Thomas Gordon: Speaking Truth to Power

And the Santa Ana Banana Republic Junta doesn’t like it.

Note to Sal Tinajero: When you ask someone to serve your city on a Commission, let them do the job. Don’t try to remove them for political reasons.

The City Council (Junta) of the Banana Republic of Santa Ana will decide tonight on the proposed removal of anti-gang Commissioner Thomas Gordon. While I may not always agree with Thomas, there is one thing I do know; Thomas cares about his community.

It should not be an impeachable offense to challenge the status quo. Speaking out should not be cause for removal from a city commission.

Several years ago I served on the Garden Grove Sanitary District Commission. If Garden Grove operated with this level of disdain for its commissioners, I would not have lasted the five years I did.

Hey Sal! Leave Thomas Alone!

Even if he did yell at you, MAN UP ALREADY!

You’re a Councilman for godsake. If you can’t stand a little heat, get out of the kitchen.

  3 comments for “Thomas Gordon: Speaking Truth to Power

  1. December 4, 2007 at 4:49 pm


  2. james
    December 5, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    I want to draw your attention to the fine short piece written by Delson in the LA Times about the firing of Thomas Gordon from Santa Ana’s EPIC commission. Delosn’s piece is far better than the Register piece in my opinion, though it partly benefits from the Register report. Most importantly, it raises the prospect of a Brown Act violation by the City Council, which fired Gordon without public comment and without public discussion, raising questions about how six out of seven council members found agreement inside of about 24 hours (from the last minute addition of this item to the agenda to the vote). I ask a question of you all, in your knowledge of the law, if the council members coordinated their votes secretly, does that violate the Brown Act? I also want to congratulate my friend Michele Martinez for being the lone vote against. Here is the LATimes story:,1,3033057.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

    I may be way-off on the Brown Act, but Gordon himself raised a critical question in the Times: “They didn’t even discuss this. How did they even know why they were voting?” said Gordon, a one-time mayoral candidate who was appointed to the panel in January. “What happened leads you to believe there was a backroom discussion.”

    Now, even without a violation of some regulation, there is a serious problem here for civil liberties: a few months ago the council did talk about their desire to discipline OJ bloggers for their critical speech. Without any discussion on Monday night, many could agree that they disliked Gordon for his speech and would like to use their power to destroy him. That’s an illegitimate use of power. The OC blogosphere needs to keep up presure. This should not be a precedent. People have posted comments to the OJuice blog announcing that the other bloggers are next. In Santa Ana, right now, it would seem, free speech is to be punished by government officials through their official powers.

    No government official should be allowed this kind of power.


  3. anon
    December 6, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Two stories on the unfolding controversy over commissioners and the firing of Thomas Gordon:

    Two more Santa Ana commissioners leave
    The pair resign after a colleague, who had been critical of the city, is booted from the panel.

    By Jennifer Delson
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

    December 6, 2007

    Two days after a Santa Ana commissioner was removed from his post, two other city commissioners who had been criticized for comments on an Internet blog are resigning.

    Art Pedroza and Luis Rodriguez, both members of the Housing and Redevelopment Commission, gave notice Wednesday. The other commissioner, Thomas Gordon, was removed by the City Council on Monday.

    The three have been contributors to, which has been critical of the city government.

    Last month, city officials asked the three bloggers to tone down their criticism of city government.

    Councilman Sal Tinajero, who pushed for Gordon’s removal, said the resignations of Pedroza and Rodriguez were “not a smart move. They would be better to serve the community.”

    Tinajero said he asked the council to remove Gordon because of the commissioner’s behavior at public meetings, not his Internet comments. Gordon yells in public meetings and interrupts those who disagree with him, Tinajero said.

    Tinajero said he tells appointees to commissions: “I don’t mind you criticizing staff. We need to question why we are conducting business the way we are.”

    But Pedroza said it appeared that there was no room for dissent in the city government and saw no reason to continue serving on the redevelopment commission.

    Councilman David Benavides disagreed: “I think we are trying to make our government more open, and having commissioners is one way that we can get different voices in our government. Someone who steps down is giving up that opportunity.”

    Councilwoman Michele Martinez said she was disappointed by the resignations.

    “They saw that they were just rubber stamps because our government’s censoring these people at every level,” she said.


    Wednesday, December 5, 2007
    Santa Ana commissioners resigning to protest colleague’s removal
    At least three city commissioners plan to step down after the council ousted a vocal anti-gang commissioner.
    The Orange County Register

    SANTA ANA – At least three city commissioners plan to resign their posts in protest after the City Council kicked one of their colleagues out of office earlier this week.

    The Council voted 6-1, with no discussion, to remove Thomas Gordon from the city’s anti-gang commission. Council member Sal Tinajero asked for Gordon’s ouster, saying the vocal commissioner had yelled at him during an earlier meeting.

    Since then, one city commissioner has submitted his resignation, and two others say they plan to do the same in the next few days. Like Gordon, two of the commissioners write for a blog site called “The Orange Juice!” that has hounded city politicians and criticized city actions.

    “I just don’t want to be part of that mess at this point,” said Art Pedroza, the founder of the blog and a member of the city’s Community Redevelopment and Housing Commission. He said he was in the process of writing his resignation letter.

    Another member of that commission, Luis Rodriguez, also a blogger, submitted his resignation at a meeting on Tuesday. He said he was bothered by Gordon’s removal as well as the council’s decision not to vote on a proposal to broadcast all meetings on television and online.

    And Ryan Trabuco, who championed Gordon as a “caped crusader” during this week’s council meeting, said he also was planning to step down from the Environmental and Transportation Advisory Committee. He said he was moving out of town to accept a new job and would have had to resign from the commission anyway.

    But the removal of Gordon, he said, “just makes me feel much better that I’m leaving this behind.”

    Gordon and the other Orange Juice bloggers have never minced words about their frustration at how the city handles issues ranging from gangs and graffiti to street repairs and stolen shopping carts. Council members have talked in the past about removing them from office, saying they spread misinformation and engaged in personal attacks.

    But Tinajero said critical blog entries had nothing to do with his decision to seek Gordon’s removal. He said Gordon tried to dominate a recent traffic meeting and shouted “Get over here,” when Tinajero tried to give other people a chance to talk.

    Gordon has said the exchange never happened, and Tinajero never approached him about his behavior at the meeting before seeking his removal.

    Commissioners like Gordon and the others play advisory roles in city government, reviewing issues and ideas and forwarding their findings to the full City Council. Council members appoint them, and can have them removed for any reason.

    But that doesn’t happen very often. Clerk of the Council Pat Healy said she was aware of only one other commissioner who had been taken out of office since 2000. He had missed so many meetings of the Library Board that the council declared his seat vacant.

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