Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Congressman John Conyers wife...a clue into what ails Detroit

Insults escalated in spat between Conyers, KenyattaBY ZACHARY GORCHOWFREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers had to be restrained during a confrontation last week with Councilman Kwame Kenyatta in which she hurled insults at Kenyatta about his hearing aid, health and education.
Kenyatta would not discuss who said what except to deny Conyers' assertion in the argument that he has cancer and to say he never raised his voice.
He called Conyers' behavior petty.
"It's classical Monica Conyers," he said. "She's unprofessional. She's disrespectful. She's insensitive."
• UPDATE: Kenyatta to Conyers: Apology not accepted
Sources who described the incident on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter said the Feb. 4 argument escalated after Conyers called Kenyatta stupid, following his insistence that she submit in writing her request to cut his budget.
When Kenyatta asked her what she said, Conyers responded he needed to learn how to talk to a woman.
Kenyatta shot back that when he was with a woman, he would do so. That prompted Conyers to yell at Kenyatta that he was stupid, citing his lack of a college degree, to tell him he "can't hear" -- a dig at his hearing aid -- and to try to rub in his face rumors that Kenyatta has cancer.
As at least one council staffer and a council security officer restrained Conyers while she tried to walk toward Kenyatta, he retorted that he hears just fine, doesn't have cancer and told her she needs help. Kenyatta made a report with the council's security unit about the incident, which took place in his office.
There was no physical contact between the two.
Denise Tolliver, Conyers' deputy chief of staff, did not respond to requests for comment, but Conyers sent Kenyatta and other council members a letter titled "My sincere apology" although she does not specify which comments she made that were inappropriate.
"I would like to apologize for my response to your comments," Conyers wrote. "As colleagues, we should have mutual respect for one another even if we disagree."
Conyers has a history of volatile behavior. She was involved in a bar fight shortly before taking office although law enforcement absolved her of any blame in the incident.
She also derided then-Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. as "Shrek" during a council meeting last April.
• VIDEO: See Conyers call Cockrel 'Shrek'

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