The Orange County Register has finally covered the effort to recall the Il Duce of Tustin, Mayor Jerry Amante, in Wednesday’s edition. We hope the article attracts a significant amount of letter writers both for and against the mayor’s recall because the more the facts come forward, the more support a recall of Amante garners.
The article discusses the perceived “waste” of taxpayer money and the high cost of a recall election, but fails to note the wasted taxpyaer money Amante has presided over in terms of severance for former City Manager David Biggs, the new compensation for an interim city manager and a very costly legal dispute with Tustin Unified over fees the city wants that no other municipality seeks from school districts for construction.
And while Amante has a year and half left, leaving him as Mayor has long term consequences for those who disapporve of the Mayor’s dictatorial style,. Amante is a registered lobbyist. Leaving him in office to hand pick a successor extends Amante influence and a majority vote of cronies in the city council. Would Amante and his firm be able to “lobby” Tustin council members on behalf of developers and others seeking city business?
From the story:
“I think it’s a complete waste of time and effort on their part and will cost taxpayers $150,000 for a special election for someone who’s termed out next year anyway, so, what’s the point?” Amante said.
If organizers are able to collect enough valid signatures, Amante says he will raise funds to fight the recall.
“If they do, you bet I’ll get very active,” Amante said.
Recall organizers point to Amante’s behavior toward other council members and residents, the firing of former City Manager David Biggs, the countersuit against the Tustin Unified School District, and Amante’s decision regarding Old Town Tustin homes.
The decision to end Biggs’ contract was approved by a 3-2 vote of the five-member City Council in March.
The Tustin Unified School District sued the city in February 2010, and the city responded by filing a counter lawsuit. The two parties have a trial court date in November.
In March, Amante appealed the council’s approval of two guest homes in Old Town, but the council voted 3-2 to uphold its original decision.
“I’ve always thought it would be a good idea,” said organizer Albert Hernandez. “I think it should have been done sooner. Even though (Amante) has a shorter term left, it’s still important to do.”
There is still considerable time for signature gathering. The Group seeking the recall of Amante touches every political spectrum in Tustin from conservative Republicans upset with wasteful spending to liberal Democrats who see a battle with TUSD nothing more than an Amante power grab. Given Amante’s recent inflammatory remarks about TUSD administrators and the school board, we anticipate signature gathering to dramatically accelerate once the new school year is in full swing.
(photo courtesy: OC Register)