One of the last times Robert Bates — a City Council candidate in 2005 who is open about his criminal and prison past — showed up at a City Council meeting, he ended up getting arrested.
That was in early September, and the misdemeanor criminal charge of disorderly conduct for disturbing a lawful meeting was the result of Bates’ profanity-laced and yelling-tainted performance during the council’s public comment period.
Turns out, Bates, who runs a traveling concession business, contested the charge and beat it in February.
On Wednesday, he was back at the City Council podium with a new version of public comment that featured profanity, a loud voice, personal attacks and a short refusal to leave the microphone when the council’s 5-minute time limit had been reached.
Council member Brian Fagan, the council’s mayor pro tem, asked Bates to moderate his comments twice, and then Fagan had to insist that Bates leave the microphone.
By then, Police Chief Greg Graham had moved to the side of the room to accompany Bates outside.
Bates asked if he was getting arrested again, to which Graham did not respond.
In his presentation, Bates once again brought up a decade-old dispute with the Linn County Sheriff and the Police Department. Bates also is a flood victim, and he talked, too, about what was not being done for flood victims.
Bates also had a notable outburst in the council chambers in the fall of 2007 when he sought to run for City Council a second time. However, a citizen successfully challenged some signatures on his nominating petitions and, as a result, he did not have enough signatures to qualify to run.
On Thursday, Bates said he and Chief Graham talked for about 15 minutes outside the City Council meeting on Wednesday evening in a discussion that he said did not result in any criminal charge.
He said he is just “standing up for our American rights” of free speech to make the point of how he and other flood victims feel.
He said he is planning a new run for City Council this year.