Yes It Is, It’s True: I was an unpopular editor back in the day

Yet another saga frTroubling true stories_1om my tempestuous editorship at the Albion Evening Recorder:

The summer of 1983, I was in my fourth year as editor and still doing a little sports writing on the side. But when ace city reporter Jean R. Taylor went on vacation for two weeks, I had to sub for her in covering an Albion City Council meeting.

The city was going through some difficulties a lot like the local schools had been in 1979-80. Longtime Mayor Chuck Jones had stepped down and Councilman Jim Cascarelli, a bar and restaurant owner, faced off against longtime local citizen Jim Young, owner of a laundromat. Two of his sons co-owned Young’s Pharmacy.

I editorialized in support of Cascarelli and expressed my dismay in learning of Young’s connection to a Tea Party-style attempt to eliminate the city manager form of government that later was defeated in a referendum. In my view, it was a back door attempt to get rid of Albion’s first black city manager, George Kolb.

Young defeated Cascarelli in the election for mayor in November 1982. So much for my editorial clout with the people.

So in the summer of 1983, when I attended a City Council meeting, there was a smattering of bruhahas about Kolb inspecting some road work and not allowing citizens to use extra water to sprinkle their lawns. One citizen who spoke out loudly and often against Kolb in the meeting was obviously drunk. His erratic behavior several times prompted the city attorney to exclaim “Point of order!”

Yet Mayor Young let this guy drone on and on about what a bad city manager Kolb was.

It was true that during his remarks, I once shook my head in disbelief. But after the meeting when I headed for the city parking lot across the street, the drunken citizen accosted me brandishing clenched fists, threatening to unload on me. He said the mayor’s wife told him I had said some really rotten things about him during the meeting.

I told him I had said nothing about him, which was true. He replied with the question, “So you’re calling the mayor’s wife a liar?” I responded, “No, she is mistaken.”

He still wanted to go mano-a-mano with fisticuffs in the parking lot, but a few other people stepped in to quiet him down and I left the premises unscathed.

I called Kolb the next day and told him the story. He suggested I just file it away and let it go. I also told Jim Cascarelli, who laughed and asked, “Are you talking about our fair city’s first lady?” He also said I should just let it go.

I could have have filed a complaint against this man and perhaps the mayor’s wife. I was indeed shaken by the incident, but just like comedian Bill Hicks said about the sheepherder in the movie “Shane,” “I don’t want no trouble, mister.”

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