Ever since he was elected in 2012, City Councilman Charlie Parker has never been afraid to speak his mind.
But last week, Parker resorted to name-calling and foul language on his blog in response to a commenter who suggested the retired pilot should lose his “wings” over his stance on civil service for Arlington firefighters.
In the Sept. 12 post, Parker called the commenter a “miserable piece of excrement” and ended his response by saying “tee it up b----!”
Parker, 68, who flew for 47 years with the Navy, TWA and American Airlines, retired in 2011. He has said he won’t seek reelection. His term expires in May.
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“I took exception to his comment and I could have probably handled the situation better,” Parker said. “However I did not. I removed the comment and moved on.”
The commenter, writing under the name Jon D., called Parker “a coward” and suggested that his years of service did not compare to the work of firefighters.
“You conveniently forgot to print the part where I said I was a retired pilot and would strip you of your wings if I could,” Jon D. said in his comment. “You are a fabricator, liar and coward Charlie Parker. I would never pretend to be a fireman, they are amazing individuals and gratefully serve the city everyday. You have never done anything where your life is on the line, ever, nor has Mr. anonymous (another commenter), whom I suspect is you.”
Parker said his heated response followed a series of profanity-laced messages he received in recent weeks, including personal attacks that called him a traitor and a terrorist.
Arlington is the midst of implementing civil service for firefighters, a system approved by voters in May. Civil service is designed to stop political interference in personnel decisions by putting more value on testing and seniority.
The city met this week with the Arlington Professional Firefighters Association over the implementation of civil service. On Wednesday, the Arlington Professional Fire Fighters put out a statement saying that the city plans to reduce benefits for firefighters, including eliminating a three percent 401(k) match, to pay for the cost of the civil service system, which is scheduled to be implemented on Oct. 30
Over the summer, Parker repeatedly posted on his blog that firefighters were going to lose some benefits if they didn’t negotiate with the city. In a Sept. 14 post, he called for a change at the top of the association.
“This style of leadership is truly problematic, and the only way to move forward, in my mind is to remove the problem,” Parker wrote. “But it is your Union.”
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This isn’t Parker’s first dust-up over things he has said.
In 2015, the Dallas Morning News obtained some of Parker’s emails through an open records request in which Parker said he had no respect for Kelly Canon, then vice president of the Arlington Tea Party.
“I have absolutely no respect for the Kelly Canon’s [sic] of the world,” he said. “I would much rather talk to a parrot.”
In 2014, Parker also accused Open Carry Tarrant County of acting more like a gang than an activist group, according to CBS 11.
“That is essentially how they’ve been acting, they’ve been spanked by the statewide group and rightfully so,” Parker told Channel 11. “They have no moral compass whatsoever — there’s no integrity or honor or respect in this particular group.”
Parker insists his blog provides information that citizens and firefighters would not otherwise receive, Parker said.
“I'm only one vote on the council but I will talk to you,” Parker said. “I give them more information on that blog than they get anywhere else.”
The flap over his comments has been circulating around social media and emails for the last week but Parker insisted the feedback from most of his constituents had been “very positive” about his response to “Jon D.”
Luis Castillo warns about the impacts of Senate Bill 4 while speaking to the Arlington City Council.
Supporters and opponents to the proposed ordinance voice their opinions to the Arlington City Council Tuesday, May 9, 2017.