They do political debates a little differently in Port Arthur. Not for them the tedious policy points of Bill White and Farouk Shami; instead they get into whether saying you'll kick someone's ass is a threat or a promise.
Former Mayor Oscar Ortiz is running for his old office, and as the Bayou blog points out, Ortiz got a little ticked when a fire marshal gave his car a warning sticker about parking illegally in front of city hall.
He called the fire department and let loose. And now, the tapes of those calls have been released.
Among the highlights: A cheerful secretary answers the phone and tells Ortiz that no officials are currently available. He leaves his number.
"Can I tell him what it's in reference to?" she chirpily asks.
"Hell yeah," Ortiz says, "...tell that damn moron that the next time he puts a sticker on my car I'm going to come over there and make him lick it off."
"Okay, I will let him know," she happily responds.
The fire chief forwarded a copy of the call, which was automatically recorded, to the city manager, which Oritz didn't like. He called back a couple of days later.
"Why'd you do that, chief?" he asked.
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"Because you basically threatened a fire marshal," the chief replied.
"No," Ortiz explained, "I said I was going to kick his ass if he kept harassing me...That wasn't a threat, that was a promise -- I'll kick his ass if he does mess with me. Now, you want to record that too, chief?''
Yes. Yes, he did want to record it.
Apparently Ortiz isn't the favorite in the upcoming election. If he pulls off an upset, though, the fire department might be sending out resumes starting Election Night.