Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why You Should Vote AGAINST "Adam Dread" on August 7

By Peter Rodman

Adam Dread has managed to wangle the Republican nomination for Sessions Court Judge here in Davidson County, by running unopposed. 
Nobody else wanted it.
He first attempted to run as a Democrat, when (according to The Tennessean) he was "pressed over his credentials" earlier this year, and suddenly switched over to seek the far easier GOP nod.  
The election is Thursday.  
I urge you to vote, if only to stop this fellow from gaining access to a serious position on the criminal court bench, which requires certain personal qualities I strongly believe are 'colors curiously absent from his palette,' to put it politely.  In Davidson County, a 'Sessions Court Judge' is the person who decides who goes to jail (and for how long), and who doesn't. The position of course requires judicial temperament; personal restraint; a measure of decorum; tact; and most of all...a sense of compassion or mercy.  Adam Dread has none of these qualities.

One of around 20 'photobombs' Adam managed to pull off, 
following me around at this particular event.  
(Believe me: After the first five or ten, it feels like harassment.)
Photographs Copyright 2014 by Peter Rodman.

The Nashville Scene reported almost a year ago that Dread was planning a run at the judgeship merely to legitimize his bid for a hoped-for 'reality TV show' called Judge Dread. (Har, har....get it?)
They mentioned that he'd already shot a 'pilot' last summer, and he was quoted thusly, about his potential show:
"Because of the way that would be shot, we could do five shows a day for a week. We could shoot a season in a week or two. It wouldn't interfere with me being an actual working judge."
Apparently nothing will interfere with this guy becoming "an actual working judge"--unless we, the voters, do. 
His candidacy is a hideous attempt to make a joke out of our legal system, from a self described 'stand up comedian' who's never gotten past grabbing a microphone at local events, to traffic in snark.
The biggest national exposure he's had was making a few appearances on his beloved Fox News, which is quite fitting for a character who could easily be called 'the Greg Gutfeld of Nashville.'

Even Wikipedia, normally a benign place for bland biographies, has alerted its readers that Dread's obviously self-penned biography "has multiple issues," "may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's standards," and most tellingly, "a major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject." 
Well, Duuuuuuh!

Virtually nothing about the man is real, starting with his (legally changed) last name:  
Adam Dread was born Adam Schwalb. 
With his garish plaid pants and a seersucker smirk, 'Dread' fancies himself as a high society kinda guy, boasting of ties to Nantucket, even though he's actually from Pittsburgh. He's authored two airport-style joke books called You've Obviously Spent Time on Nantucket If...--a concept obviously lifted from the Nashville Scene's annual You're So Nashville if...issue, to which he has submitted dozens of 'entries.'

Those are just the brief outlines of what's been reported about Adam Dread.  
The next several paragraphs are about my personal experiences with the man.  I hesitated a long time before deciding to share these things, as they are not pleasant memories.  In fact, the man has dished out enough pain over a long enough time in my direction, that if this were a woman's story, you might see his bullying for what it really is: sheer personal harassment.
I don't know that it's ever crossed the line into anything legal; that's not my realm.
But I do know how badly he's made me feel, and for how long...and I know he knows that, too.  

I wouldn't want anyone like that to 'sit in judgement' of me, my family, or my friends, and that is why I am finally speaking out.
So bear with me.  
All of this is very difficult to say, because I know it'll only fire him up for another 20 years of misery...and quite frankly, I'm afraid of him.  It would cost him nothing, to file his own frivolous lawsuit against me, being an attorney. 
I on the other hand, am a on social security.
He could clean me out in a heartbeat. 
But his campaign of bullying and intimidation toward me has been merciless. 

And that word, right there ("MERCILESS") is why I feel obligated to let you know just who I believe this person is, before you let him become a criminal court judge in our city and county.

When I was on Radio Lightning 100 during the '90s, I tried to keep my 'day job' as a flight attendant private.  The reason was simple: I didn't want to attach my work as an interviewer--already 20 years going, at the time--to a profession so many dismiss with disregard, in America.  (Note:  Around the world, crews are still treated with great respect, like they were here in the '60s.) 
Anyway, so as not to diminish the work I was doing on Sunday Night with Peter Rodman, as an interviewer, I kept quiet about my other source of income.
I brought literally hundreds of national names to the table at Lightning 100, and my ratings reflected it.  Our radio station was the place to be in Nashville, during the mid '90s.
One night, while trying to conduct a 'live' interview with either Danny O'Keefe or Richie Havens (I've forgotten which), I began hearing a terrible racket bleeding through (on the air!) which was ruining a stellar live performance by this nationally renowned, acoustic artist.
Needless to say, Adam was next door in our offices, hosting a show on our (much smaller) 'sister station,' Thunder 94. When I entered the room to ask him to turn it down, a cloud of pot smoke nearly knocked me over.  A circle of zonked pals were startled by me barging in, and I asked Adam to please turn it down immediately, as he was ruining my show. 
(Note:  I have nothing at all against pot or loud music! Unlike Adam Dread,  I am not a Republican!)
When the noise continued, I re-entered their party room/studio twice more with this same request, to no avail. 
The third time, I came roaring in--and told him if he didn't turn it down, I'd shut it down.
Either he'd leave, or I'd leave--and I was pretty sure that wouldn't sit too well, with our bosses.
I further ranted (throwing in a bit of hyperbole) that my show was literally paying for the power he was using, to ruin it!  It was ugly, I have to admit.
I felt so bad about it, I later returned again, and apologized to them all for bein' a 'buzz kill,' after my show ended.  (I may even have had a puff with them! I honestly don't recall.)
Through all of this, Adam seemed oddly amused.

I now know why.
Give him a story to tell, and he'll not only tell it, he'll relentlessly embellish it. 
And he'll re-tell it, publicly, as often as he sees you--no matter what the setting.
Including: Mutual friends' birthday parties, radio station reunions, and even somber memorials for a deceased friend.  (In recent versions, I 'm supposed to have screamed, "I'm a flight attendant!" For what reason, I have no idea.  This is not true.  At that time, I was still hiding the fact that I flew, even from Adam--and for good reason, it turns you shall see, below.)

Beginning the day after that confrontation, I began finding vaguely anti-gay stuff in my inbox, at the radio station. Children's books, ripped to shreds; scrawled notes with hateful, sick messages, etc.
I cannot prove they came from Adam, but at the time I did register a formal complaint with the owner.
His reply was, "Hey...Adam's a house painter. Everybody's got a day job around here." Funny...I haven't seen "house painter" anywhere among Mr. Dread's official 'bios.'

Once Adam did find out about my 'day job,' he immediately went right there on the air, to announce (read: mock) my other occupation, strictly for the purpose of tearing apart my radio work.
And "coffee, tea or me" jokes weren't the full extent of it, either.
He continually portrayed me as gay (aren't all male flight attendants?) and (to him) inconsequential, because of it.  Never mind that I wasn't either one.
That's irrelevant; the bullying and harassment isn't.  

Rarely has anyone gotten more mileage out of the word "peanuts."

None of this, nor Adam's incessant hollering "Davy Jones, of the Monkees!" every time he saw me, really bugged me too much...until I realized--five years after we'd both left the station--he was still doing it.
Ten years?  Same thing.    
Fifteen? Same-same.
Now it's twenty years.

It takes a true sicko to mount that long a campaign of harassment and bullying, no matter whether the initial encounter justified some teasing (it probably did) or not.

I've never spoken out about Adam's bullying in public before. He's run in many citywide elections since then, and I really couldn't have cared less. I said nothing, ever.
Until now.

For a time, he even glommed onto attorney Bart Durham's son, and together they hung a shingle outside their offices as 'Durham & Dread' --effectively hitchin' a ride on the elder Durham's omnipresent TV ads. That shingle is gone now, as the younger Durham inevitably joined Dad's law firm...and his commercials.  But before it ended, 'DUI Adam' campaigned hard, to win 'Best Lawyer' in the Nashville Scene's 'Best Of' issue. 
You are so 'Adam,' if...

I don't hate this person; in fact, I wish him well.
Everyone should move on, right?
That's my view.
But the more I pictured him inching toward a judge's bench, the more I began to consider the Adam Dread I have known, and it truly worries me to think that our county might put such a person on the bench, in a position to "judge" anyone.

Here are a few specific personal encounters I think speak to the man's character (or lack of same):
  • At a casual 'Thunder 94/Lightning 100' (radio station) reunion party a couple years ago in Nashville's 'Greenhouse' bar, a dozen or so former staffers were appalled, when this guy got up (we all thought) to raise a toast to old times--like we all had--and instead repeated that same tantrum all over again, at what was supposed to be a celebration of the GOOD times we'd all spent together at those radio stations:  
   "Let me tell you about the first time I met Peter Rodman..." 
The rant that followed was a chilling moment for everyone there--eerily reminiscent of Mathew Harrison Brady's pathetic witness stand speech, at the end of Inherit the Wind.

I received notes of apology from several fellow former staffers after that night,
Frederic March as 'Mathew Harrison Brady'
in 'Inherit the Wind' (1960) c. Warner Home Video.
some of which I still have. But in truth, what was most stunning about it--and has since become obvious to most who were there--is that this person's peculiar 'tick' simply wouldn't allow him to to stop and consider where he was, or that he was ruining everyone's moment there, not just mine.

I managed to slip out of the group unnoticed, and as I was closing out my tab, Adam began bellowing from across the room, "Wait! Wait!!  Where is Peter Rodman!!"  He had his phone camera out, and had hoped to catch a picture of me angry, but I'd had nothing but smiles, and simply eased outta there. Behind me, the whole place could hear him literally barking orders at his (then) wife:  "*****, GO FIND ME PETER RODMAN, RIGHT NOW!!! BRING HIM HERE, NOW!!"
The poor thing had barely even met me that night. She really didn't know who the hell he was talking about, but you could see the fear in her eyes, as she scurried around, asking each and every person, "Have you seen Peter Rodman?" 
Finally she reached the cash register and tapped me on the shoulder, just as I was signing the bill.
"Have you seen Peter Rodman?  I've got to find Peter Rodman! Do you know where Peter Rodman is?"
"No, haven't seen him," I said, "I don't know the guy."
As she went back toward her belligerent husband, I felt a terrible sadness for her.
How had such a seemingly sweet soul ended up with this guy?
I'd like to apologize here and now to that young lady, for my fib.  I knew exactly where Peter Rodman was, that night.  Out the door.
And so was she, not long after that...I'm told there's yet another Mrs. Dread now.

The most important thing I learned that night was this:
Adam Dread can't help himself.
He has no situational awareness whatsoever.
Nastiness, for Adam, is a compulsion. A tick. 
As National Lampoon magazine once put it, "That's not funny...that's sick!"

But that's not all.

  • A well-loved chef at Cabana passed away late last year, and I went to the memorial co-owner Randy Rayburn had graciously set up for his family and friends, in large part to help raise funds for them, as well as to remember a fine fellow. 
On my way to leave, I bumped into Randy and thanked him for all the great work he always does in this community, and to tell him I was particularly touched by this gesture of love for a fallen employee.
The mood was tearful, but appreciative.
Adam Dread bellied his way over, and barged right into the conversation, beginning with "Davy Jones!"
"Ha-ha, Adam," I said.  "Can't there be another joke...even just one, after all these years?"
"Listen, I'm running for judge in the Republican Primary this spring.  Randy's endorsing me...can I have your endorsement?"  Rayburn looked on, as Adam played with his iPhone.
"Adam," I said, "First of all, I'm not even a Republican...and this is hardly the time or place to be 'campaigning,' but if you would just promise to finally leave me alone, sure. Can you do that?"
"So you're endorsing me??  Hold on a sec...P-E-T-E-R R-O-D"...and on it went.
When he was done entering my name in his iPhone, he immediately said, "Hey, Randy...
 "Did I ever tell you about the time Peter Rodman and I first met?"

Despite immediately breaking his word, Adam went ahead and used my name in a print ad, listing his endorsees in the GOP primary.  I'm not sure it's been used again, but if so, it shouldn't have been.  If legitimate at all, it was only for his unopposed primary run--not the general election.  And again:  I'm a lifelong, die-hard DEMOCRAT.  Always have been, always will be.     
  •   At the recent Ben Folds gathering to 'Save Studio A,' I walked in with Ben at around 7:30 in the morning...and mingled for awhile. Once again, just as I was about to leave and found myself stuck in a crowd on the floor,  Adam swung around right in front of me, with a devilish certainty in his eyes--he'd literally backed over to me, so as not to be spotted-- and stuck out his hand. "Peter Rodman!" (He towers over me, and leans into it, as if height itself were a personal achievement.)  I accepted his handshake, and as always, he took it as an invitation to try to embarrass me, if at all possible...  
"Hey Peter!" he said, suddenly acting real friendly. "Have you met my friend from KROQ in L.A.?  He's The MAN out there!" 
I smiled and shook the guy's hand, and he asked me what I did. 
"I'm just retired,"  I said. 
You could almost count off the beats: 2...3...4...
"Peter and I used to work together on the radio, here in Nashville!" (Not true.)
Then, as Ben Folds wrapped up his speech behind us, Adam looked at me with that knowing glint, and went in for the kill. 

Out of nowhere, he very loudly said to the guy (a perfect stranger to me)...
"Let me tell you about the night I first met Peter Rodman!!!" 
...and began his little 'story' once again.  "Nice to meet you," I said...and left.

I'll let those brief examples be it, for now.
Believe it or not, I harbor zero ill will toward the man, other than the pain which remains inside me, after years and years of awkward public taunting, on his part.
In addition to being totally bizarre and puzzling, his obsession with demeaning me in public is actually disturbing.  

I simply cannot believe anyone would go to a 20 year extreme, over a single bad encounter.  I've never met anyone quite like him. 

But this really isn't even about me, or about me and Adam.
I've reluctantly published the above recollections to show you why I'm alarmed that this person even has a chance to become a publicly elected judge in my county. 
But that's our system.  And so too is my right to speak out against his candidacy, and finally tell all about what I've gone through with this guy, for so many years.

This is about ADAM DREAD, the made-up character who wants to be your Criminal Court Judge--and decide who raped who, who murdered who, who goes to jail, and who doesn't. You may think your own kids will never get arrested or find themselves in front of a criminal court judge, but just imagine needing compassion from a real judge behind the bench--and instead finding some guy with a stage name, hiding his plaid pants and a serious case of megalomania beneath his judicial robe. Imagine if your very freedom depended upon the mercy of a merciless social climber, best known for his self-satisfied smirk.
The election is this Thursday, August 7th.

I urge you to get out and VOTE on Thursday, if only to 
in the race for Sessions Court Judge in Davidson County.

Thank you.

This opinion column, and all photographs contained herein are:
Copyright 2014 by Peter Rodman.  All Rights Reserved.
(except as indicated above)