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May 12, 2005

City Hall Water Cooler Check Needed


As accustomed as we have become to weird and fractious behavior in Jennifer Dougherty's City Hall, events in recent days signal Her Honor may be reaching a point of danger - to herself. Her capability of damaging other people has been amply proven; ask former Weinberg director Stuart Seal.

We can scarcely believe her reaction to Monday's bullet incident as reported in the local and Washington media: For the "crime" of handing a bullet to her sister at the mayor's restaurant, Vietnam Veteran Donald Trombley was locked up on a $50,000 bail.

Reports agree Mr. Trombley told Diane Dougherty: "Give this to Jennifer. She 'll know what it's for." He has, it seems, a history of carrying firearms, but not that night. He was thrown into the hoosegow for "allegedly" writing aggressive letters to the mayor, requesting return of weapons seized by police.

If aggressive writing about City Hall is now a crime, several of our columnists can be measured for jail cells. They share with Mr. Trombley, however, constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech.

If, indeed, as charged, the homeless veteran threatened Ms. Dougherty, it was not by anything reported Monday. Her off-the-wall tirade about standing up to bullies scarcely applies, not in Mr. Trombley's words or demeanor as portrayed by the media.

But "bullying" is the only word that fits the reported performance by the mayor's father, Robert Dougherty, in ordering the Frederick Garden Club off the sidewalk near the family's Irish store last Saturday.

With full permission of the Everedy Square owner, members had set up a table during downtown's Mayfest, as a way of funding their good deeds in the community. According to various sources, Mr. Dougherty charged like Jesus clearing moneylenders out of the temple, insisting in a shrill voice the ladies be gone! At once!

When Bert Anderson attempted to reason with the mayor, we are told "stand up to bullies" Jennifer got in the Square owner's face, hardly an act of civil decency.

There may be more to both stories than we've read or heard, but as things stand now on the public record, it's time again to run a check on City Hall water fountains. Sounds like somebody may have been spiking them again!

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