Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Follow-up on Councilor Pope’s “Fellowship” with Steve Brocato and Friends.

In This Edition:
- Audacity
- Reports in the local papers
- Other Spin
- Brocato’s 911 Call
- Who are these people????
- Chapter 130: General Offenses; 130.045 Public Urination
[Edited on 9/8/10]

“Crime once exposed has no refuge but in audacity.” – Tacitus, Roman Senator & Historian (AD 56 – AD 117)

The other day, when organizing my neglected file cabinets, I ran across the old quote above scribbled on an auto insurance envelope from 2006. Having just read in last Thursday’s Courier that Steve Brocato said, in reference to the incident at Milo Pope’s office a week ago, “I am fearful for my safety and the safety of my family,” the observation by Tacitus rang startlingly true.

(For one side of the story, see:
What was Milo Pope Doing While AWOL from the August 24, 2010 Council Meeting?

For other accounts, see:
The Police Incident Report on Scribd.

If you read the police report, two things stick out:

1) The accounts are remarkably consistent in that four people, including former Councilor and recall supporter Andrew Bryan, as well as former Judge and current sitting Councilor Pope, stated that Mr. Brocato came over, (from across the street) and knocked Jason’s hat off his head (Harassment: ORS 166.065), which escalated the argument.
2) Mr. Brocato is the only participant labeled as a suspect in the report.

All three of the men who crossed the street were hurling insults, particularly at Jason Bland, who returned them in kind. As we were within our rights, and had done no illegal offense to them, and given that they came over to verbally, and in Brocato’s case, physically, harass myself or Jason, it is particularly difficult to understand why Mr. Brocato called the police to say, according to the police report, that Jason Bland “was trying to start a fight with Steve Brocato.” (The audio of the 911 call from Mr. Brocato has "First he tried to start one with me.") It is at least as difficult to understand why, if Mr. Brocato was in fact “fearful for [his] safety and the safety of [his] family,” why he came across the street to get in Jason Bland’s face and knock his hat off in a clear act of aggression. (For more on this point, see the segment on the 911 call from Mr. Brocato to police dispatch below.)

My take is that once his aggressive actions had been clearly exposed by witnesses, he resorted, in his comment to the Courier, to one of his seemingly favorite responses, audacity (In the context mentioned by Tacitus, above).

The reports in the local papers were similarly curious.

The headline in the Courier is “Dispute Started Over Men Photographing Meeting Between Pope And Friends.” What they left out was “When Pope Was Ditching The Council Meeting” he could have, and should have been attending, to meet with his friend and plaintiff against the city. He was also meeting with other former Councilors and ex-employees who had been involved in the recall of sitting Councilors.

What followed in the Courier article was Mr. Pope’s spin on the events:

- He was just gathering with friends for a “few” drinks and “fellowship.” (Note that except for one statement by Bland, all mention of the degree of drinking was absent from the police report.) I had not mentioned to the police what appeared to be public urination under the tree by the parking lot because I had not yet reviewed the photo to confirm what we thought we were witnessing (see previous blog or below for photo). I have since been informed by a friend that the old Higgins medical clinic, which houses the law offices, does have a private bathroom. I ask you, what degree of drinking, especially if you happen to be a former judge and sitting Councilor, would allow you to urinate in public when you have a private bathroom available? I also know that we discussed with the officers that some of the participants might not be able to drive a motor vehicle home safely and that it was good of Jennifer to call her husband to come get her after the police had showed up.
- He had “previously turned in his input” to Council so he didn’t feel it was necessary for him to attend the meeting to hear the input of other Councilors or the public.
- “We were discussing city business and what happened in the past, [ground hog day again!] and where we are going.” Who is “We?” I was under the impression that the past and where we are going are the public concerns of all of Baker City, hopefully at a public Council meeting, not the private planning “fellowship” of former city employees and ex-Councilors upset with the firing of Steve Brocato and the results of the recall election. Just who does Mr. Pope represent?
- Pope stated that he asked me “What the hell are you doing?” He neglected to mention that he started the barrage of insults by calling me a “creep.”

I do not fault the reporter for not reporting my version of the events, because she faithfully reported that I told her I would put them on my blog, which she referenced. I do feel, that if the Courier were not a weekly, that they might have waited for a more balanced account before reporting on the incident.

To their credit, the Herald Editorial Board ran an editorial with the title “ Councilor Pope lets down constituents.” It was all down hill from there.

- While reporting that he chose “to attend a private gathering at his office” instead of attending to his duties as Councilor, they left out the details of who he was meeting with and for what purpose. Was it a group of nuns intent on helping Baker City solve its current problems with Council squabbles, or a training session put on by professionals to help Councilors function in a more positive fashion at Council meetings? No, it was a “Ground Hog Day” planning meeting with the supporters of the failed recall and an ex-City Manager who is suing the city and other Councilors.
- Did they interview anyone else involved to get other aspects and views on the story on the meeting? If they did, you wouldn’t know it from the editorial, even though they had access to the Courier article and my blog. Instead they focused on Mr. Pope’s bypass surgery as a way of excusing a nearly 13% absence rate, and that Mr. Pope regrets his decision to be out drinking with friends (the latter not mentioned), while totally ignoring all the other important aspects of the story, like Milo’s and Mr. Brocato’s behavior.

Speaking of spin. . . .

Both the Herald and I have a way for people to comment on what we write. Both of us moderate comments. I have a policy that does not allow wild and unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks from “anonymous” commenters, while the Herald allows some, but apparently not all, comments, regardless of whether they are simple ad hominem attacks that don’t address the arguments or relevant questions. Wild, emotional attacks get readers attention I guess, even if it doesn’t contribute to understanding.

There is a poster to the Herald’s “Disqus” comments facility (for example, see: Councilor Pope lets down constituents) called “FreeBakerCity.” He or she, with the telling picture of a pansy for their photo ID, has free reign to insult others on the Herald forum and elsewhere, even if the pansy refuses to tell you who they really are. (more on the comments and ad hominem attacks I receive in a later post.) Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone took responsibility for their statements by revealing their identity?

Brocato’s 911 Call

Steve Brocato, who initiated the escalation of the aggressive confrontation by Milo’s friends on myself and Jason Bland, called the police using the emergency 911 number, as mentioned in the previous post.

[Edited out 911 Call, 7/27/13]

The facts are, as reported by four witnesses, including Mr. Pope and former Councilor Bryan, that Mr. Brocato came across the street to confront Mr. Bland, by yelling in his face and knocking Mr. Bland's cap off of his head. Mr. Bland reacted like many men would, by returning their insults in kind, but he did not assault or harass them to the best of my knowledge. He was clearly ready to defend himself against Mr. Brocato's harassment though, and no vicious insult went unanswered. I did witness Pope and Bryan trying to separate the two men, by pushing Mr. Brocato away from Mr. Bland. Despite the fact that Mr. Brocato came across the street to confront and harass Mr. Bland, Brocato tells law enforcement during the 911 call that Bland is harassing people on the sidewalk and is "trying to start fights with people." These are blatantly false statements given Mr. Brocato's actions, which I and others witnessed and testified to. He says Bland is accusing him of assaulting him, without telling dispatch that he is the one who provoked Bland by yelling in his face and knocking his hat off. When the dispatcher asks him if any alcohol was involved, he responds, " No, no, not at all," even though both he and Milo Pope have admitted that they were drinking.

The police incident report, based on the testimony of the witnesses interviewed, names only one suspect: Stephen Brocato. Interestingly enough, in addition to providing the police with a new building during his term of profligate spending of taxpayer dollars, Brocato was appointed to the 911 Consolidated Dispatch Oversight Board (see last entry) for the term of 09/19/07 to 11/30/11. Wondering if that gives him the right to file false reports on 911.

[9/8/10. I just learned today that the County has changed their website to show that Mr. Brocato's position is now vacant. This occurred in the last day or two. I have also learned that the position held by Mr. Brocato previously, changes with each new appointment of a City Manager. Whomever is the City Manager at the time fills that position on the board. Mr. Brocato's term ended when he was fired, but the County had not updated their website to reflect that fact. The new City Manager now sits on that board. My apologies.-- Chris]

Who are these people?????

Up until recently, I have hesitated to criticize the council for over a year because I did not want to feed the anti-Council hysteria of the recall forces. Fault me for that if you will, but many of us have been on the defensive and focused on combating the destructive irrational vitriol coming from those who simply wanted to destroy the present majority Council at any cost. Given the slate in the upcoming election, I am over that, but I think that it is time to name those who were involved in the recall because so many recall proponents can’t seem to let their animosity go. It should have been done earlier so that when people read the very critical letters to the editor, or if people experience political difficulties in their workplace due to their position of supporting the surviving four Councilors, they can know who supported the recall, and to what extent they did so.

Perhaps this information should have been posted months ago, but I, and others, had hoped that the divisiveness would end without having to clarify who was involved. That has not happened, so in the interest of people being able to connect the dots, I have posted the petitions for the recall of Beverly Calder, even though some of this may be common knowledge. Many of these names are also on the recall petitions for Dennis Dorrah. Take careful note of the politicians, realtor interests, city employees, and constant critics who signed or circulated the petitions against our elected officials in the costly and unnecessary recall campaign. Please do connect all the dots.

When reading the Recall PDF files (below) on, you can click on the "Zoom In" button (magnifying glass with a + plus) on the bottom control panel to see them better. Keep clicking on it until you can easily read the names.

The first 30 pages can be found here on Scribd:

Pages 31 to 70 can be found here:

Pages 71 to 93 can be found here:

Chapter 130: General Offenses; 130.045 Public Urination

Chapter 130: General Offenses

130.045 Public Urination

It shall be unlawful for any person to urinate or defecate in or upon any street, alley, public place, or in any place open to public view.

(More to follow)

- Milo Takes a Break


Anonymous said...

A few years back the former city manager had an incident with a young girl at a school game? Didn't he squeeze her face? How did they get her family to not press charges?

Maybe the drinking fellowship was a celebration of sorts, because the new city manager was hand picked by the "group" or a representive of theirs. A little coup.

Christopher Christie said...

Beats me. I have no way of knowing.


Anonymous said...

The family of the girl that Steve assaulted did try to press charges but it was all swept under the rug by police (Local and State)