Arts committee chair resigns after comments

Before City Council members could vote to remove or censure him Tuesday night, Chris Parkinson resigned his post as chair of the city's Visual Arts Committee.

Parkinson faced the council's ire for violating the city's code of conduct in comments online March 20 on a Voice story about placing sections of the Berlin Wall in front of Mountain View's library, a decision he advised the council on as chair of the VAC.

"Council Member Ronit is from Israel," said the post the Voice removed for its offensive language. "That means she is a Rothschild mind and it shows. I am proud of her 25 percent of the time and think she is out of Rothschild whack 75 percent of the time."

In a portion called "misogynist" by council member Margaret Abe-Koga, he goes on to blame women in local government for what he called a "Rothschild ripoff."

"Our gas tax is better served fixing streets, instead, thanks to ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments), and some other transit related agencies with the Rothschild mindset in women on all these boards translates into developer giveaways and we see it," the comment said.

Parkinson's mention of the Rothschilds, a Jewish family which amassed significant wealth in the 1800s, is "an allusion to a notion that Jews control the world," said Seth Brysk of the Anti-Defamation League, in March, who called Parkinson's comments "bigoted, anti-Semitic (and) bizarre."

"This type of reasoning, if you can call it that, is exactly what the Nazis used to justify the attempt at genocide and to commit the crimes of the Holocaust," he said.

This week, Parkinson denied making the comments online and in emails via an email sent to local newspapers in which he claimed to be a victim of identity theft.

However, Parkinson had confirmed he made the original post in a phone conversation with a Voice reporter on the same day it posted, March 20.

Parkinson had been interviewed by the Voice in February about his efforts to save the Pearson House. When called for comment on Wednesday, he quickly hung up after saying,"I'm not interested in any comment, bye-bye."

The email disavowing the post came from "The Real Christopher Parkinson" via a different email address but written was in the distinctive style of Parkinson's previous emails.

"I have resigned from the VAC in disgrace but for these tort-filled articles I am mystified over," it reads. "I posted a two-line compliment of council on the selection of the Berlin wall, that compliment is missing, something else is in its place"

He threatened to sue the Voice and possibly the council over the furor.

"What incredible damage, and I am one heck of a victim of someone and something am having a hard time entirely grasping all of this," the email said.

Parkinson's comments

Back in March 20 when he was interviewed over the phone about the online comment, Parkinson likened Bryant to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "His tone is very, very, very, very harsh against people."

He mentioned council member Jac Siegel, also of Jewish descent, saying that "between those two (Bryant and Siegel) they are the ones who drive the city of Mountain View."

At the end of the interview, when Parkinson realized that his comments had been removed from the Voice's website, he said, "Since you removed it, I'm just going to say that it never was said, there's no proof."

The Voice retains an archive of all online comments posted to its site.

However, the next day he reversed course and sent two more emails detailing his beliefs about the Rothchilds' "fact-based takeover of the world" and complaining that he had the right to post whatever he wants online.

The day after that, March 22, Parkinson sent an email to Bryant, the Voice and other city officials threatening a lawsuit, telling Bryant to "calm down."

"A Rothschild should be viewed as a compliment, and I meant it that way," the email says. "Rothschild's are prosperous and powerful." He adds that "So I beg of you to laugh about this otherwise, I will not only sue the city, I will sue every council member, the Voice Mr. DeBolt, and some of the commenters in there and any staff that is part of your scheme to slander me."

Bryant hasn't publicly commented about Parkinson's post.

Council reaction

Mayor John Inks responded in a letter saying Parkinson's comments "were offensive and contrary to the Code of Conduct" which says officials must refrain from "abusive conduct, personal charges or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of the City Council, the boards, commissions, committees, staff and the public."

Council members were set to discuss various options for dealing with Parkinson Tuesday, including possibly voting him off the commission or censuring him. But his resignation made the situation "moot," Inks said, and the council forwarded the issue to the Council Procedures Committee for a larger discussion about the city's code of conduct.

Inks called it "a very unfortunate situation I was sorry to be involved in."

See also: Committee chair unleashes anti-Semitic comments


Like this comment
Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

I will add that Mr. Parkinson confirmed that he posted the comments that he later denied in a discussion on the Voice's online forum. As I recall, he explained that it was the result of an evening of drinking.

There is still a problem here. If the City's Code of Conduct prohibits the expression of views on any topics, including the character or motives of public figures serving in local office, then that prohibition is illegal; it is in violation of both the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the free speech provision of the California Constitution:

California Constitution: ARTICLE 1 SEC. 2. (a) Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.

U.S. Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The courts have ruled that the First Amendment, which originally applied only to the federal government, also applies to the states. This means that it also applies to municipal corporations because municipal corporations are a part of the state government rather than a third level.

Law aside, do we want a municipal government that does not operate in full and enthusiastic and vigorous compliance with both the letter and the spirit of freedom of speech?

That Code of Conduct needs to be rewritten to eliminate any and all restrictions on what any citizen serving in local government says, as long as he or she makes it clear that the speaking is being done as a private person rather than on behalf of the city.

Then the city council should do something visible to make it clear that henceforth the city shall operate in full accord with freedom of speech. Political correctness should not and cannot be a requirement for any job or role within the city government.

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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

The Code of Conduct is here: Web Link

Secions 2 and 3 abriged:

2. Comply with the Law: Councilmembers shall comply with... the United States and California constitutions...

3. Conduct of Members: Councilmembers shall refrain from abusive conduct, personal charges or verbal attacks upon the character or motives of other members of the City Council, boards, commissions, committees, staff or the public.

Section 3 is unconstitutional on its face and cannot be saved without being rewritten to avoid any mention of speech. The current text can serve as a guide and as a requested standard of behavior, but it cannot be imposed coercively, i.e. nonconformance may not be punished.

If the Mountain View Municipal Corporation does not amend this document and bring itself into full conformance to the spirit and the letter of the First Amendment, then that offense against the law of the land is far more harmful, far more threatening, and far more obnoxious than any expression of any sentiment, no matter how politically incorrect, could ever be.

Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Now let's see... Parkinson made the bigoted remarks and then explained them away as the result of "an evening of drinking"!? And that's his idea of an acceptable explanation?

Here's what happened: He spoke his bigoted feelings while his phony respect was obliterated by alcohol. :))

I'm glad we're rid of him and I wish I could snap my fingers and all of his type would be gone from this planet.

Btw: bigotry runs in a mob: scratch a racist you'll find a sexist; scratch a sexist you'll find a homophobe; scratch an anti-Semite and you'll find a racist. And so it goes.

All of them are based in arrogant ignorance and vary only regarding primary target. These people are a blight on social peace.

Like this comment
Posted by Honor Spitz
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm my grandfather would have said, "good riddance to bad rubbish."

Like this comment
Posted by @ Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Yes, your comment is well understood.

But really, we do not need for you to write the codes and the Constitution verbiage. You can just make your point - we will understand.

You ask:
"Law aside, do we want a municipal government that does not operate in full and enthusiastic and vigorous compliance with both the letter and the spirit of freedom of speech?"
And, though I can comprehend your meaning and what could potentially happen if the answer to the question is yes.... even though, my answer is YES.

I do not want any government employee (paid by my taxes) spewing bigoted speech. I don't want it to be that any of us accept his awful views.

And, clearly, he does not want to take responsibility for his words at all...saying that someone wrote those words, and that he had too much to drink. Sorry! No thank you!

Like this comment
Posted by Christopher Parkinson
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Christopher Parkinson is a registered user.

I am on record I never said anything, never talked to anyone. Posts here are routinely removed, altered and messed with. My email system has been hacked, I have proof of it. And calling me a drunk, really!

ATT called me a few months ago and sent a technician here to see why my computer and my television were in hiccup mode for days and weeks. He discovered that someone was on my system in the phone lines wiretapping. He cut it off and it still showed more were in our terrible system here, they continue to investigate. I have not been here in many months as no time for this stuff as I work all over the Bay Area until now. Someone has Identified Theft my computer, my phone, and my TV for months now and ATT agrees, they have sent over technicians too many times to count. Yes there is an attorney involved now so too the AG and the DA.

It’s a sad day for Mountain View. I was not the ranter in here, and my attorney is looking into that as well as ATT is too. Note I have never been to an ABAG or an MTD or whatever it’s called meetings I will admit I have no clue what they do or who they are.

Some notes here: One I never made any rant, someone else did and my attorney has recorded the responses, yet this paper saw fit to erase everything (anyone can be anyone in this crappy system: "We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish."). Too late for the Voice. Two: The mayor screwed up, as Gary said that night, I may have been an idiot to what I might have said (council, city Attorney, City Manager, everyone are on notice I never did nor talk to the news on this over the telephone, that article was pure BS, as well as this one)that the code conduct was absolutely wrong and illegal to do so that letter should have never gone out. Duh. Thank you Gary the one in a weird way spoke up for me. My attorney loves that one so do the DA and the AG, severe Brown Act violations. The Mayor is on record saddened I quit. Why because he knows what is going on.

The news article should have never happened and now the mayor is in big trouble for sending that letter to the press a letter that should have never happened. I still would have resigned however. All thanks to a "reporter" who is interested in selling papers and not confirming sources. He misquoted me numerous times, misquoted the Mayor and Council many times (they all say they never talked to this "reporter"). You add it up. A good reporter validates a story by going face to face interviewing a source then writing a story. The San Jose Mercury news did and did an honest appraisal of all of this.

He defamed me horribly, the city is aghast at this level of citizen mistreatment. The damages are huge as two job interviews crashed and burned because of this "reporter". I have no comment to this reporter because my attorney advises no more (Mr. DeBolt you are persona non-grata). I have a public relations campaign now to reclaim my name. The city was satisfied with my end of the story and no actions were properly taken. I resigned because of a friend who told me it is better to resign on my resume as a chair than get it diluted. The VAC is covered by smart people and little work, I won’t miss it nor will they miss me and I am okay with that. The city is reeling, they can’t stand the heat this brought on, and now they realize it was not me who did all of this but this "reporter". Good luck to everything, it’s all screwed up. I also feel sorry for the VAC, they all feel terrible about this and want a demand apology from this paper. Good luck.

No more comment is needed, my story remains I posted one nice thing, and that was warped into something I had no knowledge of until the city mailed me something this past Monday. Whoever the sicko mind who decided to trash me, well good luck to you, and the old story is you pay now or you pay later. My attorney advised me not to go to this witch hunt, it was all in the City's shoes, they were nervous as heck knowing full well the AG and DA are involved now and that the city is under the microscope. What I learned was Abe was the council member who started all this huckstered everyone in the city the code conduct was legal, and in the end is crestfallen in so many dimensions I can’t count.

My attorney has recorded the video testimony. This will be my one and only post. I am copying this as well and this whole page is sent to my attorney (this was deleted and only proves what lengths this paper will stoop to). I advise anyone else keep your traps shut as now only my attorney will be viewing this. Good luck, you need it you are an opportunist with an agenda. You know who you are. You and you alone messed up our wonderful city something terrible. It’s really a sad day in Mountain View Identity Theft is alive and well. All this and the Boston massacre, the Texas killings, I starting to see a nasty pattern here stemming from these articles. Sunday was such a good day with an exciting filled Masters. Monday through today is a mess, a total mess.

Mr. Parkinson

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Posted by Christopher Parkinson
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Christopher Parkinson is a registered user.

One more thing. For all of you that had the hellbent hatred for me, It might take weeks or months, my attorney when the time is right will depose each and everyone of you for your comments that are over the top attacking a person. I don't hate anyone and talk about it, but I can see clearly now that there are those who like to trash me personally. I don't even know you, how dare you? In the coming months, you just might regret everything you posted, I like an elephant have a long memory and again my Attorney daily has been copying anything relating to me in this paper. He has proof of the deletions, of the alterations etc.

I'll just leave this as a single thing to digest. I have been working all over the Bay Area in my area of Real Estate. I come home dog tired and I even have to cook for two. I have zero inclination to post things. Today its different too many people have told me about these articles. I am a trooper, I just work and not pay attention to the press. Big mistake, because too many people told me what was going on and I had to stop. I then said to my little brain here, you better look for work outside the Bay Area, because you are toast here. Paper you better file a retraction of everything. Next time interview people face to face and record them like the Merc does. I am not granting you anything, you are not to be trusted. Again two promising jobs one in LA and one in Alameda both toast. Anymore real estate defaming, I will come unglued. If this were a real estate, the board would help me file a complaint in the DRE and the person would be told to stop, recant and be penalized. No such board for a newspaper who says anything and they did with no corroboration. So you wonder why my Attorney is furious.

Like a poster said before the deletion, someone masterminded all of this. I believe that is the case and it was all because I was Chair and publicly came in support of the Berlin Wall. Note I have a very nice article in the Examiner on the Berlin Wall where I am immortalized and he interviewed me. I am sure there are people on council that were not happy about that, and you know who they are. In retrospect, it was since that time that all the shenanigans with ATT started. Wow. I am not a drunk, you have me confused with someone else.

Mr. Parkinson

PS Ask me to represent you in a real estate deals (7 min for 7 posters who have a hatred for me) that gets to commissions and all might be forgiven. Balls in your court.

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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

Sorry for the long winded initial posts here. I want to respond to Mary in detail, not to attack her but because her post expresses well a point of view that I encounter often and that I disagree with.

>> Parkinson made the bigoted remarks and then explained them away

Name calling and labeling don't build community and do prevent people from respecting and really listening to one another. Most people agree on basic values and just disagree about how best to promote them. I like to tell people who disagree with me, "If you care then we are on the same side."

>> I'm glad we're rid of him and I wish I could snap my fingers and all of his type would be gone from this planet.

On its face, this is a closed minded and intolerant statement. It is intolerant because the speaker wants to make people of a certain type "go poof". It is closed minded because the speaker is using viewpoint to assign the individual into either a keeper type or a poof type.

>> Btw: bigotry runs in a mob: scratch a racist you'll find a sexist; scratch a sexist you'll find a homophobe; scratch an anti-Semite and you'll find a racist. And so it goes.

There is some truth to this, because when hate springs from low self esteem, the hate will attach to any available and vulnerable target. But the five labels here are often assigned to people merely because they have come to various politically incorrect opinions. If someone comes to a racist opinion due to his or her values and/or life experiences, there is no reason to expect that person to be more likely than anyone else to happen to have arrived at politically incorrect opinions about sexuality and gender.

>> All of them are based in arrogant ignorance

No. All of those labels are associated with opinions that are currently politically incorrect, but each of those opinions have been politically very correct for many people at other times in human history and remain very correct for BILLIONS of people even today. In fact, it is much fairer to say that it is the conservative opinions regarding race, sexuality and gender that have withstood the test of time and critical thought, and that today's politically correct "progressive" opinions are best viewed as untested, tentative, and exploratory.

>> These people are a blight on social peace.

It is peaceful to live in a town filled with people who think just like yourself. But it is also boring, and the uniformity of thought will always become enforced by shunning, name calling, etc. Not really a very pretty picture, if you think it through.

This conversation isn't about Mr. Parkinson. It's about freedom, in particular the freedom to speak and to hear what anyone would speak. The most important kind of tolerance is tolerance for speech, for ideas that conflict with and challenge one's own opinions.

What unites us should be far more important than what divides us. Mr. Parkinson cares. Mary cares. All of you who posted care. For me, that means that we are all on the same side.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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