Editor's Notes: Baseless Threats Stock In Trade Of Local Egotists
In a revelation that will surprise few, the Saugatuck/Douglas area is overflowing with many individuals whose inflated egos are fueled by their self-perpetuated belief that they are superior to their fellow citizens in any number of categories, such as the law, what’s right and what’s wrong in the community and how others should behave and respond to myriad issues of the day.
These individuals seldom hesitate to take any opportunity to share their incredible knowledge and right-thinking ways with others, whether on the street, in behind-the-scenes discourse with friends or foe, at city council meetings or whenever they are able to secure a willing - or often unwilling - listening ear.
Such is the case with John Newland and Doug McIntosh, owners of Roan & Black Gallery located on the Blue Star Highway in Saugatuck.
Upset over recent coverage in The Local Observer of their ongoing battle with the City of Saugatuck, the pair found time to call me (Observer Editor Mike Gallagher) and threaten me with legal action because the news coverage makes it look like they are the bullies and are overreacting to some perceived sleight by city officials and not portraying them as the sympathetic, aggrieved parties in this laughable, nonsensical, ongoing brouhaha (see top story).
When I stopped laughing and invited them to feel free and waste their time and money with any lawyer they saw fit to retain - and even had to explain to Mr. Newland that his use of the word slander was in error; he really meant to say we libeled him in print - it apparently hit a raw nerve.
Mr. Newland, for example, appeared to become almost apoplectic when I told him we didn’t need his permission (as he loudly asserted we did) to run his photograph in our newspaper.
He also became noticeably outraged that we would dare to print “private” communications (emails and letters he sent to the city) despite my explaining to him that any communications sent by any citizen to the government is public record.
Mr. Newland also repeatedly and angrily denied ever (EVER!) talking to an Observer reporter and was incensed that we would quote him having never spoken to him.
When our reporter provided me his notebooks and handwritten notes from a direct conversation with Mr. Newland, it even took a few more minutes before he finally admitted he had, indeed, spoken to the reporter at at a public meeting.
But the real explosion from Mr. Newland came when he screamed and demanded to meet with me and my reporter. When politely told what he could do with his demands - he could ask me to meet with him, but never shout at me with his ego-fueled demands - the real John Newland emerged: “You fu—ing asshole!” he blasted.
Very nice. Makes you wonder what a gallery customer might hear if they criticized his artwork!