Thu. May 23rd, 2024

By Guest Columnist Michael Ceremello, Former Vice-Mayor/City Council Member for the City of Dixon


Our city liar, lawyer, attorney was at it again Tuesday night. The man who still stands by his logic that the part of the California Constitution giving citizens and voters the right to say “NO!” to funding stupid projects is unconstitutional, now has amplified his perversion of the law through twists and turns any rattlesnake would be proud to claim as its own.

So let me get this straight. The California Government Code §54957 was put into place by the legislature to ensure that we, the people, would be able to figure out what the subject matter the council would be discussing in closed session is. This section of code was about employee evaluation, hiring, firing, and discipline.

That sounds pretty straightforward, right? There are other sections of the Government Code which allow closed session meetings about potential litigation or actual ongoing litigation. Each subsection defines whether it is the city getting sued or the city suing someone. Again, not rocket science but clearly not about the “dismissal of an employee”.

So how do you give direction to the city manager to fire an employee or even discuss accusations against the employee without referencing §54957? The city liar claims that they can discuss this as part of litigation, the litigation section he quoted was about the person suing the city. Now wait a minute.

You haven’t noticed the public that you are talking about firing the chief of police. The chief isn’t even contemplating suing the city and, even if he was, he wouldn’t know about the dismissal at this point. Remember, the city mange Jim Lindley, no that isn’t a typo it is a disease, said he was working on this for five months.

Yet in those five months, the city evaluated the chief’s performance, claimed it was exemplary, and even gave him a new contract in August. What? Are you confused yet?

Okay, so we don’t have the brightest council in this county, let alone this State. Maybe the city liar told Jerry Castañon not to say anything to Chief Cox or to give him a good evaluation knowing this was coming. Jerry, according to his rebuttal to the recall statement said he always follows the city attorney’s lies, I mean recommendations.

Then we have Steve Bird who says he does his research. I provided him with the pertinent sections of government code and links to the two meetings where the council in 2012 refused to give the city manager the ability to hire or fire a department head without the council “ratifying” the decision. Steve had nothing to say and my bet is he either doesn’t use email or refuses to acknowledge receipt of important communications. Not exactly a recommendation or kudo to say he should remain on the council.

But Doug White, the city liar, wasn’t done even on this point. White claimed that the council has to “ratify” the decision after the action takes place. What? If the council has to approve of the action, you don’t approve of it after the fact. Any moron should be able to understand this concept. To put it into an old time saying, “you don’t close the barn door after the cows have left”.

The same code on dismissal states that you have to give the person accused notice 24 hours in advance of the meeting where the closed session is occurring. This is so that person can ask to have any accusations against him heard in public. Again, this is obvious.

White concludes that Chief Cox asking through his lawyer for a hearing to appeal the city manager’s action before the council satisfies this requirement. WHAT? This hearing was announced Tuesday night. The hearing will be held on Thursday, November 19th beginning at 6pm.

You don’t satisfy the requirements of the law, which by the way says any action taken is null and void if notice is not given, by allowing an appeal after the decision has been made. White thinks all of this is part of the ratification process. The appeal is heard then the council either rejects the firing or upholds it by ratifying the action. If you are totally confused, hang on because there is still more.

The city liar, Doug White, is also claiming that a contract for employment between the chief and the city supercedes an ordinance put in place by the council. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. So now the council has found a way around this check on the power of the city manager. You just cut a side deal and the law means nothing.

This was the point I was attempting to make when I spoke over the three minutes allowed by this council. If any ordinance can be ignored by the council, then any ordinance can be ignored by the citizen. Some of you may have understood this when I did it, others may not.

Do you remember the contract for the Jack Hole? It had requirements in it about noise generation. We have an ordinance on allowable noise. Not only did they ignore the requirements of the contract, they rewrote the contract to get around the noise ordinance. According to this illogical logic, you had to rewrite the contract so it would supercede the ordinance. This is the danger in letting these idiots get away with anything one time. They build on their success as their arrogance grows.

It was interesting watching and listening to the comments from Kay Cayler and Yvonne McCluskey about Chief Cox. Begging for the council to reconsider is not a worthwhile sideline or necessary as they have, supposedly, not even weighed in on the action yet.

This is the council they both wanted. This is the council whose actions they blindly supported until it came to nicking one of their compadres. Now they expect this council to go back on an action they endorsed with their inaction?

I always have hope that even those who hate me will understand the facts and logic behind what I say and do.

Perhaps now even the “beautiful people” are beginning to see the “why” behind the recall effort. I hope all of you are.

This is a perfect example of why Dane Besneatte, Thom Bogue, and I voted to keep the ordinance requiring the city manager to get our permission before he fired a department head. It shows how there is no accountability when collusion by the city attorney, the city manager, and the mayor foul up a process designed for transparency.

How do you fire any employee, let alone a police chief, without stating the reasons for doing it? If the charges against Jon Cox are so great, that you would give them to the district attorney and the state attorney general, how is it that even Cox hasn’t been told what they are yet? This is craziness, lunacy, and inmates running the asylum.

The law is the law until it is convoluted, perverted, and reinterpreted by one lying attorney. Maybe White thinks that if he throws enough bull around, we will all question our view of the law. Sorry, Doug, but Jerry Castañon and Steve Bird are the only ones who are that stupid.

The rest of us know the truth and the truth is you will do anything to keep your job …

* * * * *

Speaking of misinterpretation of the law, the city of Cotati was sued by my friend George Barich for violating his civil rights. Their chief of police, Michael Parish, who was a lieutenant in the UC Merced police department before arriving in Cotati, believed he could threaten to arrest a person attempting to record him. He also thought he could violate Barich’s first amendment right to free speech by threatening to arrest Barich if he called anyone a “liar” from the podium.

In this case as just described about our city of Dixon, the hired outside attorney also argued that the chief was within

his rights to harass Mr. Barich in this manner. Lying, it seems, is not the sole purview of Mr. White, nor is ignorance.

From what I understand, as I have not yet received the transcript of the trial from Federal Court, the sitting judge reamed this attorney calling his claims “preposterous” based on case law from the 1990’s. I don’t need case law totell me what makes common sense.

Calling someone a “liar”, in a public setting, basing it on known facts, and directing it at a public official who has little protection from libel or slander due to his public position, is an opinion or a fact and both are protected under the First Amendment. As for the recording of a public official, it is the same as photographing a public official.

Both are allowed under the law despite protestations to the contrary. How else can you factually back your claims?

Why else would cops be required to carry cameras verifying their conduct?

The old adage from the hippie generation of “question authority” should not be forgotten. When you trust blindly, you will get blind sided.

I hope the churls on Cotati’s city council got the message that there are those of us who will sue to protect our rights.

I do wonder, though, if the citizens realize the cost to themselves of these unnecessary litigations forced by their hatred of a political opponent.

Although the cost of the settlement will come out of the insurance pool, they must pay for their attorney out of city funds, funds which should be used for the benefit of their citizens. I am sure they have to pay to be part of the insurance pool on top of this.

My bet is the council in Cotati is on par with Dixon’s. Neither care about the law or the costs to their General Fund and both will force you to sue to stop them. My bet is also that this won’t be the last lawsuit filed against them because their arrogance has set them up for another suit coming from a different direction.

Our chief of police happens to be the one suing our city. He would be crazy not to given all of the codes and the laws this council has broken. Even if the chief was guilty of anything, he has not been given his right to due process. Yes, I know, another constitutional requirement that the city liar attorney ignores.

I hope Jon Cox sues them for every dime they have and wins. Just think of all the “troubled teens” he could help then.

Besides, this council isn’t doing anything for its citizens anyways. They are just sitting on the reserves. They should be sitting at home instead …

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