Different Day, Same Old Jerry
Jerry, here’s the article you asked for.
I took off a bit early Tuesday night and rushed down to city hall to try and catch the last couple of items on the city council agenda. The aldermen were too quick in conducting the city’s business, however, and the doors were locked tight by the time I got there. So, I had to be satisfied watching the meeting via PC from the comfort of my own home.
As I ran through the video I stopped to watch a few items, which I’ll get to later, along the way. I was mostly interested in items 11 & 12 which had the mysterious titles of “City Council Stipends & Benefits” and “City Council Gifts & Gratuities”, respectively. I really didn’t know what to expect. The accompanying agenda reports simply stated that Mayor Amante asked the items to be agendized. And, to be honest, it smelled. Coupled with Deborah Gavello’s MIA status, it appeared even fishy.
So, imagine my surprise when I hear Jerry say the right thing. He actually wants the people of Tustin to determine future pay and benefits for their city council. He even wants councilmembers to be held to the same standard as city hall employees in regard to gratuities, inferring the present system is a bit loose. I was floored. Had I been at the meeting, I might have even applauded. This, of course, is the kind of thing we like to hear. Never mind that it won’t affect Jerry as any changes by referendum could not take place before his term ends. The idea is thoughtful and, as he pointed out in a roundabout way, quite trendy with other cities around us doing similar things.
Now, I went back and watched the entire video. Jerry had been pleasant during the meeting. He gave my friend, Walt Sullens a nice plaque for Walt’s work on the Audit Commission, extolling his volunteerism and service to the city. It was genuine and heartfelt. Jerry was patient and thoughtful, as a mayor and councilman should be, when citizens voiced concerns over Edison’s Smart Meter Grid. He was even nice to a speaker who tried to discuss inappropriate matters and pointed her in the right direction (Okay, she was an attorney and that could have been professional courtesy). Yes, I was feeling quite the warm and comfy feeling here. This is how it should be in our town.
And, then, Jerry blew it.
It’s no real news that the Recall Amante effort failed. Our friends at The Liberal OC wrote a great piece early this morning about it. Even the best run professional recall efforts, run for the best reasons, face an uphill fight. So, a grassroots recall based on the (un)civility of a lawsuit happy mayor was like a mouse with his middle finger raised in defiance facing a swooping eagle.
But Jerry, or someone claiming to be him, recently wrote a comment on this blog that showed how he really felt about the citizens of Tustin.
How about you write a story about how Nathan Menard, Sheree Loveland, Charles Horvath and Jeff Gallagher wasted the time and money of some of the gullible citizens of Tustin for their own political gain and ended up with absolutely nothing.
So, it should have been no surprise when the Mayor, in his closing remarks, cheerfully stated,
I’ve always maintained that the recall effort was unfair, unjustified and carried out for political revenge,” Amante said. “I’m pleased to report that not one single signature was presented to the city clerk by today’s deadline and there will be no recall election.
He beamed like a triumphant child that just won a game of kick the can. Of course, there was silence due, mostly, to the fact that most everyone had already gone home.
Jerry was wrong, however. And, not just for falsely including me in the conspiracy to overthrow Hizzoner. He was wrong because the recall organizers and, indeed, the citizens of Tustin did get something for their effort.
Look at the very first post of this blog, Who are You and What Have You Done With Jerry? In that article, in which I opined that the recall was unnecessary because Jerry was termed out next year, I outlined how Amante seemed nicer and more civil during council meetings. He was even civil to fellow councilmember Deborah Gavello. And, this is what we gained. Since he was served recall papers at the council meeting in April, Jerry has slowly become more civil. The public discussion portion of Tuesday’s meeting was evidence that Jerry was listening. And Jerry, regardless of his rant, was concerned about the recall. Otherwise, why would he have held two nondescript fundraisers back to back? And, let’s not equate “no signatures turned in” with no signatures gathered. Although, contrary to Jerry’s assertion that I was involved in the conspiracy, I did attend one meeting as a reporter where there were petitions with what I would estimate to be several thousand signatures. So yes, Jerry, there were more than a couple of “gullible” citizens who were fed up with your behavior, penchant for lawsuits and fiscal mismanagement.
So, why couldn’t he just be satisfied the recall was over? Why did he have to get his last, juvenile, dig in?
Well, because, in the end, Jerry has to be Jerry. And that is too bad because, ill personality, skewed fiscal management style and his occasional cronyism aside, he has proven that he can be a pretty nice guy when he wants to be.
So, what did the recall supporters and citizens of Tustin get? Hopefully, a kinder and gentler Jerry. Only time will tell.
Now, if he would just square his personal differences with TUSD and quit squandering taxpayer money on senseless lawsuits, he could leave the dais next year with people thinking well of him. Or he could just leave a big mess for his successor to deal with. It’s his choice. I understand that the Recall Amante group will now work as the Watchdog Amante group to provide volunteer citizen oversight of the city council. This is good news. I hope Jerry is listening.