Friday 27 April 2012

Update - Email from Barry Evangeli regarding Barnet Eye email to Richard Cornelius re harrassment of Barnet trader

Earlier this evening, I posted an open email I sent to the Leader of the Council, Richard Cornelius concerning the treatment of Barnet trader and opponent of Brian Coleman's parking charges. I did not mention this in the original post, but East Barnet Councillor Barry Evangeli happened to be in Cafe Buzz (not with me I hasten to add) when the incident took place. I copied Councillor Evangeli into the email, as I asssumed that he'd be keen to confirm what I said to Councillor Cornelius. I was rather shocked to see that Councillor Evangeli took a different view of the events. Please make up own mind as to what really happened and as to the mark of the man (Mr Evangeli).

I am really very angry about what happened for many reasons. As Councillor Evangeli stated, I do have the video footage. As the Council official mentioned was merely doing their job and was "the messenger" I believe it would be most unfair to drag them into the row, although it will be clear from, the interview footage I release, that there were more people in Cafe Buzz than myself, Poppy and the cat.

Councillor Evangeli is correct when he states that Helen Michael shared a cup of tea with the Council Official and behaved with a friendly demeanour towards them. This is because she has impeccable manners and recognised the fact that the council official was the messenger, having to do someone elses bidding.  The inescapable fact is that she was given the notice, at work, in full view of her customers. There is no way that this could be perceived as anything other than embarrassing and humiliating. Helen Michael did her best to make the best of a bad situation and succeeded.

There can be no other conclusion than one that this was an attempt to silence Helen Michael and stop her campaign against the parking charges. We can quite clearly add Councillor Barry Evangeli to the list of Barnet Tory Councillors who have no empathy whatsoever with the people they purport to serve. I'd suggest you read the email's bottom to top to follow the sequence.

From: Roger Tichborne
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 12:22 AM
Subject: Re: Open Letter - Harrassment of Barnet Traders

Dear Councillor Evangeli
I am disgusted by your attitude and your comment. You implied in your email that  was telling lies.
What did I say that was untrue?
Did a council official enter Helen Michael's shop without notification and serve a letter on her, in full view of her customers?
Would a normal human being find this embarrassing and humiliating?
Was this necessary, given that Councillor Richard Cornelius had spoken to Helen Michael by phone?
You tell me what fact I have misrepresented anywhere in my email? You tell me what crap I've written?
Just because Helen Michael, unlike you, is able to be charming and civil when faced with an embarrassing situation, does not make it any less of an embarrassing situation. It is completely clear to me what sort of a man you are from your behaviour and your comment and sadly that is not a credit to Barnet Council or the Conservative Party. My sole concern in writing this email was to draw the attention of the leader of the Council to what I felt was unacceptable behaviour by the people in the organisation he is the leader of. I copied you in, as I mistakenly thought you would also be of the opinion that the council had behaved in a rather overbearing and unappealing manner and I mistakenly believed that you were sensible enough to see why the council were treating a local taxpayer and business ratepayer in an appalling fashion.  
As to making mountains out of molehills, I happen to believe that intimidating political opponents in the runup to elections is a very serious business. The chain of events is quite clear. A council official walked into Helen Michael's shop, served a notice on her in front of her customers and staff, following her campaign against unreasonable parking charges levied by your administration. This was embarrassing and humiliating. I wrote to the Leader of the council  to express my disgust at this and you sent your leader an email which contained offensive comments in regard to me, and were stupid enough to copy me into it. 
If this issue is a "molehill" as you claim, why have the council engaged their legal team on the issue and despatched a council employee to personally deliver the letter? Just out of interest, did you suggest to Helen Michael that, as the issue is a "molehill" in your opinion, you would intervene to ensure that the council treated such an unimportant issue as a "molehill"? Did you enquire as to whether this visit was the first one Helen Michael had received in relation to her leaflet about the parking charges from figures in authority? Did you offer to help a valued local businesswoman resolve her issues with the council?
Please can you explain to me how you can possibly think that the council's behaviour today is a trivial matter? Is the letter Ms Michael received something with no potential impact on Ms Michael whatsoever? If it is, then why did the council waste their time sending it? If it isn't and has potential serious consequences for Ms Michael, how can you possibly dismiss it as a "Molehill".
I truly hope against hope, that the Leader of the Council will realise that this is a serious issue and one which portrays Barnet Council in a very poor light. 
Roger Tichborne     
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:43 PM
Subject: Re: Open Letter - Harrassment of Barnet Traders

Dear Mr Titchborne

Thank you for your email.

If you filmed the whole event, then you should have it all on record! Without making a mountain out of a molehill, let's please stick to the facts as to the chain of events!

Cllr Barry Evangeli
East Barnet Ward

From: Roger Tichborne
To: Evangeli, Cllr Barry Conservative; Cornelius, Cllr Richard Conservative
Cc: Walkley, Nick
Sent: Thu Apr 26 20:21:19 2012
Subject: Re: Open Letter - Harrassment of Barnet Traders

Dear Councillor Evangeli,
I copied you into the email as you were present as a matter of courtesy.  I assumed you would have a private have a word with Councillor Cornelius to confirm the incident, not call me a liar. As you well know, I spoke to you. I saw exactly what happened and have it on video.
Do you really think that it is anything other than humiliating to have someone walk into your shop and give you such a letter in front of your customers. Helen had a cup of tea with him, because she is a nice polite person. As you well know, I had to shoot off to see a rep. It had been my intention to discuss the matter with Helen, but as you were present I did not want to embarrass you or put you in a position where there was a conflict of interest for you.
I spoke to Helen after seeing the rep by telephone and she was upset by the matter.
I am truly disgusted by your response. You are aware I was filming at the time, aren't you. Maybe you are used to receiving summonses in front of your customers and find it in no way humiliating, but I can assure you that most people would be. I believe councillors should support local people. Sadly it seems that this is not your view.
Roger Tichborne
----- Original Message -----
To: Roger Tichborne ; Cornelius, Cllr Richard Conservative
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 7:49 PM
Subject: Re: Open Letter - Harrassment of Barnet Traders


Absolute b******* (crap)!

I was sitting having tea with Helen Michael at the time.

The gentleman from the council (who is on first name terms with Helen) sat down and joined us for a cuppa and gave her a letter. Present at the cafe were myself, one other table and the cat!

Cllr Barry Evangeli
East Barnet Ward

From: Roger Tichborne
To: Cornelius, Cllr Richard Conservative
Cc: Walkley, Nick; Evangeli, Cllr Barry Conservative
Sent: Thu Apr 26 19:10:19 2012
Subject: Open Letter - Harrassment of Barnet Traders

To : The Leader of Barnet Council
Dear Councillor Cornelius,
This afternoon I witnessed the most shocking thing I have ever seen in all of my time covering politics in Barnet. I had arranged to meet A.M. Poppy, the Green Party candidate at Cafe Buzz in Finchley to record a video interview for the Barnet Eye blog, as part of our news coverage of the GLA elections.
As I was conducting the interview, with the video camera running, in the middle of the Cafe, an officialf Barnet Council arrived, approached Helen Michael, the owner of Cafe Buzz, and served an official notice on Ms Michael, in relation to distribution of posters concerning the traders protest about Barnet Council parking charges. 
This was done in a most humiliating and embarrassing way, in front of a whole cafe full of people, whilst I was in the middle of an interview with the Green Party candidate. This is clearly an attempt by Barnet Council to intimidate Ms Michael in the run up to the GLA elections. Ms Michael was clearly upset and refused to discuss the incident with me, until she has spoken to a lawyer, although it was crystal clear what was happening.
It is 100% clear to me that this is a highly political action and the timing is not a coincidence, with the GLA election next Thursday. As Ms Michael told me last week that she had spoken privately to you concerning the matter, I cannot believe that you would seek to publicly humiliate her in this manner. You could easily have rang her and asked her to receive the notice in a less embarrassing manner.
The behaviour of the council you are running becomes more like a repressive Stalinist regime each week. I believe that you should hang your head in shame at such behaviour, as this is clearly a politcally motivated act. Thousands of posters are put up every week in Barnet looking for cats, advertising drug fuelled raves and money lending services in all manner of places. How many of these people receive a visit in such a manner?
I believe a full apology to Helen Michael is in order. Needless to say that if Barnet Council persist with this attempt to silence a vociferous critic, they will doubtless find themselves on the receiving end of yet more awful media coverage. The traders of Barnet are a huge asset, one which is clearly not valued by your administration. I am deeply upset at what I saw today, and I sincerely hope you will be too.
Roger Tichborne


Ron said...

was it a pure coincidence that cllr. Evangeli was at the cafe when the notice was served?

Morris Hickey said...

Herr Flick of the Gestapo?

Mrs Angry said...

I have to say I am amazed. Not that the council would act so speedily to serve such a notice for a political reason, when, as you say,the borough is littered with all sorts of offensive posters etc, but that Barry Evangeli actually was doing something other than eating biscuits. Ah. He was in a cafe, though: plenty of tuck there.
As to the real issue, one might think that as a councillor who like Rams has suddenly become enraged by his own party's parking scheme, he might be supportive of Helen Michael who has always opposed the entire catastrophic policy and has been an heroic campaigner against the idiotic new rules & charges when all the Tory councillors just sat back and did nothing. What a pathetic bunch they all are.