Amante is served with recall petition

Mayor Jerry Amante is handed a notice of intention to recall him from his council position. The required notice was signed by at least 10 Tustin registered voters.

Mayor Amante receives recall papers. Photo: ROSE PALMISANO, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Tustin city council chambers were packed last night as Mayor Jerry Amante was served with a recall notice.  A grassroots political organization presented Amante with a petition of 30 signatures – three times the required amount — for notice of recall. None of the signatures are from former elected or appointed official in Tustin.

Amante, anticipating the notice of recall, also was able to pack the public comments with supporters but many of those who spoke are current appointed officials or former elected/appointed officials who are aligned with the Mayor.

From the story in the Register: “Thirty people signed the notice of intention, though the form left spaces for 25 signatures.

“If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s that there is a significant portion of people unhappy with the way things are being run,” said Albert Hernandez, who signed the notice of intention form.

Not counting the two councilmen, 10 people spoke in support of Amante during public comments and one letter supporting Amante was read by Nielsen. Three people, including Horvath, spoke in support of the recall effort.

“I have not always agreed with you on every decision, nor would I expect that I would,” said Donna Marsh Peery, a former council candidate and community services commissioner. “I have found you to be a strong, fair and dedicated leader to the entire city of Tustin, not just special interest groups.”

She addressed the firing of Biggs in March.

“We don’t have a right as citizens to know what that issue was about,” she said. “Did it cost the citizens of Tustin money? Absolutely, that’s no secret. That’s a fact. I don’t think we can measure the money we saved, though.”

The Register reported that the recall election would cost Tustin between $130,500 to $145,500, which we will point out is still less money than the severance package paid to outgoing city manager David Biggs.  The city can likely recoup the investment in the recall election by reigning in out of control legal costs that have nearly tripled since Amante became mayor.

Now getting the 7,000 plus signatures required is a big undertaking and Amante is already marshalling his forces.  But to us, the damage is done.  Amante has a political organization and money machine ready to go against grassroots residents who will take time away from their jobs, families and social lives to save the community.  But make no mistake.  Amante is concerned with what’s in Amante’s best interest and the grassroots team is looking out for the community.  There is considerable community anger towards Amante that parallels the anger voters felt towards Gray Davis when the governor was recalled in 2003; that recall started with a small grassroots organization and the governor’s response, like Amante’s, was “this is a partisan effort” — looking at the party registrations of those who signed features both Democrats and Republicans.

Amante is a lawyer and political lobbyist with a business address based in Irvine.

I’d also like to save the Internet trolls a little time.  Tustin Council member Deborah Gavello has nothing to do with the recall effort.  She isn’t part of the group that talks to us but in casual conversations with just about everyone who asks me about these stories, her name comes up.  Sorry to disappoint but she’s not part of the equation and the organizers will tell you the same thing.

Updated with corrected info: A talking point that Amante referenced on KOCE needs a rebuttal because it’s being repeated in comments on posts.  Amante said the council voted to terminate Biggs.  The original vote was 3-2.  The council’s 5-0 vote to oust Biggs was more a vote for paying the severance package and to agree on releasing a joint statement.  Amante has used this vote out of context to lend heft to his claim the relationship between the city manager and the council was not good.  The fact was Jerry and his Republican majority had already decided Biggs had to go.

Now the chamber was packed last night because the city honored football players from Beckman High School (many of which reside in Irvine) for their terrific playoff run last season (and we’re waiting until April to honor a team that wrapped up its season in December?).  Amante boasted that Tustin Unified produces more players that make to the NFL than any other school district.  And to be fair, four players from Tustin were on NFL rosters last season but Tustin didn’t make the top five and was second in the state of California with Los Alamitos (so they aren’t even tops in the county).  Woodland Hills High School from Pittsburgh, PA has the most with six and Concord De La Salle was in a three way tie for second has the most in California with five.  Such an easy stat to find and yet so dishonest in its delivery. 

I will agree with Amante that the players and coaches at Beckman are exceptional and they deserve every honor they can.

My email box has been jammed with emails from Tustin residents asking at first where they could sign the petition and how they can help.  Please send email to and let them know who you are and what you can do. 

(photo of Amante being handed the recall petition is courtesy of the OC Register)

  0 comments for “Amante is served with recall petition

  1. Randy Rock
    April 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I am reposting my statement here I previously posted in the article, “Amante Recall Petition Served Up Tonight” because it is a direct reply to what happened at last’s meeting – I was there and spoke out during the city council meeting. Below is my statement with a few typo & grammar revisions only. The content is otherwise the same:

    I attended the Tustin City Council meeting last night coming in from Pasadena due to my job being located in that city.
    Mr. Horvath did an excellent job speaking in behalf of those of us who want Mr. Amante gone. Also, he dressed most properly in a suit showing that he was not a crazed radical but a respectful person that disagrees completely with Tustin’s Mayor.

    The other side provided their usual how much they love Amante diatribe lauding him with praise after praises that should not have been exclusively for him but to all council members meritorious of those good works made. Obviously, Amante’s promoters left out his “not-so good” experience – How CONvenient!

    The disturbing element however was when, after reading a statement signed by multiple business executives praising Amante, Councilmember Nielsen provided a statement of his own against the recall. After he read aloud his statement Councilmember Murray read his own statement against the recall effort as well. I felt this was absolutely wrong because there was no, and should not have been, commentary made by the other Council members – D. Gavello and B. Gomez at all. In short, no council member should have spoken either way about the recall measure because it is a conflict of interest. No council member should speak in a public city meeting in favor or against the recall showing support or disfavor of any other member. However, Council Members Nielsen and Murray spoke with conviction against the measure which was WRONG. The people in the city of Tustin can choose to recall anyone – Liberal, Conservative, Democrat, Republican or anyone else in office – that is the law. By the way, Mr. Horvath provided the section and code in the CA law, allowing for a recall.

    Afterwards when I left the meeting the supporters of Amante were excessively rude to me telling me, to my face, that I ought to be “ashamed” for being against Amante. By the way, during the public commentary segment Amante’s supporters repeatedly used that term “ashamed” like a mantra. When that term was used towards me I responded that there was no shame for either side – they have a right to their support of Amante while I have a right of my rejection of him. It is their behavior that was nasty not mine own and, sad to say, this is the true or real state of affairs in Tustin politics…

  2. junior
    April 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I’ll bet you drinks Dan that you do not break the 3,000 signature mark.

    My daughter who lives in Tustin wanted me to let you know that she and her husband will not be signing.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    April 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    and if they get over 8,000; would you call on Amante to save the taxpayers the trouble of being recalled and resign?

    Jerry showed how serious he takes this by having so many people speak in his favor last night. If it’s no big deal, why the show of force?

    • Al
      April 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      This is just the way he is. He often feels it necessary to annihilate the opposition. He pretty much has only two setting : off and full_blow_hard. It’s like the policy of overwhelming force.

      It was a bit of an irony to see his supporters during the meeting deny that he is heavy handed and a bully, while at the same time he was demonstrating the precise behavior as he cut off Gavello so that his colleagues could provide a extremely self serving speech on his merits. It was a brash and brazen display of partisen politics. The only thing they left out was that Amante invented the internet.

      It really looked like they were brainless puppets that would say whatever Boss Amante asked. It seems clear he can make them vote in any manner he wants. It’s a monarchy by an arrogant tyrant. This is why we need to put a stop to it. It certainly does not fit my ideals of American government.

  4. junior
    April 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    One circus deserves another Dan.

    • Truth
      April 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Junior, don’t you complain about Claudia Alvarez behaving the exact same way Jerry Amante behaves? Is being an complete A$$hole to the public allowed only if they are male and a Republican? Just asking.

      • junior
        April 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        To tell you the truth … Truth – I don’t know anything about JA. I am just harrassing Dan C. – he takes my harrassment in such a good natured manner. So I am unable to make a comparison between JA and the daughter of B-L-Z-bub.

  5. cook
    April 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Don’t most recalls fail, in either getting the necessary voters to sign off, or enough voters to show up and vote :recall” at an election?

    Working at the polls for the last 13 years, we use to have 2 elections every 2 years. But now for the last few years, we been working 2 to 5 elections per year.

    • junior
      April 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm


      I bet Dan C. drinks that they would not gather 3,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot (they need 7,000) – he didn’t take me up on the bet.

      • Dan Chmielewski
        April 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

        Junior — you are on!

        • junior
          April 8, 2011 at 6:30 am

          It is a bet then sir.

  6. junior
    April 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm


    Send me some clips of what you say is JA’s bad behavior. If he is truly as bad as the daughter of BLZ-bub, I will ask my daughter, who lives in Tustin, to sign the petition.

  7. junior
    April 8, 2011 at 6:28 am


    I watched the first video – that was a waste of 9 minutes – nothing there – JA was not disrespectful to the Tustin resident speaker.

    As far as the second video – goes – yes, that was a bit of a rude remark to the Councilwoman. However, I don’t have a context. Was this a tit-for-tat go-around? Not enough there to go on.

    And it surely does not nearly drop to the level of calling SA residents “Usual Suspects” as did the daughter of BLZ-bub.

  8. Dan Chmielewski
    April 8, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Junior — its Amante’s wasteful financial practices that have residents most concerned. The city manager situation is going to cost them well over $300K by the time it’s said and done. OC Weekly actually uses much stronger language they I do to describe Amante’s antics.

    Did Alvarez actuially use that term “Usual Suspects?” I thought that was exclusively Pedroza’s.

    • junior
      April 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

      “Did Alvarez actuially use that term “Usual Suspects?”

      Yes Dan, absolutely she said that during a City Council meeting. And I believe that she was acting as Mayor during that specific incident.