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Woman dragged out of council meeting by police

Original post made on May 6, 2009

A roomful of spectators looked on as police officers dragged a longtime Menlo Park resident out of the council chambers at a City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 6, 2009, 11:37 AM

Comments (31)

Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Why did we need four police officers to ask someone to leave? When some crazed resident charged the dais and threatened Ms. Duboc's safety there was no need for police officers to come to the scene then. And that was a far more dangerous situation.

I believe that Heyward is being a little heavy handed and did not exercise sound judgment. This is purely a case of over reaction on Heyward's part. Heyward would have been more than a little upset if the police led him away in handcuffs after his brawl on the City basketball court with a City employee during lunch.

We need a mayor who can stay cool under pressure. Heyward's questionable judgment in low stress situations is not a desirable attribute for a City Council member. In November 2010 Heyward is up for re-election. You should vote for someone with mature judgment. I believe 4 years is enough for Heyward.

Posted by Mountain Dew
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm

While 4 years for Heyward is 4 years too many... he will probably be re-elected. Bush was re-elected.

Menlo Park re-elected Fergusson. I'm guessing people don't really care about politics.

Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 6, 2009 at 12:48 pm

It takes four M.P. officers to handle one women, because they are the most out-of-shape bunch of cops I've ever seen. And from where did Mayor Robinson hail the 4 officers? Starbucks, no doubt.

Posted by The Dude
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Cool! Finally, a public official with some real balls!!

Now, if we could also get him to toss out the [portion removed; disrespectful language] supporters of the stupid child care center we'll start getting the city back on track.

Posted by Bugger off Hank!
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 6, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Hank, you are such a blow hard and really need to get a grip on who you are. You continuously voice your opinions though nobody really wants to hear them! You live by berating others all the time and saying how screwed up things are... why don't you put your name on the line and run for council?? You won't because you're afraid and you know what will happen, you would struggle to tally 250 votes.

I don't really care about what happened to Heyward or Lee and the incidents each of them had to respond too, it's life and politics. You of all people should understand that and not continue to pipe off. Seriously Hank... SHUT UP!

Posted by Way to Go
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Way to go Mayor Robinson! Weather one or four officers responded they did their job.

Posted by Go Hank
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Hey Hank go ahead and speak up anytime you feel like it. I like your clarity.

Posted by unique
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Hank, can you give me your contact info so I can invite you over? You would be a swell addition to my next dinner party. I realize that you will have to sweep the room and check under the chairs to make sure that no lefty liberals are concealed, but once we get past that obstacle, we will have a grand time talking about the pernicious evils that have afflicted Menlo Park. You have a great sense of humor and irony, Hank! It shines through every post.

Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm

How do we know the Mayor called the cops. Whether you agree they should have been called (credit to the Mayor) or disagree (shame on the Mayor), there is nothing in the news article that says who called. Could have been a concerned member of the public.

Posted by marie
a resident of La Entrada School
on May 6, 2009 at 3:29 pm

I agree. Hank you should put up or shut up. Sounds like you make a habit of turning up your nose at others when they speak. Why don't you run for city council and let the audience boo you out of chambers so you can feel what it's like to be snubbed by others.

Posted by Hank is right
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Keep it up Hank. You are performing a valuable service. Heyward Robinson is very self serious and has an anger problem. My reading of the article is that the woman had returned to her seat and was quiet when the police showed up. Were they all drawing overtime financed by Heyward's utility tax?

Posted by none
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2009 at 8:45 am

she was not "guided" away, she was picked up and carried by her elbows on both sides while handcuffed from behind. She was screaming from the pain while being carried for about 50 yards. The situation was not handled well by any of the city officials involved.

Posted by Bunchof BS
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 7, 2009 at 11:15 am

[post removed; disrespectful comment]

Posted by A lawyer
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2009 at 11:57 am

The injured party should contact a personal injury lawyer who can file a compliant in the Superior Court of San Mateo County against the Menlo Park Police Department for the use of excessive force. The complaint should also name Mayor Robinson as a co-defendent.

Posted by Tsk, Tsk Mr. Mayor!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm


I agree 110% with you - Robinson has got to go. Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose, the Israel-Palestine issue still unresolved, the banks are still in the toilet, unemployment continues on the rise, plus the swine flu thing. What the heck has Heyward been doing about all this since he's been mayor? Absolutely nothing! Off with his head, I say, off with his head!

Posted by Rodney King
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Can't we all just get along? Kum bye ya my friends........kum bye ya.........kum bye ya my friends........kum bye ya..........I can see Hank and Heyward leading a group hug at the next council meeting!!!

Posted by good counsel
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm

To A lawyer, really? Can't believe you passed the bar. Sue Mayor Robinson? There's nothing actionable here; she'd be wasting her money. (But as a lawyer, maybe you like that?)

To everyone else: google "Nitza Derfner." Not a lot of items turn up, but they all portray an angry person who is quick to threaten lawsuits for all sorts of perceived slights. She sounds a little wacky to me. Maybe the city needs to have a psychiatrist on hand.

Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Good Counsel

You made an excellent suggestion. We do need a psychiatrist on hand to examine the looney policies of Robinson, Fergusson, Cohen, and Cline. And one for John Boyle because the Majority Four are driving him crazy with their nonsensical and irrational governance.

Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I am officially embarrassed by these comments and how seriously you people take yourselves.

Posted by Echo
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 7, 2009 at 5:51 pm

truth: So say we all.

Posted by Weary
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 7, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Truth, I see it from a slightly different angle: I'm embarrassed by the comments you refer to as well, but my take is that the posters don't take themselves and what they spew on about seriously enough. Now, admittedly, there's always room for some levity, but those who would jump at every chance to promote their political agenda by attacking and ridiculing their perceived enemies -- even when there's absolutely no logical connection between the subject they write about and the "enemy" -- need to get more serious, not less.

Still, as usual, I see Truth's point. Don't give up, Truth. Keep your comments coming. We need your sanity.

Posted by Taking a Stand
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

My relatives, friends and I, will definitely not be spending our shopping and dining dollars in a town so backwards, that they can not peacefully and respectfully resolve, a little bit of verbal disruption. Shame on you Menlo Park city leaders. You are an embarrassment to your community, and a liability to your struggling small businesses.

Posted by noblesse oblige
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 8, 2009 at 9:45 am

Taking a Stand, anyone who refuses to shop in Menlo Park because the cops remove a [portion removed; see terms of use] from a public meeting is cutting off his/her proverbial nose. You'd probably prefer Dave & Buster's and the Great Mall in Milpitas, and honestly, we won't miss you one bit.

Posted by Serious is as serious does!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 8, 2009 at 11:01 am

Take Mr. Lawrence seriously? Are you serious???

Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2009 at 11:05 am

To follow up on my previous question about how we know that the Mayor called the police. In its follow up article, the Almanac, in my view, cleared it up. After the first time the lady disrupted the meeting (who by the way evidently has a history of doing so), the Asst City Manager left the room. Soon, and prior to her disrupting the meeting a second time, two police offices arrived, spoke to her, and then waited in the back of the room. Upon the second outburst, the Mayor said, "Mr Rojas" (referring to the City Manager) and adjorned the meeting. At that point the police, then joined by two more asked the woman to leave (who refused,etc.) Clearly, sorry Hank not this time, the Asst City Manager ALERTLY called the police in order to safeguard the sanctity of a public meeting and the attendees. Should be "end of story", but I'm sure it won't be. Kudos to city management for taking proper action.

Posted by noblesse
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 8, 2009 at 11:41 am

From the Palo Alto thread on the same topic:

Posted by I Witness, a resident of Menlo Park, 36 minutes ago

I was sitting very near the woman. She was allowed to return to her seat after the first time she disrupted the meeting. After the second time, which came close to hysteria, she refused to stop yelling and to leave the podium for several minutes after her comment time was up. The officers told her several times she would have to leave the room. She refused and kept yelling. They gave her every opportunity to leave peacefully, but then pulled her by her arms out the door so the meeting could resume. After witnessing this incident first hand, I believe that she has mental problems.

It's very unfair that readers of a short news report condemn the Menlo Park City Council and staff before they know the facts!

Posted by Oblige
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

Note to other posters: it's okay to say that someone has "mental problems" but apparently violates the TOS to call someone "n*ts" or "c**zy." Weird. Kind of like 2nd grade, eh?

Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on May 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Noblesse Oblige, Town Square terms of use require that posters be respectful of others. There's a clear difference between saying someone appears to have mental problems and calling someone a "nut-job." If you don't see the difference, then you and I have a fundamental disagreement.

Posted by Todd Johnson
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm


The facts of this situation are disturbing enough. From talking to many people who were there, this woman has a history of mental issues and disrupting city business. It is sad, because apparently there are many who believe that there is some amount of substance to her underlying complaint, but apparently, she is so disturbed, she has been unable to pursue proper channels in a proper manner.

What I find most disturbing, however, is the childish posts in these comments. The lack of constructive thinking and constructive dialogue is exactly what I have witnessed in Menlo Park politics for the eight years since I arrived on the West Coast. I've seen more thoughtful work from young adults in our high schools.

Might I make this suggestion:

To The Almanac: change your TOS and require people to put in their proper names with a verified e-mail address, rather than permitting this anonymous childish banter. (Regardless of what you think of Hank's views or politics, he had the guts to identify himself.)

To My Neighbors: This is not about you, this is not about a particular politician or a particular group (liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian) because there are no "thems" out there. It is just "us." Menlo Park is our city and, quite frankly, it has some serious problems. Why don't we quit wasting time bickering like children (which is most of what I've seen for the past eight years) and actually try to work out some compromises to the big issues and move the city forward.

Posted by Serious is as serious does!
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 8, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Mr. Johnson,

Constructive thinking and constructive dialogue have never had a place in politics, Menlo Park or otherwise. That is why a heavy dose of humor (along with heavy doses of your favorite adult beverage) are required. It is why Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are much more popular than Meet the Press. So sit back and enjoy as we reveal the blowhards for who they really are!

Posted by noblesse
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Renee, I do understand the difference. I am much more insulted when someone suggests I have mental problems (thereby implying that an objective diagnosis has been made) than when someone tells me I am crazy, which can in fact be a sign of affection.

Todd, mellow. It's all in good fun.

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