Ask Joe: Was commissioner's comment an insult or a joke?


From the Ask Joe file, a question tonight about whether a Washoe County commissioner insulted Lemmon Valley residents during a public meeting this week.

Several residents reached out asking why Commissioner Vaughn Hartung made an off-hand comment about a house falling on someone as Lemmon Valley resident Danny Cleous was approaching the podium to speak. Residents want to know if Commissioner Hartung was trying to insult him in some say.

Here's what Joe found out.

The comment that is stirring up controversy, if you want to call it that, was made during a Washoe County Commission meeting on Tuesday when Commissioner Hartung said to Chairwoman Marsha Berkbigler, "I hope a house falls on you, too." Berkbigler could then be heard telling Hartung to "shush."

The comment is definitely getting some people riled up, who felt it might have been meant as a jab of some sort at Lemmon Valley residents who have been at odds with the County because of the devastating flooding that has occurred there.

I spoke with Commissioner Hartung and he says in no way was he trying to insult anyone. The comment he says was in reference to the launch of the LimeBike bike sharing program the day before. Commissioner Hartung was telling the chair, Marsha Berkbigler that him riding a bike would be like the scene out of The Wizard of Oz -- that led to Hartung saying to the chair... "I hope a house falls on you, too"... At which point Berkbigler shushed Hartung as Danny Cleous was ready to speak.

Hartung says he is sorry if anyone was offended. He insists that was not his intent; and the commissioner told me today he will issue apology on the record at the next commission meeting.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off