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PUBLIC SHAMING and SPIRIT of Maxine Waters
During my tenure on the Development District, Disney became concerned that they had agreed to build a road and began looking for ways to get out of that agreement. I argued that the right-of-way should be left as it was and the road, if needed, could be built later.
Disney then began leaning on the home owners association and found a symmetric ear in an old guy (probably about the age that I now am) who took up their cause.
I held Disney off for nearly a year, but in the end the home owners voted to give Disney ownership of the right-of-way, receiving nothing in return.
The land, arguably, was worth up to $15-million dollars.
Into the Valley of the Pygmies. I remember saying, as I watched this unfold, “I am living in the Valley of the Pygmies” and “am surrounded pygmite behaviour”.
Donald Trump knows how to negotiate — and so do I. My pressure on Disney through the Development District was to get a laundry list of concessions. They eventually might get the land, but we might get ballfields, dog parks and maybe a parking garage.
Hard to believe. Idiocy! …
Well, it was a long time ago. — But my philosophy was always fight, do the best I could and win-or-lose, move on.
I fought an umpteen number of battles owning newspapers, winning lots and losing lots. I tried to be a ‘man for all seasons’ and be true to my principals and, when a gale raged around me, let it rage.
THE OTHER DAY I am in a restaurant and the guy who screwed the right-of-way deal years ago appears out of no where, right beside my table.
He’s obviously been watching TV and decides to an an “antifa“.
He starts by berating me about the right-of-way deal years ago saying he was held up to hatred, contempt and ridicule by an article I wrote about him in the local newspaper.
I probably wrote it, but over my career I wrote tens of thousands of articles. I have no recollection of this article.
“You never confronted me man-to-man before you wrote it,” he says.
“You have no balls,” he says.
I began to respond by pointing out that his tampering around in the issue had cost Celebration residents upwards of $15-million and …
“We’re not talking about that,” he says. “You have no balls.”
I shrug … As late as early this morning, I think I did … but …
For heaven sake.
This guy was supposedly once a superintendent of schools somewhere. He needs better writers. He doesn’t seem too articulate or much less creative.
I begin thinking how I could do better.
But then I notice that he has fallen silent. I take this to mean that is is ready for a Big Really Loud Shouting Match to break out.
“Okay,” I venture, stopping to see if this might get him going again. When it becomes clear he is waiting for me to express outrage, I continue, saying,, “okay, I have no balls. I’ve got it. You’ve said it three times. What else ya got?”
“Nothing,” he says. He pouts off.
This guy has been watching too much ‘Maxine Waters’. Ms. Waters, a Congresswoman from Los Angeles, has been specialising lately in exhorting people to confront and ‘shame’ people in public (Republicans and white men mostly) who they hate.
Whew. The guy who confronted me just wasn’t very good at outrage thing — but his bigger problem was that I know how to handle people like him — my newspapers regularly pissed people off … to wit …
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THE SUPERINTENDENT’S WIFE and THE TELEPHONE POLE
In my early years in Oklahoma we had a corrupt, Superintendent of Schools.
He put school money in a local bank interest free and helped himself himself to a low interest home loan. He bought himself auto tires on the school account. He did a lot of low level stuff — mostly equivalent to nipping sugar packages off restaurant tables or sticking a salt shaker in your purse.
His problem was I soon caught on to him. As the articles on his behaviour mounted up, he became angry and angrier at me.
I am such a gentleman.
“Don’t you help me!” She hissed. “I’m not talking to you! I don’t want you doing anything for me. I’m not talking to you.”
We had wound up standing outside the post office and were face to face. A crowd was gathering.
I stood, silent, as she ranted and hissed. Giving credit where credit is due, she was quite good at this, and she was able to keep at it for quite a while as I, and others, stood and watched.
Eventually, however, she began to run out of steam and, running out of breath and stamina, decided to conclude by shouting, “I AM NOT TALKING TO YOU!!!”
She was ready for me to rage back at her.
I remained silent for a moment longer because lots of time angry people think of more good stuff and get going again. This time, however, it was clear that, with that last I AM NOT TALKING TO YOU screed, that she was done.
“Nice talking to you, Patsy,” I said.
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After that neither she, nor her husband, would greet me on the street or make eye contact with me. It was a small town so avoiding me was not easy, and not making eye contact was downright dangerous.
He went down like a sack of potatoes.
Wow — that must have really hurt. It looked like he was going to have a nasty bump.
I helped him up. “Bill?” I said. “BILL? Are you okay?”
“Get your hands off me,” he snarled.
I lived for this.
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THE GUY & HIS CONCRETE BLOCK
But my favourite story from my newspaper publishing days concerned an irate reader I never met.
We had run a story about something in the southern end of the county and it made this guy so angry he got a concrete block, drove thirty miles north to Grove and heaved it through the big plate glass window of the newspaper in the middle of the night.
It was a god awful mess.
The problem was, at the time there was another newspaper in town just two doors away from us.
He had thrown the concrete block through the wrong window.