Truer words were never spoken.
Bacon probably thought he was doing Cobb school board hopeful Susan Thayer a favor during his speech by publicly berating her opponent in next week’s runoff election, incumbent District 2 board member Tim Stultz, for the fact that schools in that part of Cobb typically lag those in other parts of the county.
But Bacon, who apparently was in “speak first, think later” mode, might well have undone any good he did Thayer by using an off-the-cuff ethnic slur to refer to School Board Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci in an interview afterward with the MDJ.
“What’s that woman’s name? Angelucci? I don’t like arguing with Polacks,” he said.
With those three leaden sentences, Bacon transformed what had been a down-ballot race of little interest outside Smyrna to one that is suddenly of much wider interest. And his decision to go for a cheap insult at Angelucci’s expense far overshadowed his partisan critique on Thayer’s behalf of Smyrna’s schools and Stultz’s performance.
NOT ONLY did the mayor’s remark resound with a “clang,” it wasn’t even accurate.
“Polack” has long been a slur aimed at those of Polish descent. But one of the problems in this case is that Angelucci is not a Polish name and Mrs. Angelucci is not of Polish ancestry.
“I am not of Polish descent, but would be proud to be. I am of German, Welsh and Irish ancestry,” she wrote to Around Town over the weekend, adding that her maiden name was Blevins.
“My husband is second-generation Italian, (hence the name). His family immigrated here from Italy in the early part of the 20th century.
“My family has served this country dating back to the Revolutionary War. I offer this information so the mayor could know a little more about me and not feel so quick to speak disparagingly about anyone’s nationality or culture.
“I am dismayed that the mayor of Smyrna would infer demeaning slurs when referring to any nationality,” she concluded.
She also reiterated her request that Bacon meet with her, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale and Board Vice Chairman Randy Scamihorn to discuss the mayor’s complaints about the system. Angelucci had made the same request Thursday evening.
“Let’s see how truly vested you are in improving south Cobb,” she wrote, suggesting the last week of July.
But her request was dismissed out of hand by the mayor.
“It’s a little too late for that,” Bacon said. “I don’t want to meet with her. I’m going to tell her this, ‘If you will, tell Tim if he will get out from behind your skirt, then he can come talk to me anytime he wants to.’”
BACON has cultivated a reputation during his three-decade run as mayor for making flippant comments about anything and everything. His latest one has been the talk of the town. Further evidence of that came at the First Monday Breakfast of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, at which WellStar Senior VP Joe Brywczynski was updating the crowd about Thursday’s monthly Smyrna Business Association luncheon — the venue at which Bacon made his remarks.
Quipped Mitch Rhoden to loud laughter, “Yeah Joe, we heard about that meeting.”
BACON FINALLY APOLOGIZED — sort of — via a post on Facebook late Sunday.
“These last few days have been both stressful and emotional for myself and my family,” he wrote. “I have a great passion for the town that I call home for the kids that go to our schools ... I hope that I will never lose that passion for simply fighting for every child to have the same opportunity for a quality education in Cobb County ... just the same opportunity ... If any of my comments or remarks have offended anyone in any way I want to apologize ... it was not my intention to hurt or offend ... long term change is what is needed in our schools ... Thanks ... Max.”
There was no indication as to whether the mayor has changed his mind about meeting with Angelucci and the school brass.
Surprisingly, Thayer as of this writing is not known to have publicly condemned Bacon’s public use of an ethnic slur against her opponent. Don’t be surprised if some see her silence as an implied endorsement of Bacon’s offensive word choice.
While Bacon is correct that south Cobb’s schools lag the rest of the county, that’s been the case for decades and decades — long before Stultz’s arrival on the board.
The flap is the latest evidence of the ongoing schism on the board between members who are generally supportive of the system’s bureaucracy and those — including Angelucci, Scamihorn and Stultz — desiring to shake it up.
PEOPLE: Strand Executive Director Earl Reece, whose expertise and effervescence have played a key role in the rebirth of the renovated Strand Theatre on Marietta Square, announced on Monday that he will retire and “Pass the Script” to General Manager Cassie Costoulas.
Reece, who previously spent 14 years as director of Cobb’s magnet school for the performing arts at Pebblebrook High School, has headed programing and operations at the Strand since late 2007. He has worked on a part-time basis at the Strand while recovering from heart bypass surgery after falling ill Christmas evening.
A reception will take place at the Strand on July 31 to salute the two.
FORMER MDJ editor Carrol Dadisman (1966-72) will talk about his new book, “Dear Old U-G-A,” and show a PowerPoint of historic campus photos at Wednesday’s meeting of The Marietta Rotary Club. The book is a history of student life at the University of Georgia, 1893-2013, as reflected primarily in pages of The Red and Black student newspaper through the years.
POLITICS: Will Gov. Nathan Deal come to bat for his former congressional colleague Bob Barr in the final two weeks of the runoff election for the 11th Congressional District seat? Barry Loudermilk of Cartersville was the leading vote-getter in the May 20 primary election for that seat, which represents parts of Cobb, Fulton, Cherokee and Bartow.
Barr and Deal served together in Congress from 1995-2003. And Deal picked up 67 percent of the vote in the 11th District in the May 20 GOP Primary race against David Pennington and John Barge.
Barr held two fundraisers on Friday: a luncheon featuring former U.S. Rep. and Oklahoma Sooner QB J.C. Watts and a dinner with Alaska Congressman Don Young.
Barr, BTW, has promised to visit the Texas border within the month for a first-hand look at the immigration crisis if he gets elected next week.
MORE POLITICS: Sheriff Neil Warren and Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins are among those hosting a meet-and-greet reception for Cobb Superior Court judicial hopeful Juanita Stedman from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Presbyterian Village.
Co-hosts are Carla and Brent Brown, James Ashcraft and Melinda Ashcraft.
ENDORSEMENTS: Barr was endorsed by ’70s rock star Ted Nugent on Tuesday via a 50-second YouTube video.
Nugent, who is an outspoken gun-rights activist and has endorsed Barr in his previous runs for Congress, describes Barr as “a great, great statesman” and urges viewers to “send this great warrior back to Washington” to fight the corruption of the Obama administration.
Barr also has picked up the endorsements of former state Sen. Chuck Clay and former state Rep. Judy Manning, both (R-Marietta). And state Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna) has endorsed David Perdue in the heated GOP runoff with Jack Kingston for that party’s U.S. Senatorial nomination.