Meta. Here’s a tip for folks in public life who are new to this Internets and blogging thing – if you did or said something that attracted a lot of attention, remember, you were the one who did or said it.
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) presented three town halls in the 4th Congressional District today in the towns of Buffalo, Versailles and California. We were there.
Under the constituent sign-in table at Representative Vicky Hartzler’s (r) town hall in Buffalo, Missouri – May 4, 2012.
For anyone who has attended one of Representative Hartzler’s town halls this is funny and ironic on so many levels.
Before the start of the Buffalo town hall one of Representative Hartzler’s staffers approached us as we had finished setting up and I had started taking stills of people signing in for the town hall. The conversation (paraphrased):
Staffer: Are you taking video?
Me: No, he does video [pointing to Jerry Schmidt]. I take stills. [There was a slight pause in the conversation]
Staffer: I would prefer that you not. People attending don’t want to be on video or pictures, their privacy…
Me: This is a public meeting. Have we ever done anything in the past other than present everything in its entirety?
Staffer: I could ask you all day and I suppose the answer would be the same.
Me: This is a public meeting.
There were six different staff in attendance at different stages of the three town halls.
In Versailles, Missouri. That’s a staffer on the right with a camera.
Wait, that’s a staffer with a camera taking pictures of Representative Hartzler interacting with constituents at a town hall? We do that, too. We also do meticulous transcripts of the proceedings so anyone can read what went on.
Part of the response to a question by a constituent at the Versailles, Missouri town hall about Representative Hartzler’s worth as reported in her personal financial disclosure report:
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): ….So those reports are written by people who don’t like me, who don’t want me reelected. They’re here, we’ve got people been following me around. They take my pictures, they’re video recording me so they can defeat me this November. Uh, anyway, that’s a part of it. So, you know, But it’s out there and, uh, anyway, so….
“…they’re video recording me so they can defeat me this November…”
“…if you did or said something that attracted a lot of attention, remember, you were the one who did or said it…”
Uh, we cover politics and government in Missouri. We post that information (photographs, video, transcripts, public reports) on our blog so that anyone who may be interested can access it. You know, it’s called reporting.
In Versailles. Same staffer, same camera, same member of Congress, different constituent.
In California, Missouri. Same staffer, same camera, same member of Congress, different constituents, different town.
The lack of respect for people’s privacy at public events is just beyond the pale.