I have to admit, due to work, I do not get to the city council meetings very often. But, the July 19th meeting was running later than usual and our own local journalist, Elysse James, was tweeting the whole meeting and told me that even 10:30 pm would not be too late to catch one item that I was interested in. It seemed the council had been spending an inordinate amount of time on just one or two items and the family street fair issue, which I have been following, had not even come up yet. So, I get there and one of the first things I notice is…… Jerry Amante is being civil to almost everyone. Oh, I get it. This is like a few weeks ago on America’s Got Talent where Howie Mandel comes running down the aisle hugging people. Those who know the germophobe Howie would never do this immediately knew he was a stand-in. Likewise, Jerry must have found a stand-in for this meeting. How else could we explain his almost….. well, nice behavior?
Of course, there is the fact that, unlike most nights lately, no one was standing outside waving signs calling for him to step down, or at least be nicer to the citizens. No one stepped up to the podium and raged about his poor behavior or handed him a recall notice. Could it be that Jerry is having second thoughts about the Recall Amante effort? Is he worried? He says he will not raise money to fight the recall unless it actually happens. But, regardless of his republican cronies who would like to dream of Jerry’s recent fundraising as a “success”, the Boss Tweed of Tustin has a long way to go to redeem himself in the eyes of most Tustinites (or is that Tustinians?).
We make no effort to hide the fact that we think the Recall Amante effort is unneeded. Amante is a lame duck Mayor who will be gone in 2012 regardless of the outcome of the recall. So, why waste money on the effort? Our friends as The Liberal OC feel different. Citing Amante’s efforts to counter the TUSD suit and the cost of severing the contract of David Biggs, they say we just can’t afford him. In those terms, one has to agree. The cost of the recall effort in relation to the cost of keeping Amante seem minimal. But, how much more damage can Amante do? Day by day, the outbursts on the dais have cost him politically, if not personally. He has been unable to forward his political career and stands to be former councilman and mayor Amante in a fairly short period of time.So, the Lib’s concern that he would handpick his successor seems unwarranted.
And, don’t forget, this is not just Amante. While it is Jerry’s abrasive style that has raised the hackles of the town citizens, let us not forget that he has two other kindred spirits allied on the council (more on them some other time). Amante, Nielsen and Murray form the majority on the council. Nielsen makes it clear he will side with Jerry in almost every issue. Murray is fast becoming a yes man for Amante and Nielsen. So, it is likely he will continue in that mode with Nielsen alone. Amante, once defrocked, will likely continue his lobbying efforts and will not go down without a fight. And, surely, the republicans, feeling the encroachment of a more liberal side will find someone, anyone to nominate. Can this town raise another liberal to take the majority?
In any case, it was refreshing to see a “nice” Jerry for once.