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That conversation left Root in tears. "A person who acts like that shouldn't be in public office, paid or appointed," Root says of Stackhaus.
Most of the dog-park supporters left the board room after the new policy was approved. I watched the commissioners finish their meeting. Stackhaus put on a performance that screamed I need attention. She talked louder than anyone in the room, worked her eyebrows like semaphore flags and thanked one presenter three times, as if her appreciation were the most heartfelt.
I thought I was watching the previous parks board — those elites Funkhouser wanted to cast out of the temple — when Liberty Memorial booster Carl DiCapo spoke to the commissioners about a new restaurant opening inside the World War I Museum. Stackhaus cooed at DiCapo — despite the Liberty Memorial Association's underhanded money grabs and broken promises that Funkhouser had documented as auditor ("The Shaft," February 22, 2007). "Cheers and congratulations!" Stackhaus gushed after DiCapo invited the board to a gala for the new restaurant. (Stackhaus and the other commissioners gleefully marked the event in their calendars.)
The meeting concluded with the commissioners going into a closed session, which cleared the room. Ostensibly, the commissioners were talking about legal issues. But when the discussion lasted more than 15 minutes, I edged closer to the door, trying to listen through the cracks. The scraps of conversation I picked up sounded like a strategy session to control fallout over the dog park. At one point, the commissioners decided that Fierro was going to speak for the board (which he and McHenry did in a brief discussion with reporters afterward).
While eavesdropping, I thought I heard Stackhaus say, "I'm not answering the phone."
Sure enough, she didn't return my call for additional comment.