Debbie McEwen practices her free speech, at tonight’s Council meeting
The Alfredo Amezcua campaign spent a week screaming on Facebook about free speech, but at tonight’s Santa Ana City Council meeting, which was held at the historic Yost Theater, they sent a mime to the podium, then waved the white flag. I was embarrassed for them.
Ruben Alvarez, who serves as Amezcua’s photographer, turned in a speaker card. I asked him where his censorship sticker was and he blanched. He must have thought I read his mind. Moments later, when he took the podium, he put a piece of white tape over his mouth, then proceeded to hold up sheets of paper with words on them. It was all so lame I couldn’t even follow what the heck he was trying to say.
Amezcua’s lame mime…
Councilman David Benavides whined and pleaded for forgiveness, apparently forgetting that he had voted to silence Amezcua’s disciple, Alberto Castillo.
The rest of the Council would have none of that. Councilman Vince Sarmiento, who is an attorney, said he took the initiative and looked into the law, and he spoke to Castillo and offered to give him the podium. Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez took it further and invited Castillo to come up and finish his statement. He didn’t as he, predictably, had nothing to say. I guess Amezcua forgot to write a speech for him.
Amezcua was there, but despite all his public whining and chest-beating he sat stone-faced in his seat and did not speak, even as the Council voted to toss his supporter, Tish Leon, off the Parks and Recreation Commision.
Benavides voted against that motion, after pulling it off the consent calendar. He bleated about how it was a political move. Then he sat there red-faced as the entire Council whacked him. Mayor Miguel Pulido put it best when he said that the Council Members serve at the pleasure of the voters, and the Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Council Members. The Council Members can toss any Commissioner they want to, any time, for any reason.
Council Member Michele Martinez mentioned in her comments that she wasn’t playing politics when she appointed Leon, who ran against her in 2006, to a City Commission. Then she revealed that Leon did not have a good rapport with her. Mayor Pro Tem Alvarez then chimed in that Leon had once been her commissioner, and they had not worked well either. Leon, for whatever reason, shunned the Council Members who appointed her to two City Commissions. That was not a great strategy, as it turned out.
Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who is allied with Benavides, bit his tongue and voted to remove Leon. I don’t think he wanted to get scorned like Benavides, who is now on the outs with the entire City Council.
That guy in the striped shirt lives in Long Beach – he must have gotten lost on the way home!
Leon did not show up, nor did her fellow bully Commissioner Julie Stroud. But all the other Usual Suspects were there in full force. It was funny to see Debbie McEwen sitting with mayoral candidate Charles Hart. As you can see in the picture atop this post, she was her usual surly self.
All of the Usual Suspects beat a hasty retreat at the end, as their latest scheme to embarrass the City Council failed. Even worse, now they have a mime in their midst! Good grief…