Angry Neighbor Email, Part Deux

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libel, hah

The libel claim is especially ridiculous, coming from someone who has claimed to be a lawyer. Part of the definition of libel is that it has to be a defamatory and damaging remark that can be proved/disproved. If you said someone had committed fraud and they had not, that would be libel. Maybe even if you said someone was a pothead and she was not. But you can call anyone a troll or a bonehead, since those are terms with no provable meaning. I can remember that easily from a Media Law class more than 20 years ago; it's funny that someone who says she went to law school cannot.

It's a shame

Wow, this one is a real piece of work. It's a shame that someone like this can harass to the extent of driving a volunteer out of participating.

We have seen our share of uncivil behavior during times of neighborhood stress, most notably the proposed redevelopment of some properties and roads. In this last go-round, the board members plus a couple of other involved members were accused--on our public e-mail list!--of having a financial incentive to see a project go through. Since it was a public list, I was able to moderate to prevent further public libel. During a previous issue several years ago, the neighborhood list was not moderated, and things really got out of hand. Since then, the neighbors on the list will tend to self-moderate and say something if someone posts personal attacks or unnecessary vitriol.

Your situation is different (ours tend to be gut reactions, in the heat of a specific situation, when people feel threatened), and seems pretty systematic, not to mention obsessed. I agree with you that ignoring bullies doesn't work. They hate the light of day, and hate confrontation.

Vicki McFadden

Chip,
I have known Vicki for several years. The first time I realized you had an ax to grind against her was when she was first elected to the board. I saw you, Chip, at a Commanders forum and told you she would be great as a safety coordinator. You told me that in your role as the newly elected Czar of North Shoal Creek, that she was not worthy of being put on any committee. When I inquired why, you said that she had run Jerry Horn, a 70 yr old man, against your friend Alyssa Hedge, for a board position. Jerry lost. Vicki nominated him from the floor which she was allowed to do. But somehow this was against the 'rules' set up in your head that whomever the nominating committee nominated - no one should be so bold as to challenge that person.

So that was the first hint that I had about you in your new role as power monger in this tiny little neighborhood assn. As the year wore on, I became aware of how much Vicki wanted to volunteer for things, but you always found a way to frustrate her. It was sad to watch. I know how much that hurt Vicki.

You may not know this about Vicki, but she had been diagnosed with rhuematoid arthritis in her 20's. She has undergone over 100 surgeries on her hands and feet in her lifetime. I think I would have given up, but it is her fighting spirit that kept her going through life. She was the first of several children in her family who managed to put herself through college. She is a public defender of juveniles for Travis County. She attends church every Sunday. She is a great person to be around and a lot of fun. But she does have feelings and she is a fighter, kind of like me, but nicer. She has a big heart and she is my friend.

Please remove these postings about her. You can leave mine up because I have a pretty thick skin and I have been around the block too many times to know that people like you, Chip, are not worth my trouble to worry about. I would not take back a word that I said in any of those posts. And the reason you can't find anything about me when you google me is that I don't spend too much of my time on Facebook or My Space or Twitter like you do.

I copied you on my emails to the city about the city website because you had apparently set yourself up as the public relations front for the project.

Look at your post on the left hand sidebar - the one that announces what a great website we were going to see when the switch was flipped. I know that I was not the only one in shock when I saw that the entire website had been gutted and you folks wanted US to tell YOU what links we wanted to see. I have never heard of a city website designed by committee, but lo, that is what we are seeing that it is. The city website was discussed in the last ANC meeting. Were you there? I got a phone call from one of the ANC board members a few weeks ago and what that person said about having to negotiate the planning/development part of the website - - well lets just say it would probably hurt your feelings if I repeated it.

People were confused, Chip. Even the 311 operator supervisors were telling me that they had no idea the rug was going to be pulled out from under their feet. Those operators USE that website to answer calls. They are still struggling. Just as soon as they think they know where something is located , a few days later somebody else comes along with a BIG IDEA to move that link somewhere else. I have never in my life heard of a website being designed this way and I think it is an abject failure.

Is it your fault? Probably not. By CC:ing you on the emails, I had the misplaced hope that you would respond to the frustration that people were feeling about using it. I should not have cc'd you - because you do not possess the public relations skills to respond to something on the city's behalf. Whoever put you in that position made a mistake.

And Anonymous, I know who you are on this blog but you don't have the cajones to put your name on your postings. I wish you could put on your big boy pants and be a man.