This is my mea culpa.
To the mayor of La Quinta: I’m sorry. Normally, I’d tell him so directly, but he won’t take my phone calls. Apparently Don Adolph is still miffed that I printed his age – he’s 82 – in a candidate bio several weeks ago. I guess Adolph figured I wouldn’t because he had refused to tell me his age, but I’m resourceful. I had to get it through a public records request.
I would have never known he was so upset with me except that I called a day two later about something else entirely. And that’s when he let me have it. I tried to apologize, but Adolph wasn’t having it. Some voters, he scolded me, may think he’s too old. I said something about Ronald Reagan’s quip to Walter Mondale about being too young and inexperienced.. He didn’t laugh.
So, I pressed on and asked about La Quinta’s reserves. It was a bear of a story I’d been working for months. The gist of it is this: municipal finance experts recommend cities save about 20 percent of their annual budget in reserves. Most of the valley’s have that and much more, including La Quinta. Adolph called the experts “stupid.” And then he said if I believed the experts he had some beach front property to sell me in Kansas.
OK. Here’s a little news tip: never chat with reporter when you’re pissed. I quoted him. Well, not the Kansas part.
It’s customary with an in-depth story like this to do a follow up. So, a day later, I called the mayor to see if he’d gotten any feedback from residents.
“Nicole, I have no comment for you,” Adolph told me. And then he hung up on me. Call me ballsy, but I called back. I got his wife.
“Hi, Diane. This is Nicole with The Desert Sun. I was just speaking with the mayor and I think we got disconnected.”
“Oh, no. I think he was finished talking with you.”
Ha! How’s that for unbridled honesty? I put the hang up in my story.
Fast forward to this week.
The mayor and I are still not on speaking terms. When I called Monday for a feel good story about a woman in a wheelchair he helped, I could hear Adolph in the background telling his wife, “Tell her to call me at the office. Tell her I’m busy.”
When I was a kid, my mom called that kind of behavior, “Cutting off your nose to spite your face.” I call it blog fodder.