Yesterday's Cooper City Commission meeting melted down in near-chaos in front of a troop of Boy Scouts -- and we have video.
It all began when a citizen had the audacity to criticize Mayor Debby Eisinger.Longtime resident and former City Commissioner Gladys Wilson, speaking during the public-input part of the meeting, said that Eisinger had lied during a previous meeting about the state's red-light camera bill. Wilson said that Eisinger claimed that Gov. Charlie Crist had signed the red-light bill during the March 11 meeting, giving the commission the green light to discuss it. The problem was that the bill has not been signed (Crist actually signed the controversial legislation March 13).
"Why did the mayor feel compelled to lie?" Wilson asked.
That's when Eisinger interrupted.
"You know what, Mrs. Wilson, you are out of order because that is a slanderous comment," the mayor said.
Wilson, who isn't one to be trifled with, immediately mentioned the First Amendment and demanded that she be allowed to finish her allotted three minutes.
"She is being asked to sit down," said Eisinger. "Does any commissioner object to my ruling her out of order? Her behavior is totally inappropriate; she is not in compliance with the rules."
Again, Eisinger repeated "she is totally out of order" and told Wilson, "Please take your seat; there are Boy Scouts here this evening, and if you could show some decency and respect... it would be greatly appreciated."
"Why didn't you show decency and respect to us?" snapped Wilson.
Then Eisinger unilaterally called the meeting into recess and walked out of room. The problem is that the mayor didn't have the authority to pull off such a stunt.
"The meeting is still in order," said a city staffer. "The mayor cannot recess the meeting under the proper rules."
Another unidentified city official pleaded with Wilson: "There are children here, Gladys, please. Gladys, there are young children here..."
"Don't you repeat that to me one more time," said Wilson. "Just shut it."
You can see it on the video after the jump. If you want to skip to the good stuff, it starts at the two-minute mark.
It's blurry, but it gets the job done. Three observations:
-- Red-light cameras suck.
-- If Eisinger had let Wilson finish her little speech instead of interrupting and improperly trying to recess the meeting, the Boy Scouts wouldn't have gotten nearly so good a show.
-- I haven't been able to research the May 11 meeting to see what Eisinger said, but a source reports that the mayor did indeed announce that the governor had signed the bill when he hadn't. If that is true, then the gist of what Wilson said wasn't slanderous at all and the mayor is way out there in the wrong.