?

Fifteen minutes is only a tiny sand of time, but in a government meeting, it's an eternity. It is very rare that a member of the public be given that kind of time to address his or her elected representatives. In Allentown, you have three minutes before a loud buzzer goes off. In Bethlehem, you stare at a clock that ticks off your five minutes, second by second. At the Bethlehem Area School Board, a Business Manager interrupts citizen orations with shouts of "thirty seconds". But as Northampton County Council Prez, Ron Angle does let the people speak.

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."


Anonymous said...

Yes, without question!! It is called courtesy of the Floor, not courtesy of Angle. If you agree with him you can yammer for hours but if you say something he doesn't like he interrupts and harangues.

Great thanks to Lamont McClure for telling him to shut the Hell up and let the lady speak. For Christ's sake O'Hare, stop loving Angle for just a minute and accept that he is horrible regarding courtesy of the Floor. The only valid opinion is his, the only facts are his. Courtesy of the Floor should not be about being judged by Angle, it is about citizens having their say without fear of being hounded by a petty dictator.

His behavior is boorish and as a former attorney you know that Bernie. If you were a real friend you would tell him to stop being impressed with the sound of his own voice and shut the Hell up when someone else is speaking.
This is exactly why a person like Angle should be kept far away from any power. some people just don't have the temperament for it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Like you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:30, is not the President of county Council and has Ron Angle pegged. You cannot really be defending Angle's behavior of grilling people who want to exercise their right to speak during courtesy of the floor. I have never seen a County Council before Angle, go after or interrupt private citizens in such a mean and rude fashion. I cannot believe you defend this reprehensible behavior.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There was nothing remotely rude in the way Angle interacted with this ACLU lady. I have seen Angle get rude to people who attack him personally, and that is his right.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Angle never sets a time limit at the BEGINNING of a meeting because then he would have to abide by that time limit when someone is giving a "Love Letter" speech about him! Bernie....take a look at the minutes given to Mr. Chris Miller! Not sure what Mr. Angle does for you (that is a thought I don't even want to think about) but it is obvious that people are beginning to get fed up with his antics! Just read the comments on your own blog.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to what Angle said it is not just a township issue. If he was honest in his answer, he would have told the woman that he tried to engineer a resolution through Council without learning anything about the horrible track record of this company because County involvement was essential. Without it, there would not even be an issue for the township to consider.

Second point. Today's paper confirms a private meeting between Angle and GEO. So much for open government. So much for transparency. So much for avoidance of conflicts of interest real or perceived.

Third point. Here is your chance to malign the next group of citizens opposed to your patron, good citizens of Upper Mt. Bethel who are against the private prison. Must be a bunch of union backed, unintelligent, biased GOONS.

Why cant people just understand that this great protector of the public knows what is best for us and we should just adopt the bobble head stance of his acolyte council members with signs of brain activity optional. Angle can forget about this issue. Its dead on delivery. The value of his adjacent property will be saved from the development of the land next to it. He can refocus his vendetta de jour of getting rid of the Court Services position.

Can't you just see the guiding hand of God in all this?

Anonymous said...

Angle needs to wise up and get council's support of a 5 min. limit on public comment. With that would be a proibition on interrupting or engaging in a debate with the commentor. That would mean tha Angle would have to bite his tongue which he finds harder to do than use proper English. The ACLU rep was entitled to make a point and that is it. These meetings run far too long. They lack any kind of business leadership. It is a circus atmosphere with Angle as a clumsy ringmaster.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Amazing, Angle is castigated for NOT setting a 5-minute limit on speakers. He is slammed because instead of greeting the public with stony silence, he actually listens to them and engages them In the case f the ACLU lady, he was actually answering many of her questions.

Now as far as the prison for illegals is concerned, Angle obviously did meet with GEO representatives before having them come to the finance committee and then a full council. There is nothing even remotely improper in that. Do you think the only place he can talk to someone is at a council meeting?

And what is the County's involvement? As he said, the only thing he proposed was putting Northampton on equal footing with nearly every other County, which has a contract with ICE. Northampton does not. Angle stated that though the County's name might be needed on the paperwork with ICE, this is strictly a matter for Upper Mount Bethel.

Angle does own land near this proposed site, but I have to question whether its value goes up or down with a detention center next to it. In any event, Angle never voted on the resolution to avoid a conflict.

Lts of Angle haters out there. THat's what happens when you do what is right as opposed to what is politically expedient.

Anonymous said...

Ron supports the plan and it is his style to insult, attack or blame anyone that stands in his way. He has over reached and is loosing support fast in the Slate Belt. Even re Upper Mt. Bethel Twsp supervisors are throwing him under the bus over this prison thing.


Tomorrow will be interesting. Is Angle going to the GEO meeting? Is all of Upper Mt. Bethel crazy cause they oppose Ronnie's prison? Look elsewhere for your answers...

As Bernie's full disclosure says he is in the bag for peole.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm not sure whether I oppose or support the idea. I'd need to know more. What I do know is that the actual video of the county meeting involving the ACLU reveals that at no time was Angle even remotely rude to this woman. His haters must paint him that way, regardless of the truth. Now, the Gracedale goons (not Upper Mount Bethel residents) will seize on this to try to alienate Angle. McClure has been trying, and failing, to do it for years.

In any event, a link to the meeting is on my post. I welcome readers to look at it and decide for themselves.

Anonymous said...

You fail to appreciate an important distinction. There are many who disagree with Angle who don't happen to hate him. Actually, if anything he is more a of creature to be pitied rather than despised.

He is not a private citizen. He is a public official. The attacks you describe as personal are criticisms of his public behavior. He repeatedly demeans the office he holds by his child like antics and bullying of those around him. Disagreement among representatives is very healthy and democratic. Differing views can be expressed without the inevitable ad personal attacks against those who disagree that are engrained in his view of political discourse.

With regard to GEO, if he felt it wise not to vote due to a potential conflict, then wouldn't you agree that he should not have participated in the discussion leading up the vote?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No question that Angle does launch personal attacks, although he has restrained himself as Council Prez. But the attacks launched against him, and from the podium, are in fact very personal. Accusations that he is attempting to enrich himself at the public expense are attacks aimed at his integrity. It happens all the time. The Gracedale Goons can be heard muttering "asshole" and other epithets during meetings. Their insane bog most recently has him pitted in battle against Jesus Christ. So please, don't tell me he gets no personal attacks. All anyone has to do is read the comments on this blog.

And in this specific case, where McClure and Dietrich both dup on him, where's the rude behavior? I have linked to the meeting. There is nothing even remotely rude in the way Angle treated this woman from the ACLU. The only rudeness I saw came from MCClure, who interrupted when Angle was trying to answer a question.

Anonymous said...

He's a proven vote getter and political winner. If he ran for ten offices, he'd win them all. His supporters are a silent majority, but a majority nonetheless. Selling Gracedale and fighting against higher taxes has improved his standing with his constituents. Angle for frickin' president. Sorry, haters.

Anonymous said...

Mr. o hare do you attend the same meetings as i do cuz everyone i have attended angle was always rude interrupting and never pays attention tothe speaker him and his girlfriend Mrs. thierry wisper sweet nothings in each others ears she would be better of sitting in is lap but thats your job
and if it is upper mount bethels supervisors decsion to make county council should not have any say what so ever like i said before ron is up to something he must be getting paid off on the side for comeing up with all this shit that comes out of his mouth he wants to sell Gracedale to arabs and open a detention center for illegals that should be deported tell him to come back from la la land and get a grip with reality

Anonymous said...

I see Bernie has begun to debate himself with the last post. Or was that Ron posting? No, wrong venacular.

Anonymous said...

Gracedale to Arabs?

The debate gets better and better.

Anonymous said...

yes Gracedale to arabs the same ones that bought dauphin county's home they are from kuwait its like bush was with the oil companys we should get a hold of mike moore to see what other kind of dirt he can find on ron angle

Anonymous said...

Mr. angle has no integrity what are you talkin bout bernie

Anonymous said...

Angle voted against the Dietrich tax cut. We got the same tax as Stoffa gave us but at least Stoffa saved Gracedale Angles budget depends on Gracedale going away. Angle's budget is all smoke and mirrors. He pushed Country Council to vote for the private prison company that has an option on his adjoining land.

Angle as Council President, is really showing people his true side. Bernie's beer goggle approach aside, the "Full Angle" is on display and it is not pretty.

This is the guy everyone has known about for decades.

Remember Bernie, the only people Angle "engages" are those he disagrees with. You as an attorney are very familiar with the tactic. I give Angle credit, even if he is unaware of the tactic, but as you know when someone has a point to make you don't want made you interject your own "facts" to hopefully throw them off their game.

That trick is as old as the hills. Stop making it sound like a virtue.

Another Republican lawyer

Anonymous said...

Elected officials get nailed all the time during courtesy of the floor. I have been to County Council meetings over the years and almost every council person realized that went with the territory.

In the case of Angle we make an exception? I have heard elected officials called names and blamed for everything including obesity. As I stated most are very mature and sit and listen or don't for all I know but they are not rude like Angle.

I have seen him at many meeting Bernie and there is a big difference in how he treats and interacts with people he agrees with as opposed to those he doesn't.

Not everyone there wants a Ron Angle education. Some folks are there to speak to "all" the elected officials and Angle should learn to leave his ego at home and sit back and let people have their say.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"You as an attorney are very familiar with the tactic."

Bernie is not an attorney any longer, he was disbarred a long time ago. Don't give attorney's a bad name like that.

Anonymous said...

Don't give attorney's "what"?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"We got the same tax as Stoffa gave us but at least Stoffa saved Gracedale Angles budget depends on Gracedale going away"

So did Stoffa's. He made that very clear.

Anonymous said...

no stoffas didn't his funded gracedale for the year get your facts strait

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa stated, both to Council and later the Chamber of Commerce, that the only way his budget works is if Gracedale is sold.


You are doing what you usually do - lie.

Anonymous said...

There was money in the Stoffa budget to pay all the bills for a year, whether Gracedale was sold or not. Stoffa was not sure about 2012. Angle's budget is a false budget as there is no money allocated beyond June for Gracedale. If it is still County owned Home the County "must" fund it.

If not, the State will get an injunction from a judge in a heartbeat forcing the County to fulfill its responsibility and the County will be open to hundreds of civil suits from residents and their families.

This council has really screwed the pooch on this BS budget.

Anonymous said...

Don't disparage the great General George Patton by putting Angles face on his body. Now if you put Angles face on Hermann Goering's body that would make sense