corruption

Why It’s Important To Have An Elected City Clerk

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

 

More observations based on actual factual occurrences in the sweet town of Dixon will lead us down various roads today.  It appears that some want to have their cake and eat it too.  Perhaps that is why our society has been turned upside down and inside out.  While selfishness is not a trait I criticize, when accompanied by self aggrandizement at a cost to others then it becomes a problem.

While some still tell me there are no conspiracies down at city hall, they should remember I know the connections in town between a certain rotten service club and the fathers or mothers of city government.  I am certain those who tell me this actually believe it despite my having been in city hall as a councilman and having a chance to observe up front, close and personal, the inner political machinations of those employed by the city.  The facts don’t lie so it is better to stick with that rather than using purely deductive reasoning.

There was a case in Judge Scott Kays’ Superior Court room a couple of weeks ago.  It was brought against the city of Dixon, principally the city clerk and the city attorney, for publishing the names and addresses of those who signed the initiative to repeal the sewer rate increase.  This is a violation of the election code which specifically prohibits dissemination of this information.  It is the responsibility of the city clerk, as the city’s election official, to refuse access to this information except by court order.  No judge issued such an order nor did Dixon’s city attorney even ask for this.

While some would point to this as a criminal act, in fact it is a misdemeanor subject to fines or imprisonment, no judge in this back scratching, bad old boy county will ever do anything to those in municipal government other than to give them an admonition to never do it again.  I am sure Steve Churchwell of Churchwell and White quickly agreed to pay the fees of the attorney presenting the case because the court will then be more lenient in handing out penalties.  From what I understand, attorney’s fees for the winning side were not granted at this point and, interestingly and consistent with my prior comments, those records have still not been sealed.

I am interested to see what our new district attorney, Krishna Abrams, does with this situation.  Ignorance of the law supposedly is no excuse.  None of this is the real problem as I see it.  This is just a simple, blatant example of why the city clerk should be an elected position rather than one under the thumb of a corrupt mayor and corrupt lackey city manager.

When your employment depends on obeying the demands of a city attorney acting at the behest of the city manager who is your direct boss, how do you refuse?  Certainly you could present the specific election code if you have read it and understood it in detail, but codes and adjunct references can become convoluted.  I don’t know what training our city clerk has received but interpreting code to justify poor decisions made to protect your job is the wrong way to go.

An elected city clerk, just like an elected treasurer, provides a check on a centralized, all controlling local government.  The problem I see is the same problem illuminated by city commissions and even the council.  All of these bodies have been stuffed with people who don’t know the Constitution as anything more than a piece of parchment that is in their way.  While the planning commission now seems to be an exception to this rule, I am sure the mayor will continue to put his sycophantic supporters into these advisory positions so they can tell him what he wants to hear.  In other words, the positive people in Dixon will give us more of the same Dane Besneatte type people, Dane was appointed as city treasurer, or Steve Birds, Scat Pedersons, and Jerry Castañons, rather than give up their grip and stranglehold on city government that simply serves city government.

All I can say is it makes more sense to give yourselves the opportunity to put people who aren’t “on the take” in these positions through a vote.  We now have seen what the opposite has allowed to happen.

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It is also my understanding that the Dixon Chapter of the Solano County Taxpayers Association has turned in well over the requisite number of signatures in a call for a special election on repealing the sewer rate increase.  Two ladies need to be acknowledged for doing the lion’s share of the work in such a short time span.  Loran Hoffman and Shirley Humphrey used the standard venue of Wal-Mart and Safeway but didn’t stop there.

Ballparks, post office, and other sundry locations achieved rapid success despite direct opposition by positive action people, one a former city clerk.  It is interesting to me how a public servant hates the public, despises the truth emanating from this publication, and works to subvert the process allowing the public to have a say in matters affecting their disposable income.

The bright side to this is the also due congratulations to the public who responded so vigorously once again.  Should it have taken a referendum and two initiatives to allow citizens to vote the city’s plans up or down?  Dane Besneatte and Thom Bogue, two blind squirrels who both found the same nut of constitutional values, had this one absolutely right.  Too bad Steve Bird, who claims to be a conservative, couldn’t understand that citizens can take back their given representative authority from those they elected.

Many in Dixon, perhaps the majority on this issue, need applause for staying the course.  It is too bad there isn’t this enthusiasm for a recall despite all the chatter on the subject.  It may be better to handle one issue at a time.  I would caution the council to not sleep too well at night.  Your time may be up sooner than you think …

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