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Support for Councilman Grady
To the Editor;
After last week's story detailing the Mercer Island School District attorney's report on the altercation between bicyclist Mike Grady and school bus driver John Lamont outside West Mercer Elementary, I feel compelled to comment.
The report paints Grady, a city councilman, as a hothead whose behavior on May 11 was the primary cause of an investigation costing the district $6,142.
While the report recommends school bus drivers receive training in how to pass cyclists, it saves its strongest recommendation for Grady: If another incident occurs, the district should consider banning him from school grounds.
If I didn't know Mike Grady, I'd think this guy was completely out of control. But I do know him. He's been my neighbor for years so I've had a chance to see him in many situations, some potentially volatile.
Like the time one of my tree branches punched a large hole in his roof. Mike was nothing but cordial. Or the time I discovered someone had vandalized his car, breaking a window. When I told Mike, he was dismayed but not outraged.
I am not disputing or defending Mike's behavior toward the bus driver. He freely admits he overreacted and vows there will be no repeats. (I hope the bus driver has likewise vowed to be more careful regarding cyclists.)
What I am saying is that to portray Mike solely as a person so potentially dangerous the district must put him on notice is not keeping with the good person I and others know him to be.
He has shown many, many kindnesses to neighbors and is well liked. If you need someone to take in your mail and keep an eye on your house while you're gone, you don't need to ask Mike. He will volunteer.
Soon after the May incident, Mike formally apologized to the driver to Superintendent Gary Plano, to West Mercer teachers, parents and students as well as to the community at large. At that point was it really necessary to spend $6,142 of scarce taxpayer dollars on this issue?
And was it really necessary to threaten to ban Mike Grady, a father, from school grounds?
Or did the district do exactly what Grady stands accused of doing last May — overreact? I'd say the answer is yes and ask Mercer Island citizens not to judge him solely by this incident.
Elizabeth Rhodes Storlie