Appointed Mayor Gayle Washburn
Appointed Mayor Gayle Washburn

A summary of last night’s city council meeting might be better described by a script writer. Should it be for stage, screen, or cartoon? The star of the show must certainly be our appointed mayor Gayle Washburn, Fillmore’s leading lady.

I might entitle the story “DELUSION”, or maybe just “250 CENTRAL AVENUE”, alluding to that classic film Sunset Boulevard. I see Gayle gracefully descending the council stairs to the gentle, humoring applause of the select crowd below. For this is the woman who, with the touch of her (pre-tower) cell phone button can destroy a Planning Commission and terminate the city attorney. Oh, the power! Oh the glory, Norma Desmond?

“You have no authority to remove the city attorney” says Councilman Steve Conaway. “He was not fired”, her council majority minions squeak in uniform support. I did not have him replaced, our imperious First Lady proclaims in a fit of pique. “You don’t know the facts” the First Lady responds with authority.

But we do have the facts, in sorry profusion.

And, we do have a drama queen in Ms. Washburn. But maybe a cartoon would better describe the bathos of her role. Maybe Bart Simpson? “I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.” Ms. Washburn adamantly denies she had anything to do with removing (“firing”) City Attorney Ted Schneider. But, sadly, the facts say otherwise, though the pieces seem to be deliberately scattered. Councilman Conaway (the only remaining non-Katzenjammer on the council) spelled-out those facts last night and the timeline in which they occurred. Watch it all on Channel 10.

Then there is the subplot of the Fillmore cell tower, which Ms. Washburn denies having objected to. But again, letters of resignation read from the dais at city hall tell a different story, bluntly. And, Washburn admitted her denial was false on August 23, following a 20 minute discussion. To Alex Mollkoy’s insistent questioning, she finally replied that “Yes...that is absolutely correct.” Stating that it (objections to the tower) were discussed as “...part of the process” ( time: 6:17). But the Planning Commission “process” had not yet begun.

Resentment of the Meyers law firm goes way back to August of 2004, when then Councilperson Walker was censured by the council for unethical conduct. After that it was all downhill, with the treatment plant, the city manager, city engineer, city finance director, city attorney, etc.

While the council majority agenized discussion about publication of law firm bids published after the bidding was closed, Washburn and Brooks were quick to state their disapproval of a formal ethics code for the council, as most councils have. It was almost comical; pastor Brooks and Mayor Washburn jump to defend against the prospect of having to be held accountable to a code of conduct – like Patti had been in 2004.

This part of my editorial is really a preamble to answering two demand letters from Ms. Washburn. (see Letter to Editor They are in most respects, even in style, suspiciously similar to the letter I received several months ago from former Councilperson Patti Walker. Both evidence the same abysmal ignorance of constitutional law, and perhaps delusions of grandeur unbecoming a small town politician, recalling those unforgettable lines “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Ms. Washburn’s second letter arrived after deadline and will be published in next week’s Gazette.

I believe the present city council majority is the most unethical and incompetent in the city’s history.