(l-r) Former Councilmember Patti Walker, sitting with Bob Stroh, offered to pay $500 towards the censur process of Councilman Steve Conaway. Walker is the only Councilmember to be censured in Fillmore’s history. Conaway was not censured, but admonished.
(l-r) Former Councilmember Patti Walker, sitting with Bob Stroh, offered to pay $500 towards the censur process of Councilman Steve Conaway. Walker is the only Councilmember to be censured in Fillmore’s history. Conaway was not censured, but admonished.

THIS EDITORIAL WAS EDITED ON 9-27-12, at 10:45 p.m.

What a night at the council! At times it seemed more like the Comedy Club. But at the same time it was very instructive about the character of our council majority, Washburn, Brooks, and Sipes.

It’s Brooks and Washburn who are on the ballot this November. If they are defeated, and a new candidate replaces retiring councilman Steve Conaway, life in Fillmore will return to normal and the city’s business can once again progress.

In the midst of city hall’s confusion, we have seen our divisive city manager Yvonne Quiring quit and head for her new job in the City of Davis, where she was greeted by Steve Pinkerton her friend and Davis’city manager. The job had to have been lined-up long ago, but “no one knew” until the last minute. Our council is preparing, once again, to search for a good city manager. Let’s watch closely to be sure they don’t select just anyone who happens to be a friend of one of the selectors, as before. Quiring was an unmitigated disaster. Let’s not let it happen again. Kudos to Rigo Landeros for doing a superb job as interim city manager. I can even actually hear him speak from the dais; no more mumbling.

By the way, we’re also losing our Finance Director, who has done a good job.

I thought I had to speak at last night’s meeting because the lies, innuendos, and misleading statements have been too thick lately. Bob Stroh and Gary Creagle are largely responsible. Next week I will, as promised, outline these distortions to clear the air.

Stroh is perhaps the most prolific blogger and speech giver in Gazette history. I finally had to block his emails, as I’ve blocked him from the website. Half-truths, which are Bob’s specialty, are often worse than outright lies. They provoke suspicion and damage reputations by innuendo (which, by the way, can also be actionable as defamation). Bob loves to characterize honest mistakes as “lies”. They are, of course, missing the central ingredient of intent to deceive. I have called him a tar baby in personal emails (as he happily related last night) because to respond to his infamous stream of half-truths gets to be sticky business, a major waste of time.

A few issues from last night: My previous caution about one council candidate (Pella) and her close relationship with incumbent candidate Brooks was characterized as a religious slur. It had more to do with group-think and quasi nepotism. No one has attempted to assist Fillmore’s religious community more than I have during the past 24 years – at my expense. At great expense I’ve created and maintained a website which invites and promotes religious activity. The same is facilitated in the Gazette. I wish all our churches well. I am concerned, however, when an incumbent councilman (Brooks) who is seeking re-election, has as his running mate (Pella) someone who is both a personal friend and pastor of the same denomination (same church?). People may wish to have independent-thinking council members instead of possible clones. It’s an issue. I would not want someone coming into the council who would begin, as did Brooks, with the announcement, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword!". Would you? In any event one sword-wielder has been more than enough.

Next, the issue of disciplining a young student. Stroh calls this a lie. If Brooks agrees I will make an issue of it, which I would rather not do. Several principal persons involved spoke to me about the incident, and other witnesses as well. A lawsuit was feared, and one family pulled out of the school. Pastor Brooks, am I a liar here, as your friend Bob Stroh alleges? I challenge you to deny the truth of this story. The incident itself, in my opinion, was fairly insignificant except that it reveals a true lack of common sense, prudence, (as does his infamous “sword” proclamation).

I will have to review the Gazette’s video of the meeting to accurately answer the other issues, and may post additional rebuttals online before the next issue of the Gazette. I’ve really had it with all of this posturing piety. The fictitious stories these Katzenjammers tell of water treatment plant history, business park acquisition, the cell tower, Planning Commission resignations, city manager performance, politics at city hall, the unlawful removal of our city attorney, attempts to end American Water contract, etc. need an honest re-interpretation.

The true rancor focused upon councilman Conaway by Washburn, Brooks, and Sipes, can be witnessed in living color by viewing Channel 10 (6:30). Though I doubt 50 people watch Channel 10, more than 30,000 may choose to watch it on every month.

About the much-criticized phone poll, I knew nothing about its origins, the same for the fliers. But, I am shocked – shocked, that such strong criticisms could be expressed during an election campaign! What’s this world coming to?

No one should miss the latter part of last night’s council meeting on Channel 10. Conaway characterized it correctly as pure drama. He was threatened with censure by the Katzenjammer four, and Patti Walker had coiled-up the corner in anticipation. It was revenge time, worthy of Edgar Allen Poe’s: "The Cask of Amontillado" “The thousand injuries of Fortunato [Conaway] I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” Chilling!

Conaway was clearly comfortable in the crosshairs. It was time for the Katzenjammers to strike before the opportunity slipped away. Patti sprang from the north west corner of the chamber like Cleopatra’s asp, slithered swiftly up to the microphone and hissed to her fellow Katzenjammers “I’ll pay $500” for Conaway’s censure investigation, then quickly returned to the corner to be consoled by long-time Katzenjammer comrade Bob Stroh. The room vibrated with anticipation. Would the former mayor’s strike prove fatal, or would Conaway’s snake boots save him? Back and forth the debate wavered, and wavered.

Patti was no doubt tormented by the bitter memory of that day, back in August of 2004, when she faced the reality of censure from the mouth of City Attorney Meyers for unethical conduct. This was the genesis of Patti’s seething hatred of that law firm and a cause for the unrelenting attack upon our former city attorney, Ted Schneider, by co-Katzenjammer and present mayor Gayle Washburn. She had violated the city's ethics code which then existed. Later, Walker, Washburn, and Brooks would kill-off that ethics code. Tired of those 10 commandments? Just break the tablets. Fillmore would thereafter stand alone among California cities as the one with no ethics code, no written, objective standard of conduct. To this day council majority members Washburn and Brooks recoil at the thought of a resurrected ethics code.

The outcome of this kangaroo court was sadly anticlimactic. Patti’s hatred went unslaked, and with a curious absence of due process, much debate, acrimony and confusion, Conaway was simply admonished. It’s all a must-see.

Next week – lies, all lies, rebutted. Tune in.