Harris: "I am requesting a public apology"

Well, here it goes again.

Monday night, the Vancouver City Council discussed changes to its ethics policy — the policy used to hold Councilor Jeanne Harris accountable for her “gavel down” incident last year.

The discussion opened some old wounds, and Harris spent time talking about how the current policy served to damage her (and also how other city councilors, the newspaper and nasty emails after the incident had harmed her too).

Councilor Larry Smith spoke up after that, telling her: “Again, it wasn’t my behavior — it was your behavior.”

Harris responded Tuesday, calling for a public apology from Smith, saying “I was verbally attacked and publicly embarrassed during council workshop by CM Smith as was noted in today’s Columbian article.”

(The term “verbal attack” appears in the draft update of the council’s ethics policy, but that wording hasn’t been approved yet.)

Smith said this afternoon she’s not going to get one.

“I don’t think I owe her an apology,” he said by phone from a campaign fundraiser. “If I said something pandering or something that was derogatory, I would. But I kept a positive tone and was firm.”

“I wish we could accept responsibility and move forward. Let’s move on with it. Let’s make modifications in the policy. Let’s just get with it and take responsibility and be accountable for yourself.”

Here’s the full text of Harris’ email:

“Last night in my attempt to try to improve our Ethics policy and make it more fair and effective I was verbally attacked and publically embarrassed during council workshop by CM Smith as was noted in today’s Columbian article. I would like a public apology at the next city council meeting from CM Smith.

It is important to me that we create an environment on this council where everyone is allowed to speak without fear of being attacked by fellow council members or the public, that we speak for self and that everyone is respected for their opinions, even when we disagree.

I want to be able to be open and honest with each other without fear of an ethical violation. I would like to see the council and mayor work as a team but first we must face some discouraging issues that have occurred, admit where we could have done a better job and where we have made mistakes and mend wounds so we can work with one another in a more productive and positive way.”

Scroll to top