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Charges fly at council meeting

February 22, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

They called each other liars and demanded public apologies.

Tuesday night's meeting of the Hagerstown Mayor and City Council was the scene of the latest round in the conflict pitting former Councilman Larry Vaughn and Joseph Imes, president of a West End neighborhood watch group against Councilman J. Wallace McClure, and now Councilman Alfred W. Boyer, too.

The conflict began weeks ago when McClure, responding to a citizen's complaint, went to see if a no parking zone in the West End could be turned into parking spaces. McClure was told fire trucks turning onto the narrow street need the space. Such no parking zones are sometimes called "red curb" areas because the curbs there are sometimes painted red.

McClure said he was satisfied with the explanation and agreed the no-parking zone should remain.

Imes and Vaughn believed McClure was trying to eliminate some "red curb" areas in the West End and circulated a petition asking "the Mayor and Council members to keep the 'Red Curb' as is for the safety of citizens and to allow the fire trucks to make proper turns for the safety of the West End citizens."

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Tuesday, Vaughn presented the council with the petition, which had 264 signatures, including Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II's. The mayor said he isn't taking sides and signed the petition because he agrees with the statement.

Vaughn, a councilman from 1973 to 1981 who plans to run in the 2001 council election, and Imes, who is also a member of the city's Board of Public Safety, said McClure called and screamed at them after he learned of the petition.

Vaughn said the conversation was a "verbal beating" from McClure.

Imes said his wife, who was in another room, could hear McClure yelling at him over the phone. They said McClure was lying when he claimed he didn't scream at them and should apologize.

McClure said it was Vaughn and Imes who were lying and they were the ones yelling during the phone calls. McClure said he will not apologize.

Soon after the phone calls Vaughn sent a letter to McClure warning him that if he ever called Vaughn or went onto Vaughn's property, Vaughn would have him arrested.

Vaughn and Imes criticized Boyer for remarks he made during the meeting's opening prayer. Boyer called for an end to "petty bickering" over red curbs, the water and sewer debt and the location of a state university center.

Vaughn said it was "very sad" that Boyer referred to red curbs in his prayer, and said Boyer should apologize.

Boyer said he would not.

Vaughn said he would work to get Boyer and McClure voted out of office. McClure said he would write to everyone who signed the petition to tell his side of the story.

McClure said the petition fostered misinformation among West End residents. He said Imes and Vaughn should apologize to their neighbors.

Imes and Vaughn said they will not apologize.

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