James Island Mayor Mary Clark is disturbed.

She said her council has disrespected her.

She said they have hidden agendas and have sided with outsiders over her.

So she said that they could ask her about her business only once ... per meeting.

You know what this means?

Either the Godfather of James Island was getting ready to make someone an offer they couldn't refuse, or the mayor had a Diva moment.

A lot of people on Jim Isle are still in shock over Clark's bizarre rant at Town Council last week. She was upset because Councilman Joe Qualey invited some folks from the Centerville neighborhood to talk about problems with traffic in their neighborhood.

Clark was perturbed that Qualey had not asked her permission to do this and accused him of seeking "glory."

Over speed humps.

"The mayor should know what's on the agenda and have some background," she declared. "I should have had the respect."

To reaffirm her power, Clark last week distributed proposed rules that said council members couldn't contact staff without a sit-down with her.

When Councilman Leonard Blank pointed out that would inhibit his ability to represent his constituents, she said: "For goodness sake, why would anyone call a council member?"

Uh, because the mayor's apparently living on another planet?

Bump in the road

There are few people who would dispute the fact that Mary Clark is, in some ways, the Town of James Island.

She has trudged through court battles and political knife fights for years, stood up to Mayor Joe Riley and Charleston's strong efforts to stop her. She has seen the town disassembled by the courts twice, but she never gave up.

Through it all, Clark said the people of James Island deserved the right of self-determination, claimed they would not have a voice in city government if annexed into Charleston.

That's why some people find Clark's tirade so disturbing. Someone at a recent meeting stood up and said she was turning into Riley — or at least Riley as she has portrayed him over the years.

But Joe Riley never told his council, "I chose all of you, and to think any of you could turn on me disturbs me greatly."

That's a bit of an over-reaction to speed humps.

Mayberry, not ego

Folks close to Clark are not inclined to beat up on her. She has a lot of responsibility on her, and they say they're certain she regrets the way things went down.

She did, after all, withdraw her proposed rules earlier this week — after it "divided" the council.

That's good. Because whether you think James Island should be a separate town or not, you have to admit they have something going. Without a lot of fuss or headline grabbing, folks like Qualey have been busting their speed humps for folks without any compensation — or glory.

Even as it sits waiting for yet another court decision on whether it can even exist, the town of James Island is in some ways the Mayberry that Clark and other activists wanted it to be.

It would be a shame if the architect of all that let ego and power get in the way. If it does, her political career could end up sleeping with the fishes.

Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or bhicks@postandcourier.com. To read previous columns, go to postandcourier.com/hicks.