"Basically, everybody knows that Isaac has a short fuse," said Sutton, Richard's lawyer. "And Rick lights it."
Sutton maintains that Richard offends a tradition of gentility in Pasadena politics. By censuring him--and depriving him of some of the privileges of being a council member, such as access to free tickets to the Rose Bowl--his fellow council members are violating his freedom of speech, the lawyer contends.
"They're trying to enforce a Pasadena standard of civility," Sutton said. "But you can't have government enforcing civility or politeness in political debate. It's contrary to American traditions."
Sutton said he is preparing a legal paper alleging that the action of the council in depriving Richard of council perquisites is unconstitutional.
Despite all of the rancor, the council continues to plug away at city business, Crowfoot insisted.
After last Tuesday's blow-up, the council voted to create a new redevelopment area in east Pasadena, discussed the regulation of cable television, negotiated with business leaders on a proposal to raise electric power rates and, finally, approved a $25,000 reward for information on the killers of the three boys--but only after Richard, whose lone opposing vote had blocked an earlier attempt--stepped out of the chambers.
"I'm concerned that people get the impression that nothing goes on at the City Council but fighting and weirdness," Crowfoot said. "But our business does go on."