Anger is an acidic thing. Brush up against it and you can be burned, as I was last week.

A funny thing happened on the way to the office. Returning from the bank where elementary school trick-or-treaters had gathered to have their pictures taken, I was ambushed by a former Fillmore mayor with our newly elected city clerk in tow.

As I was about to step into the office a small white pickup nosed into a parallel parking space in front of the Gazette’s front entrance. Out jumped Gary Creagle, leaving his truck nosed into the curb and driver’s door open.
Rushing towards me, yelling at the top of his considerable lung capacity, it took a few moments to figure out what he was trying to say. “Don’t you vet your letters?!” he bellowed. “I wasn’t thrown out of office, I decided not to run again!” he continued yelling, while closing in on me.

Still not understanding what the former mayor was howling about, I asked what his problem was. Raising his volume to a level that caught the attention of many others in the building, he sputtered something about an advertisement from five former mayors which had run in the Gazette the previous Wednesday, three days earlier. The letter he referred to was a paid political ad, paid for by five (highly regarded) retired mayors of the City of Fillmore: Scott Lee, Mike McMahan, Don Gunderson, Roger Campbell and Evaristo Barajas.

The advertisement was titled “A Message From 5 Retired Mayors”. It was dismissive of Creagle’s dysfunctional tenure as mayor, citing his support for extreme growth, an airport, and a gaming casino. The statements were true, but not to Creagle’s liking now that he apparently honchos Fillmore’s new extreme green coalition.
Among the few short but furious statements from Creagle’s loud mouth was a reference to the ad’s comment: "...the voters threw out Gary and his cronies...” which was in error. Creagle roared that the voters did not throw him out. He declined to run for city council the following term.

Creagle walked up to me, bumped into me with clenched fists, and continued to bellow. This whole sorry, embarrassing, threatening performance was witnessed by several persons, and Mr. Creagle was cited by a Sheriff’s deputy.

The following Monday Mr. Creagle performed Act II, Scene II at city hall. With sidekick, and newly elected City Clerk, Clay Westling again in tow, Creagle entered the upstairs area of city hall. A number of witnesses heard him, with offensive, officious tone, demand to know the location of the city clerk’s desk. Informed of that, he then demanded to know how many offices were located in the area. Following this, he asked one staff member: “What’s your name?” “What do you do?” Receiving answers to both questions, he had the audacity to tell that staff member, “O.K., your job is safe.”

Message to Gary Creagle – you were not elected to any office in the City of Fillmore. Your conduct in these matters is obnoxious, and has cast a dark political shadow over several important staff positions. Are you seeking to be appointed to the position of City Manager?

For what it’s worth, Gary, you have become, in my estimation, Fillmore’s very own Yosemite Sam – but you aren’t funny.