Boulder files restraining order against its most annoying critic
Given that this incident took place three weeks ago, Brigham has a hard time believing it's the reason for the restraining order. He suspects the action was motivated by a series of e-mails he sent to officials, as well as the press, making financially related allegations against yet another council member, KC Becker. Afterward, Becker spoke to Boulder City Attorney Tom Carr, the author of the restraining order, to say she was concerned about her safety and that of her family.
That's ridiculous, Brigham maintains. "I don't think anyone is afraid of me physically. It's just that they've been wanting to ban me from city council, because I'm a loudmouth and I talk too much. I might be obstinate, I might be insulting, and I have very little respect for these public officials. But as I've stated over and over, I'm not a threat to anyone, I've never been a threat to anyone, and I've never threatened anyone, either."
Anthony Camera A file photo of Dr. John Nicoletti.
City of Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley offers a very different perspective. She says that after Becker's complaints, officials contacted Dr. John Nicoletti, an expert on workplace violence -- he was a primary source in my 2000 feature article "The Wide World of Grief" -- who'd recently made a presentation to the city council on the topic. After Nicoletti examined material about Brigham supplied by the city, Huntley says he concluded "that Mr. Brigham was definitely a threat and the city needed to take action."
Huntley stresses that the restraining order was in no way influenced by Brigham's political charges against Becker or anyone else, and she doesn't see it as an overreaction. "This decision was a very thoughtful and deliberative one," she maintains. "This behavior has been occurring for quite some time now, and we believe we are on solid footing on this.
"What it really comes down to is, no one in the city wants to be in the position of learning too late that we underestimated the consequences of Mr. Brigham's behavior and failed to take the appropriate steps to deal with it."
This isn't the last word on the topic. At a hearing scheduled in Boulder County Court for May 15, a judge will determine if the temporary restraining order should be made permanent. "If the court decides these aren't appropriate steps, we'll of course abide by the court's decision," Huntley says. "But the city is concerned about Mr. Brigham's conduct and feels the steps are appropriate."
For his part, Brigham says he's going to look for an attorney to represent him in the matter pro bono, because he can't afford to hire one. "This is very upsetting to me," he says. "I'm basically going up against the City of Boulder and the city attorney, and all their resources and power, and I consider it serious because of the freedoms I will lose. I mean, I go jogging every day by the municipal building.
"I've been here since 1983, and I've never committed any violence, never threatened anyone. And telling someone to fuck off or sending e-mails about financial conflicts of interest isn't something that should elicit this kind of response."
Update, 1:57 p.m. May 4: Just received an e-mail from Seth Brigham, who reveals that he'll be represented by an attorney at the May 15 hearing. While David Lane, who represented him after his striptease at a February 2010 Boulder City Council meeting, has other commitments on that day, Brigham reveals that a Lane colleague will be handling the case on his behalf.
Here's the restraining order:
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