TACOMA – It seems no elected official is safe from the political wrath of Pierce County Councilwoman Pam Roach – not even her son.
During an Oct. 5 budget retreat, the combative Republican councilwoman, angered about being gaveled down during a testy debate, dropped an F-bomb on Councilman Dan Roach, her son, who was running the meeting and pounding the gavel.
Audio of the meeting, obtained by the News Tribune, reveals a 30-second crescendo of crosstalk and gavel raps, punctuated by Dan Roach’s exasperated “We’re done.” Dan Roach could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The fireworks began when Pam Roach raised questions about a planned crisis stabilization center set for construction next year. The 16-bed facility, championed by County Executive Bruce Dammeier and his leadership team, would provide immediate aid to people in mental health crises. It will be constructed in Parkland, near Franklin Pierce High School.
Though council members already have approved funding for the project, Roach has continued to pick at the details. At the Oct. 5 meeting, she accused Dammeier’s staff of providing misleading information about it by citing support from the Bethel School District rather than the Franklin Pierce School district, though both agencies would be served by the facility.
Roach has feuded with Dammeier in the past, though both are Republicans. A year ago, she was banned from speaking to his staff due to “rude and unprofessional behavior,” according to public records. The continuing friction resurfaced Oct. 5.
After Roach contended Dammeier’s staff had misled council members, Councilman Derek Young tried to correct her. The meeting turned chaotic. A transcript of the moment follows. It has been lightly edited for clarity:
Pam Roach: Maybe we should get back and ask what the motivation was, which is fairly obvious, for providing information that had nothing to do with what was in front of us – and it was wrong.
Paul Bocchi (senior legislative analyst): And we will have a lot more discussion about that next week.
Derek Young: Since the executive’s office isn’t here to defend itself –
Roach: They’re sitting right here, but OK.
Young: What you’re saying isn’t accurate, and I need to say something. So I don’t think it was ever represented that Franklin Pierce High School was in the Bethel School District. We did have a letter supporting from Bethel School District, and the reason was that Bethel School District is immediately adjacent to it. This facility will serve that area. So it’s not completely unrelated as it was claimed. I understand that you misunderstood that …
Roach: No –
Dan Roach: (Pounding gavel) Stop, no, stop, both of you are done. Stop.
Pam Roach: I’m gonna put you –
Dan Roach: Stop. We’re not even gonna talk about this.
Pam Roach: Go ahead and do it again.
Dan Roach: Just stop.
Pam Roach: (expletive) you. I’m leaving. Look –
Dan Roach: Really?
Pam Roach: Well Dan, what is the deal here? He’s misrepresenting me.
Dan Roach: No, we’re not having the conversation. We’re talking about a budget.
Pam Roach: He is misrepresenting me, and I’m tired of it.
Dan Roach: (Pounds gavel.) We’re done. Continue please, Paul.
Pam Roach left the meeting a few minutes later. Soon afterward, she sent a public statement to the News Tribune:
“Earlier today, during a council event that was held off-campus, I got very passionate during a political discussion with my fellow councilmembers, including my son Dan. In the heat of the moment I used harsh words that I regret. It was a mistake. I love my son dearly but sometimes we have political disagreements. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse for harsh language. It seems I’ve been listening to too many Democrat protesters lately.”
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