Over at TheLiberalOC.com, Dan Chmielewski posted this interview with Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray. Dan and I see eye-to-eye on very little in terms of politics, but we’ve become friends over the years and are able to debate issues with mutual respect – unlike the Orcs of the OC blogosphere who view disagreement as a call to destroy.
In any case, I’ll a portion of the interview, the rest of which you can read on LOC:
Surrogates arranged for me to speak with Anaheim council member Kris Murray about a week and a half ago. We had a long discussion — at least 90 minutes — off the record. And then she agreed to an on the record interview which you’ll find posted below.
From a policy standpoint, we agreed to disagree on matters pertaining to the Light Rail project near Disneyland and on council redistricting. I found her to be smart, pleasant, and knowledgeable on the issues we discussed. I didn’t find her to be evil incarnate, “Maleficent” the evil Disney queen, or a litany of other phrases used to describe her that you wouldn’t want your wife, daughter or mother to ever be called. I’ll go out on a limb and say now she’ll likely never get the support from this blog for any elected office moving forward but there’s no reason not to engage her in a detailed discussion on policy. And publishing heranswers doesn’t mean we agree with her on policy issues. Dialogue is important.
Now that Ms. Murray is putting these statements on the record, readers are free to address them specifically.
Q. Before we get started, would you like to make any statements or address any specific misperceptions?
KM: I ran for City Council to accomplish positive things for the city. On a personal note, I’m a wife and mother – and a working professional, in addition to serving as a member of the City Council. My husband and I are active as volunteers in our community, very involved at our son’s school and a number of activities including sports and Cub Scouts.
My fellow council members and I are all people with families, loved ones, and history in this City. Our backgrounds, affiliations and perspectives are unique and, sometimes lead us to differing conclusions to the same problem. But I believe strongly each and every member of the Anaheim City Council cares deeply about our city.
I am proud of my record over the past three years to serve Anaheim residents, support policies to grow jobs and economic development and improve the quality of Anaheim neighborhoods.
Q, There’s been criticism from a number of fronts that attempts to blame Mayor Tait for allowing Mr. Fitzgerald time to state anti-Semitic and homophobic comments was “wrong” and even “gutter politics.” You’d stated that Fitzgerald was “an ally of the Mayor” even though he (the Mayor) denies it. Can you clarify your understanding of therelationship between Tait and Fitzgerald?
KM: Do I think that Mr. Fitzgerald is an “ally of the Mayor”? No, nor did I ever characterize him as such. But rather said that many of the most venomous attacks toward the Council are coming from “supporters of the Mayor” (that is a direct quote from my interview). Over the past year, the use of offensive language, personal attacks and outright hate speech has escalated in Council Chambers and in Anaheim generally. It has caused many in our community to think twice about attending a council meeting – or to stop attending council meetings altogether.
While Mr. Fitzgerald is no stranger to Council Chambers or shockinducing comments, his last rant went beyond the pale by any standard. However, that outburst did not seem to give any of the speakers present that day much more than a moment’s pause. As the meeting wore on and Councilmembers had the opportunity to speak we had to shout down members of the audience to be heard. All of this is clearly seen in the video archive of the meeting and is truly disconcerting.
As Mayor, there are certain powers enumerated by the charter and there is responsibility, first among them to preside over city council meetings. As presiding officer, it is the Mayor’s responsibility to maintain order and civility – when hate speech is used, it should be strongly denounced – when council members are being shouted at – the gavel is there to maintain order – even when as Mayor and presiding officer, you are opposed to the action being considered.
All that being said, I think the outcomes of this painful incident were positive ones as it forced each of us to take a step back and assess. The Mayor extended an invitation to Councilman Brandman to work on an education initiative with him and I supported the Mayor’s call for a Council resolution denouncing hate speech. And I think we all came to a realization that we agree on much more than we disagree on and when we have disagreements that we can respectfully disagree.
(Ed’s Note: If you watch the video, Murray says there are allies of the Mayor in the audience and that hate speech was uttered. Both facts are true. But she didn’t identify Mr. Fitzgerald as an ally of the Mayor. That was something Tait interpreted. I watched the replay a couple of times. In my opinion, it was a deflection of the question Rick Reiff asked, but it wasn’t what Murray critics/Tait fans said it was either).
You can read the whole thing here.