Jeanne Harris Throws Yet Another Tantrum, Must Go

by lewwaters

UPDATE: Vancouver City Council Ethics Panel Decision HERE

Unscientific poll on Harris’ fate HERE

Vancouver Progressive city council member Jeanne Harris has once again erupted in anger and vitriol aimed towards a citizen during the Citizen Communications segment of the City Council Meeting.

Just weeks ago she lambasted Larry Patella over his right to free speech during the council meeting, resulting in a confrontation between her and fellow council member, Jeanne Stewart.

Jeannes spar twice during Council meeting

Ms Harris is also one of the three council members, joining Mayor Leavitt and Bart Hansen, who saw no problem with passing an ordinance restricting our right to free speech in political gatherings by placing prior notice limitations on such gatherings, even though no problems have ever occurred during such gatherings held be either left-wing or right-wing groups.

That ordinance did not pass as such and was rewritten to exclude political gatherings, which Ms. Harris clearly disagreed with: Free Speech Gains a Short Reprieve from the Vancouver City Council.

I was in attendance at both meetings and Ms. Harris appeared visibly upset that she did not get her way to place limitations on gatherings that pertain to free speech rights for all.

At a subsequent town hall she once again became visibly upset with citizens over confronting Mayor Leavitt for his switch on campaigning on no tolls, admonishing the audience, most a bit older than she, as if they were third graders.

And now, once again, it is reported that not only did she throw a tantrum towards a citizen during the Citizen Communications segment, but that she stormed out of the council meeting and afterwards, angrily confronted fellow council member Jeanne Stewart in the hallway. As reported to me by a friend present at last night’s council meeting,

Tonight was a sad night for the citizens of Vancouver, WA.

During tonight’s City Council Meeting, Mr. David Madore was called to speak during public comment time. When he began to speak he was viciously attacked by City Councilwoman Jeanne Harris who basically tried to shut him down. When Mr. Madore spoke about his freedom of speech, she told him he didn’t have any in the City Council meeting because THEY controlled the subject. Ms. Harris felt that Mr. Madore’s discussion about tolls and light rail coming into Vancouver was not the concern of the city. She was rude, disrespectful and extremely combative.

When City Councilwoman Jeanne Stewart spoke up in defense of Mr. Madore, Ms. Harris yelled out something about how Jeanne is defending him because we (speaking about those who oppose tolls and light rail) are her friends.

Another gentleman got up to speak and challenged Ms. Harris on his First Amendment Right. She became extremely angry and shouted at him to sit down. He said he has his three minute right to speak when she began yelling for him to get out of the building. Ms. Stewart told Ms. Harris that she didn’t have the right to throw out a citizen who wanted to speak and Ms. Harris got upset and began demanding that the mayor hit his gavel. When the mayor refused, and tried to calm Ms. Harris down, she jumped up from her seat and stomped away angry.

City Councilwoman Stewart told the mayor and other city council members that City Councilwoman Harris had no right to accuse her of “being friends” with the no tolls people. Later, City Council woman Harris came out from the back after the meeting and began a shouting match with Ms. Stewart. As she was walking away, she turned and shouted at Ms. Stewart to “SHUT UP”!

The rest of the City Council members sat there without defending the citizens! The City Attorney who was present only responded when Ms Stewart insisted he said something. He basically sided with Ms. Harris silencing citizens because as far as they are concerned: TOLLS and the I-5 Bridge is not a Vancouver issue. HELLO!!

We need to protest this behavior! It is totally inappropriate and clearly a violation of our freedom of speech! I need everyone to get involved with me to protest this misbehavior and show these bullies that they do not have the right to harass citizens!”

Ms. Harris appears to be out of control and should not be on the city council if she cannot sit during a short 3-minute presentation of a citizen. After all, aren’t council members elected to “listen” to the citizens, not dictate to us?

I know Mr. Madore and he is one of the most reasoned, rational speakers I have ever heard. Regardless, unless he is verbally attacking or engaging in untoward conduct and speech, doesn’t he have a right to speak his mind during a “citizen communications” in the council meeting?

I have sat during council meetings and listened to other citizens get up and speak of things I disagree with totally. If I interrupted their time to shut any of them up, I would rightfully be ousted from the meeting.

Ms. Harris has once again shown she should not be sitting on the Vancouver City Council. She apparently does not have the demeanor to listen to what she might not agree with when citizens speak freely. I hate to tell her, but we have not yet become Obamastan where she and she alone is entitled to decide who may or may not speak.

Calling for her resignation would fall upon deaf ears, I am afraid. Her arrogance would block hearing such words.

To that end, I urge Mayor Tim Leavitt and the rest of the City Council to conduct an emergency meeting at the earliest possible date with the intent of ousting her from the council to be replaced by someone selected through the normal process that will willingly sit and listen to citizens respectfully, as the rest of you have done repeatedly.

An admonishment or an apology is not enough as I doubt it would change her demeanor towards citizens. I imagine it would just anger her more.

Citizens of Vancouver, Washington deserve better and Ms. Jeanne Harris must step down or be ousted. Her brash, rude vitriol towards citizens and fellow council members can no longer be tolerated.

Jeanne Harris must go!

CVTV Video (begins about 8 minutes in)

34 Comments to “Jeanne Harris Throws Yet Another Tantrum, Must Go”

  1. I was there last night; Harris was way out of line. What was worse was the male council members who sat silently and allowed Harris to bully Madore when he was trying to speak. Please watch the video when you get a chance. What a bunch of wimps.

    The C-Tran meeting tonight should be interesting.

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  2. She didn’t have the guts to bully Josephine Wentzel.. or had she stormed out of the room by then. Shameful!!

    I wonder if she feels that her constituents would be…. only the ones who voted for her.

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  3. I’ll have to view the video again, Susan, but i believe she left towards the end of Josephine’s comment, or right after.

    She continually shows herself to be a disgrace to the city council. Her conduct towards Jeanne Harris and the silence of the other men, 2 of whom are Veterans, is disgraceful as well.

    Mitch is right, all 3 “men” should be ashamed of themselves for remaining silent and allowing Ms. Harris to treat anyone that way.

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  4. One thing that has not been said is that Jeanne Harris also represents the city of Vancouver on the Project Sponsors Council of the Columbia River Crossing Project as well as long time served on the C-tran board.

    I remember two years ago when I attended about a year of the C-tran Board meetings, Jeanne threw two tantrums at Betty Sue Morris, I was shocked then, as I am now that she is STILL throwing these little kid tantrums in front of citizens…

    Too bad there is no video recording of ANY RTC or C-tran board meetings, which SHOULD be a requirement in their bylaws.

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  5. I just got in from the C-Trans Board Meeting. She was pretty much on good behavior this evening. Still, John Jenkins requested she be removed from the Board pending an investigation into her conduct last evening.

    I also just received email from the City stating that Council Members Larry Smith and Jack Burkman have lodged a complaint against Harris with Mayor Leavitt and requesting an ethics committee be established to investgate Harris’s conduct and take appropriate action.

    Vancouver City Council asked to establish Ethics Committee to review complaint regarding Councilmember Conduct

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  6. Also Jeanne also represents the City of Vancouver on the Association of Washington Cities as a board member.

    Now my question is: What happens if she gets censured or kicked off the city council, who is going to take over her spot a the columbia river crossing project sponsors council? Jeanne Stewart, Jack Burkman? Mayor Leavitt all ready serves as C-tran’s representative.

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  7. First, let’s see if this ethics complaint is even sincere and not just a CYA measure.

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  8. If you watch the C-tran Update, Jeanne actually goes off a lot earlier than the council meeting citizens communications:

    http://www.cityofvancouver.us/cvtv/cvtvarchive2/City_Council_Workshops/2010_Events/September_2010/09-13-10/1_C-TRAN_Update.wmv

    (I am paraphrasing here.) Jeanne says,

    “That this is the most conservative answer. There are people on the C-tran Board that do not feel the same way. and that is unfortunate. We have people on the C-tran Board that does not support transit. And that drives me crazy.

    I have asked the Mayor, (Tim Leavitt?) to talk to the other Mayors of Ridgefield, Battle Ground to make sure that those representatives are truly representing those areas.

    Because I cannot think of any thing more selfish than what they are saying right now. And it really disturbs me. And this argument that this is the most conservative and this will save C-tran is a joke.

    (Jack Burkman is trying to cool the situation down with a minor comment.)

    Because everyone is this community needs to understand, just as Jack Burkman said, we need a complete, transit system.

    (She Points) and says, “Quit Shaking (your head) at me.” Now is the time time to do it. ”

    — Now me commenting:

    And watch her eyes, she is furious. I’ll let you all watch the rest. Follow the link and jump straight to the hour of the video and you will see she lights off like a Fort Vancouver Fourth of July Roman Candle.

    And she jumps around and makes public accusations that should be private between her, the Mayor and the mayors of those cities. I think she’s a break off the council.

    Maybe a censure or ?, but what she did right there was inappropriate on so many different levels. And then she goes off later.at citizen’s communications.

    And this isn’t the first time I have heard or have seen her just light people up like they’re nobody.. I don’t know the most reasonable course. It sounds like from what was posted here that she will face a jury of her peers and possibly locals through an Ethics Investigation and committee report to the rest of the council on options.

    Jeanne, you need help to control your vitriol, anger and other things. I don’t feel good as a community member when you act up in this manner. In fact, its quite embarrassing because you have such a higher level of privilege on many different community boards and positions than just about any other community member and city council member.

    I’ll be watching next week’s city council workshop and meeting. It will be telling to me if I placed my good faith and vote in the other elected officials that serve with you.

    I may not agree with someone’s comments, emotions or abilities throughout the city of Vancouver process. But what you did was way over the line and no community member deserved your wrath. Not the C-tran Board Members, not individual council members, the other boards you serve on or the general public that you serve at their pleasure.

    With this repeated issue, I don’t believe a letter of or communication of an apology from you to all of us is going to cut it anymore.

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  9. I find this attrocious of Ms Harris. This is blatantly an act unbecoming of a public official. If Ms Harris is allowed to remain on council, I will be very suspicious of the rest of the office holders. This act refelects not only negatively on Ms Harris but on the entire council as well. The public faith in our officials will be tarnished for terms to come. Shameful, extremely shameful. I believe Ms Harris has held this position long enough and has shown the duties of this office are clearly taking their toll on Ms Harris. A graceful resignation is in order for the years of service. if not gracious, there are other avenues that can be persued by us “Normal” citizens.

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  10. This reprehensible behavior should not be tolerated from anyone but especially from somebody in power. The citizens are the ones that should be listened to by their government, not the other way around.

    Let’s all come together to vote this lady out of office. Share this link with anyone you can and maybe tomorrow will be a brighter day for the citizens of Vancouver.

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  11. Its good that Notolls.com had a camera there recording the ending. Because for the last year, CVTV cuts off the public recording about right after the gavel hits table. They don’t get the aftereffects of the meeting anymore like they used to.

    Well, let us see what they do with this ethics probe and what will come of it. That will tell us what this council is really made of, if they will really go after one of their own or its just a dog and pony show.

    I am sorry that I so profoundly disagree with Mayor Leavitt. Especially since he sits (and former Mayor Pollard) on the Columbia River Crossing Project that votes each and every piece plus every action up or down OR gives direction to the multi-state Integrated staff of both sides of the River. Jeanne Harris also is in this capacity for the city, so for them to say that they have no control over the tolling issue is disingenuous.

    They could stand up at a CRC meeting and tell the whole PSC council how they truly feel about tolls and get the project changed or killed right at that point or any point.. And it would prove how much of a boondoggle it was.

    They might not have specific authority to set tolls rates or other state and federal level issues related to SEPA, the LPA and other parts but they DO have influence on the general direction and policy of this project. Why would they be on a project of this major significance, if Harris and Leavitt weren’t able to influence EVERY aspect at EVERY level of it?

    So for Jeanne and Mayor Leavitt to come out and chastise Madore and others as they do not have direct influence is just plain wrong. Not just simply wrong, I mean really wrong!

    Does the City of Vancouver NOT have a federal legislative lobbyist and state lobbyists like Mark Brown that influences regional, state and federal legislation through agencies that was established under former mayor Royce Pollard to go to bat for the city? Chew on that one for me??

    Why does the city have all of these levels of lobbyists if they cannot influence the direction they want the city to go and get money for projects Like the CRC and Gramor’s site? And many other issues?

    Both Harris and other council members sit on various national boards related to their city service, which is even further place to learn how to influence and learn from other cities mistakes…

    I could go on but I think this is a good start to start lighting the fire under Tim Leavitt and to change his tune because he is either ignorant of what is going on, not factually correct or he’s just trying to shut down basic civil discourse to suit some thing?

    I would love to see Tim answer my post. And correct me on his blog if I am wrong. And state WHY I am wrong.

    And we will see if Jeanne Harris will face any, none or a bunch of sanctions through this probe OR like Lew says, it turns into a Cover Your Ass event on September 20th.

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  12. Of course Burkman and Smith only filed the ethics complaint to for cya purposes. They, along with Campbell, Leavitt and Hansen, could have interjected at anytime and stopped Harris, on behalf of Stewart or Madore, but these cowards chose not to. They are a disgrace.

    In fact, at the conclusion of the meeting, I told Burkman that he should be ashamed of himself, and his reponse was only that light rail and tolls are not city business issues.

    This is a defining moment in Vancouver city government, and we will not forget.

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  13. A note I just sent to members of the city council and the Mayor, “realizing this is primarily about opposition to Light Rail and Tolls, may I respectfully suggest that if Light Rail and Tolls is not a matter for comment at Council meetings, that Council also ban comments made in favor of Light Rail and Tolls?

    I mention this as I notice at the August 16 Council Meeting, comment made in favor of Light Rail were not only acceptable, but engaged favorably by Council Members, asking speakers to explain the benefits of Light Rail and cost savings to citizens.

    If it is not a matter for City Council, shouldn’t that also extend to comments favorable, not only comments in opposition?”

    Something else to be considered, also sent to members of the council, http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/speech/personal/topic.aspx?topic=speaking_meetings

    This was in reply to a legal opinion issued by Ted Gathe of,

    “Mayor and Council: Here is brief discussion of the legal parameters of citizen communication and citizen testimony as part of a city council meeting.

    For many years, Vancouver City Council meetings have provided for a time on the agenda for citizen communication. There is no legal or constitutional requirement that that such time be allocated at a public meeting but it is frequently provided for on local government agendas. Providing for citizen communication, however, does not turn a city council meeting into a public forum. A city council meeting is not a public forum. It is the time and place where the council conducts the business of the city. The presiding officer (in our case the Mayor) of the city council may enforce reasonable and viewpoint neutral procedural rules for the orderly conduct of the meeting. Those rules can include limiting the scope of citizen communications to matters that are relevant to the City and setting time limits on the amount of time an individual speaker has both for citizen communication as well as testimony at public hearings. The City Council has enacted reasonable, view point neutral policies regarding the conduct of city council meetings. Those policies require that remarks to the Council be addressed to the Council as a whole and not to individual Councilmembers and specifically provide that speakers whose remarks are “personal, impertinent or slanderous or who become boisterous, threatening or personally abusive while addressing the Council may be requested to leave the meeting.” Council Policy 100-32 Sec. 5.6.3.7 and .8. These types of behaviors are not shielded by a claim of First Amendment rights and the presiding officer of a public meeting has the authority and the obligation to control the course and decorum of a public meeting. For legal authority on this issue see White v. City of Norwalk, 900 F.2d 1491 (9th Cir. 1990).

    Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this subject.”

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  14. I am all for “decorum.” But what is the city councilmember is the offender?

    I doubt what Ted says in the above matter deals with that subject matter. Or am I just not reading the whole message?

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  15. Such outrageous behavior towards a citizen an a fellow council member is equally offensive, whether it be a Democrat, Republican or Independent doing it.

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  16. Four more days and we’ll find out what they plan on doing about this.

    What I would like to know from the Agenda they put out on Thursday or Friday is what is the plan or process on “how” this whole ethics things is going to happen.

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  17. What an embarassment to the City of Vancouver! And shame on the rest of you members (especially you, mayor) for allowing this woman to behave in such a disrespectful manner. My hat is off to the only one who stood up to her, Ms. Jeanne Stewart.

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  18. I am disappointed and disgusted with the actions of Ms. Harris towards this citizen. I am also appalled by the way she came back out and verbally attacked Ms. Stewart. The fact that the other council members didn’t speak up when Harris first implied that Ms. Stewart was “friends” with the No Toll folks, but even afterward when Ms. Harris came back out and was screaming at Ms. Stewart for addressing this remark makes me wonder if they aren’t all afraid of Ms. Harris wrath being pointed toward them also. I hope everyone in the city and county get a chance to see this video, and I hope that this makes them all more interested and involved in City politics from here on out. This kind of action by someone meant to represent us, the citizens is unacceptable and Ms Harris should be removed from this and all offices imitatively.

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  19. Two more days until we find out the basis and basics out of how the Mayor and the rest of the council members feel and what the next steps are in this process.

    From the KATU video, Tim suggested that there will be a subcommittee that will take on the issue of this ethics violation. I hope that it will be some thing substantive because it would seem that this behavior has not been ebbed and just a continuation over what she has done.

    Hopefully, this embarrassment and some really good censure or removal will finally hold her to account.

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  20. For those who are customers of Allstate insurance, and are concerned about Vancouver City Council member Jeanne Harris being a representative of this company, you can send your concerns via email to the following address:

    directors@allstate.com

    I am personally concerned with any person acting like this in our community, but when they represent a large and well known corporation, it makes things even worse.

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  21. The woman needs to step down. She has been on the council too long! She seems to think she is the Queen of Hearts conducting city business. Lucky for Mr. Madore or the other gentleman she didn’t yell “off with his head”! What an egomaniac, how unprofessional, unbecoming, embarrassing! This is where our tax dollars go…how much do city council members earn anyways? I am sure in Jeanne’s case money is not the only incentive, the power trip is

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  22. Fortunately, council members are not getting rich off of us. Ms. Harris owns an Allstate Insurance Office that has taken a hit as well, for her outrageous behavior.

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  23. Hey.

    Jeanne Harris is not a Progressive. She’s a nutbag.

    I know. I dated her once.

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  24. You have my sympathies.

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  25. I’m not in vancouver and have no idea what the tolls and light rail issues are, so I have no bias toward any of the speakers.

    What I watched in that video is more than simple disrespect or a temper tantrum. I was witnessing a single board member terrorize each citizen who came to the podium. How the other council members sat there and allowed this to happen is inexcusable.

    Ms. Harris’ verbal abuse of the citizenry and tyrannical attempt to shut down the (apparent) opposition certainly warrants a recall at the very least.

    I was horrified, and have never in my life witnessed a professional, either in business or in government come as close to “going postal” as Ms. Harris did.

    That she didn’t immediately tender her resignation is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with government today. The hubris that she can still be an effective member of the council after such behavior is shameful.

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  26. What an elitist; how could you vote this disgrace?

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  27. I lived in Vancouver for 25 years until moving to Central Oregon 4 years ago. I saw this when a friend posted the video containing Ms Harris’ behavior at the city council meeting. Disgraceful, just scratches the surface. I voted for her several years back and was incensed to see this spectacle. Have all our government officials gone mad? Did they forget that they only serve at our pleasure? Maybe thats not the problem. Perhaps ‘we’ have forgotten that they only serve at our pleasure. One term is enough. Vote out the arrogance.

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  28. It was hoped she wopuld be removed, but concil decided tonight it doesn’t rise to that level. Instead, she will receive a reprimand and be removed from the boards she sits on the represent the council.

    2013 is another matter and I hope voters recall this.

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  29. From the video I would guess a drug and alcohol test is in order. She should be relieved of her duties. The mayor seems to be a bit out of line. Could there be a legal base for not saying this council person or that voted or supported one issue or another. Just opinions from Florida.

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  30. Please update, is this person STILL on the council? And is the mayor still allowing her to dictate?

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  31. Roderick, the update is here

    By written policy, her outrageous behavior does not rise to the level of removal from the council. “According to written policy.” We are all disappointed that policy does not cover interaction with citizens. Council claims they will revisit that.

    Harris is still in Germany until October 19, I believe. Monday, October 11 is the next council meeting and the recommendations will be presented to the full council. She will receive a letter of reprimand (a slap on the wrist for sure), but she will also be removed from every board or commission she sits on where she was appointed by the city council.

    The vast majority here are hoping she will resign. But, if not, I don’t see how she will be a very effective council member. You can also bet the community will not soon forget this, which may help her decide to do the right thing and resign.

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  32. Jeanne Harris is the most rude, disrespectful, arrogant, ignorant public official I have ever had the misfortune to hear speak. Why Mayor Leavitt would let this out of control individual interrupt, tell citizens to leave and speak so disgracefully is beyond the pale. The fact that no one told Jeanne Harris to shut up tells me they all have to go.

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