On April 16, a politically charged video of the April 14 council meeting found its way to YouTube. In the clip, an angry speaker addresses not the council, but anyone who's listening. She directs listeners to a blog and urges them to stop the double talk of city officials and vote in a new city council. Finally, the speaker uses a new traffic roundabout as a metaphor for the council's performance: a big circlejerk.
Angry public speakers are hardly newsworthy, but what followed wasn't as common. When the city council members thought the mics were off, the real public comment started.
Clearly stressed from the comment period, Mayor Janice Peters and the rest of council, nervously chitchatted. Finally, councilman Rick Grantham made an attempt at levity that has stirred some bad sentiment in the fishing town.
"There must be a lot of hungry squirrels out there," Grantham joked, "'cause all the nuts were in here."
The YouTube video has been viewed more than a thousand times since it was posted, and the link has been circulated by e-mail by an anonymous sender.
Mayor Peters, who is running for re-election against current councilmember Melody DeMeritt, defended the small talk by noting that the statements were never meant to be public.
"What was caught on tape," Peters said, "is what we said privately to each other There is usually an automatic shut-off on the mics."
Grantham said he was just trying to lighten the mood a little after a tense meeting. He found out that the comment was caught on tape immediately after the break, but didn't think it would turn into anything.
"I really don't see it as a big issue," Grantham said. "Really, let's quit taking everything so seriously."