Political confrontation leads to NH complaint

By Kyle Jarvis,The Keene Sentinel
Posted Nov. 12, 2011, at 4:45 a.m.

KEENE, N.H. — A candidate who lost her bid for an at-large seat on the Keene City Council has accused a councilor who won re-election of inappropriate behavior on Election Day, and is calling for her resignation.

Dorrie Faulkner O’Meara, a local real estate investor, submitted a letter of complaint to Mayor Philip Dale Pregent Wednesday, detailing an incident she says occurred Tuesday afternoon while campaigning outside the Ward 2 polls at the Keene Recreation Center on Washington Street.

O’Meara claims at-large councilor Ruth R. Venezia, who won re-election Tuesday, verbally assaulted her as she was standing outside the building holding a campaign sign shortly after 4 p.m.

“As I was campaigning, Ruth Venezia pulled up to the curb in her car and jumped out, and said, ‘Can I talk to you for a minute?’ ” O’Meara said. “She pulled out one of my signs and shoved it into my chest, and said, ‘This is the second one of your (expletive) signs I’ve picked up.”

O’Meara said Venezia accused her of placing her campaign signs directly in front of her own signs. O’Meara said she told Venezia that she hadn’t been the one placing her signs, rather that supporters had done it for her.

O’Meara said she suggested that a passerby may have repositioned fallen signs, or that someone who disliked Venezia may have been responsible.

O’Meara said Venezia then went on a profanity-laced tirade against her before getting in her car and driving off.

In her letter to Pregent and the City Council, O’Meara said she “strongly believes the City of Keene should ask for her immediate resignation as she is an elected official with this city and should behave in a professional manner.”

Several members of the public were present, going to and from the polls, at the time of the incident, O’Meara said.

Venezia says no such incident occurred.

“I have absolutely no comment,” she said. “It’s a non-issue, because nothing happened.”

Pregent said he received O’Meara’s letter, and that the matter would be taken up by the council’s finance, organization and personnel committee during its next meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The City Council has the authority to remove a councilor if it believes that person acted inappropriately.

(c)2011 The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

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http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/12/politics/political-confrontation-leads-to-nh-complaint/ printed on September 23, 2014