Embattled Bacon: Mayor pulls back (a bit) from ‘Polack’ comment
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
July 15, 2014 04:00 AM | 5830 views | 15 15 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“I’VE BEEN IN OFFICE so long my filter’s just about come off,” said Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon at the outset of his “State of the City” speech last week.

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.

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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.’”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Comments
(15)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Tony Cain
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July 17, 2014
Let's not forget that Mayor Max had Smyrna resident Mary Kirkendoll arrested at a city council meeting. It cost the city a bundle. Do a google search and find out about it.

$85,000 settlement for Smyrna profanity arrest | www.ajc.com

Oct 11, 2012 - Mary Kirkendoll, of Cobb County, speaks during a public meeting at the Cherokee County Courthouse on Nov. 21, 2006.

The Marietta Daily Journal - Woman settles lawsuit against ...

Oct 12, 2012 - SMYRNA — Smyrna resident Mary Kirkendoll won a victory this week ... Kirkendoll filed a federal lawsuit after being arrested on a disorderly ...

You get the message.
anonymous
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July 25, 2014
Kirkendoll is alive and well and kicking in the Brookhaven little newspaper, just the same as she did about Smyrna. Brookhaven better hold onto their pocketbook.....
Smyrna is full of
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July 16, 2014
Wow

The hate and spite that spews from the City of Smyrna and its inhabitants is very telling. Had the tables been turned and a BOE member made these comments, the community would have been calling for their heads, and rightfully so.

I am ashamed you are part of Cobb County. If we could, we wouldn't claim you; Max Bacon is exactly who should be representing you. Nasty, racist, hypocritical malcontents who sit on their butts with their hand out not willing to do a thing except whine and moan, while smearing those in their wake.

Just wow.
anonymous
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July 17, 2014
Don't be liberal dill weed, Smyrna is full of.

Hate? I don't think so. Stupid, boorish comments? Absolutely. Nasty? maybe.

Contrary to liberal think, not everything you find offensive is based in/has anything to do with "hate", Smyrna is fill of. Get a grip on what words really mean.

Mom
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July 15, 2014
Give up MDJ, your little Timmy is out. You can keep trying to put ST down and try to link Bacon's bad behavior to her but the general public is too smart to fall for your bad attempt to save TS!! If you want to be the paper equivalent of "honey boo boo" then keep up the good work, but you still will need better characters these are not even reality tv quality. I can't think of any reason you would side with TS and KA, we know it is not their ability to represent their constituents!!
Maria A.
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July 15, 2014
I wish more mayors would speak up and stand up for our schools in South Cobb. Thank you for that, Mayor Bacon. Unfortunately, he called Ms. Angelucci a derogative name used for people of Polish descent which was unbecoming of a Mayor, who is supposed to be a leader and should know better. Any figure in the public eye should always speak with professionalism and not reduce himself/herself to childish name-calling. I think it's a good idea for all the mayors to meet with school board and discuss any concerns. I don't think Ms. Thayer needs to be brought into this just because she hasn't commented.
Bill Edwards
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July 15, 2014
If Angelucci spent as much time trying to improve area schools as she did trying to smear Max Bacon our school system would be in much better shape. I don't blame Mayor Bacon for not wanting to meet with her...all she does is forward private emails directly to the press. What an embarrassment. If only she could harness her angst into something worthwhile, like improving our school system.
EBC4Me
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July 15, 2014
I know the cboe and the mdj are located in the same neighborhood but this type of support is scary! mdj trying to drag Thayer into the mix is shameful. The Mayor's stupid comment was an attempt at 80's humor for which he apologized and had nothing to do with Thayer's opponent. The slur was directed at the chairwoman A as a result of her attempt to hide from responsibility and attack the Mayor over his truthful comments about her boards own failures. Guess the fruit was too low for jon g! The story should be SOUTH COBB SCHOOLS / CHILDREN ARE NEGLECTED BY THEIR OWN SCHOOL BOARD! Look no further than expansion budget or personnel moves to support this argument. Osborne expansion/renovation budget = Lassiter new auditorium - Mountain view gets renovation = king springs gets trailers - Campbell High football success = McMoni-ern new head coach. Grant Rivera making great strides in the community and got cut off by the boe = Campbell kids pay the price! Kid commits suicide because of bullying at CHS - not a story in south cobb. Since many have lost site of there job in this argument...yours is to Report not create - mdj...our community deserves better!
Well Mrs. Thayer....
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July 15, 2014
Your silence speaks volumes. And Max, too little, too late.
Post 2 Dad
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July 15, 2014
As does your comment on silence.

Not speaking out does not imply acceptance. You must work for the press.

At Least Be Accurate
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July 15, 2014
The MDJ says Mayor Bacon's comments were directed at Thayer's opponent and implies she is under some sort of obligation to distance herself from those comments. First of all, the Mayors comments in question were directed at Board Chairperson Kathy Angellucci, not Tim Stultz. Second, she is certainly under no obligation to account for any persons words but her own.

Accuracy is important, even in a gossip column.
Well Mrs. Thayer....
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July 16, 2014
re: Post 2 Dad - Business owner, taxpayer, father of children in district schools, not a member of the press.

Mrs. Thayer won't say anything because she does not want to alienate Max Bacon OR she condones his behavior and comments. Plain and simple. Either way, this does speak for itself. In a district as diverse as Cobb is, and especially in a post that is as diverse as this one specifically is, there is no place for this throw back to yesterdays slurs and attitudes.
Silence is silence
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July 16, 2014
It does not matter whom the comment or slur was directed to, it was inappropriate, and if she is courting his favor, which obviously she was/is, she needs to address the issue. No one said the slur was directed at Stultz, it was an ethnic slur directed at an elected official.
At Least Be Accurate
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July 18, 2014
The MDJ article on which we are commenting read that Mayor Bacon had made this statement about Mrs. Thayer's opponent and that she had yet to respond.

Perhaps Mrs. Thayer is just concentrating on her race and happened to be at this meeting. There were 200 other people at that meeting, are they all under obligation to "distance" themselves from the comments. I think not.

we really need to consider not walking around looking to be offended all the time.
Or Perhaps
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July 19, 2014
Or perhaps she cannot figure out how to distance herself from Max without becoming another target of his commentary. OR perhaps she cannot explain for herself what it is she plans to do once elected. Or perhaps, she realizes at this point it is a lost cause.

As I recall, she was the only one there who was running for office that he was supporting.
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