Thursday, October 08, 2015

Murrieta Elites Thwart Mayor, Lane Calls Himself Mayor before the Meeting

By Douglas V. Gibbs

City Manager Rick Dudley, likely at the behest of Murrieta City Councilman Rick Gibbs, has been collecting data on Harry Ramos for two years.  Harry does not think like the rest of the council.  He dares to be different.  He dares to vote against the other four.  He dares to disregard recommendations by the staff.  He dares to be a dissenting voice.

Today, Harry Ramos was stripped of being Mayor of Murrieta because of hearsay.  The political elite in Murrieta gathered enough people together to say unsubstantiated things about Harry Ramos, and his performance as a city councilmember, that an investigation was put into action, a report was made, and based on the opinions of people, and verbal accusations with no hard evidence, Mr. Ramos was found guilty, and was stripped not only of being mayor, but of all of his committees and assignments.

So goes a kangaroo court.

The thwarting of Mayor Ramos occurred today, during a special meeting at the City of Murrieta City Council Chambers.  On October 8, 2015, the City of Murrieta disregarded common sense, and became just another city seeking to be run by an oligarchy that chooses to run the city at its own will, not the will of the people.

I was present during the special meeting regarding Mayor Harry Ramos.  In fact, during the public comments portion of the meeting, I had my say for a couple minutes.  I was the only one that spoke in favor of Mr. Ramos.  When I finished, a lone person in the back of the room clapped for a moment, softly, so as not to attract the attention of the gestapo being the dais, or the three armed police officers in the room.

Before I tell you about the meeting, let me give you what I had to say.

"My name is Douglas V. Gibbs.  I've been a resident of Murrieta since 1989, longer than Murrieta has been a city.  I've seen this city's history, good and bad.  I've seen the politicians make bad decisions, and good ones.  I've known Mr. Ramos longer than he's been a council member.  I know his character, and who he really is, and these ridiculous accusations do not reflect who he is.  What amazes me is how swift the council is trying to move on unsubstantiated claims against Mr. Ramos, yet things are moving slowly on, and getting delayed, regarding the hearings of the felony injury accident while intoxicated for Mr. Alan Long.  Are we seeing preferential treatment?  Could it be there is an agenda to fulfill?  Perhaps this is some preferential treatment for Randon Lane so he can say he's mayor during his Riverside County Supervisor Campaign?  Or is it to eliminate Mr. Ramos for daring to vote against high density housing, perhaps to make room for someone like Ruth-Anne Taylor-Berger so that those votes can be unanimous?  Granted, what I am saying is speculative, and unsubstantiated, but so are the charges against Mr. Ramos."

Now for the rest of the meeting. . .

As I walked into the council chambers for the special meeting at precisely 1:00 pm, when the meeting was supposed to begin, Mayor Pro-Tem Randon Lane was still a few minutes away from arriving, but most of the news crews, both television and radio, were already staged and ready to go. About 45 people were in the seats, not counting city officials and the media.  I realized later that the supporters of Harry Ramos were outnumbered in the room.

Mayor Ramos entered the chambers with City Attorney Leslie Devaney at about ten minutes after the hour.  Mr. Ramos approached the dais sporting a subtle grin, and a look of calm professionalism.  Once he took his seat, and pulled his microphone down to his mouth, the meeting began.

The special meeting was called to order by Mayor Ramos, and the roll call recognized that all council members were present. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the discussion regarding the investigation's findings regarding Mayor Harry Ramos moved along with Mr. Ramos saying, “Finally.”

It was on June 24th that the investigation was authorized.

Before removing himself from the chambers regarding today's decision regarding the findings of that investigation, Mr. Ramos said, “I want to take a moment to thank the city attorney, I believe that her and her firm really made an attempt to put together a fair process. My statements are no means an attack against the efforts put forward. When I first heard the allegations the last two were a concern of mine… It was a surprise we took this route. Even though I didn’t sign a code of conduct I didn’t put up much of an objection. Going through the process, it was pretty unfair. When I read the report, not one statement from me, no witness for me… Reading through it, after the initial kick in the gut, I did make the right decision with my attorneys. I was characterized as being uncooperative. Witnesses spoke on second hand knowledge, and I have not yet had the chance to face my accusers… I am not really putting up a defense. I am grateful we have so many people in the audience engaging in the process… The Code of Conduct has no teeth. My objection is that it can only be a weapon. There is no other way this document could have not been a weapon… We have all been accused of something every meeting... Nobody else has been investigated. Lastly, I want to apologize to the staff for being put into such an uncomfortable position [through this investigation] … regardless of what is decided today, tomorrow I will still be a council member, we will still be a city, we will still have work to do. The only focus then is the sexual harassment element, and I feel having staff in the position regarding this allegation was not appropriate. I am not going to hold any grudges, and will work with the city as we move forward to work on city business. We are who we are, and we rise up to our nature. This laser guided weapon can be refocused on any one of us. A good city manager may have favorite people to work this, but no person on the council should know who his favorites are. A city manager should not get involved in the political side of it. Our city manager was engaged throughout this process. It should be disconcerting to my colleagues [he was so involved]. I wish I could debunk these things, but my council has pleaded with me to participate as little as possible with this process. There is a law suit pending. As a city we are involved in litigation."

Then he left the room.

The members of the media left as public comments began, chasing Harry into lobby.

The Public Comments began with Faye Wons saying that Mayor Ramos has not done a good job at running the council meetings. She wanted him removed immediately from the mayorship, and from the council. She urged him to resign, though he was not there to hear her plea.

Barbara Nugent said that Ramos did in fact sign the code of conduct.  She felt he was uncooperative by choosing not to answer questions by the investigator (his attorneys spoke with the investigator).  She recommended his removal from mayorship, and further actions until he is willing to step down completely. She added that Mr. Ramos was never prepared for his job. She said if any other member made sexual overtone comments like he did, they would be gone fast.

The news crews returned during Nugent’s speech, apparently finished with Mayor Harry Ramos.

Once the media was back in the room, Nugent continued, accusing him of using the race card. “Remove him from office, take away all of his assignments, and do not let him be a part of official interactions with the public, they need to feel safe.”

Really? She believes he is "dangerous?"

NAACP Local Chapter President Darryl Smith said that it is a "tragedy to be here on this kind of occasion. We need to get past this obstacle and work together for the betterment of the city."  He then pledged that the local NAACP chapter hoped the city would welcome opportunity for them to work with city, and move forward.

Edward Faunce said that he read the entire report.  He said it took him several hours. He said he was curious listening to Mr. Ramos in his opening remarks.  Mr. Ramos "seems to believe this is a criminal proceeding, and that he can have remarks. He apologized to staff, but he’s the one that put the staff into the position they’re in. His apology rings hollow. Did he not know lying and sexual harassment is not appropriate?  I don’t think he understands how badly he has injured himself and the city. Take all five actions listed. Get him out."

Then I addressed the dais with the speech at the beginning of this article.

One person clapped lightly as I finished. A couple raised their hands in appreciation. The room, it seemed, was primarily full of folks that want Mr. Ramos removed.  Supporters of Mr. Ramos were in the minority.

After my statement, Councilman Rick Gibbs immediately tore into Ramos, criticizing him for not having his bio up. Criticized him for not responding to emails quickly, or responding to staff quickly. Said he needs to show up to meetings with staff. Needs to show up to events. “Mr. Ramos, I do not dislike you. . . You need to earn respect through solid performance. I hope you succeed. Your success helps the city succeed.” He believes this report by a “solid investigator” is accurate.  "I am prepared to make a motion, but I will wait for the other council members to say something.”

Randon Lane said that "As a council we’ve received unkind emails. The race card has been thrown out there. This council has never shown race issues. This community has no issue of the council going after members doing a poor job, regardless of race. As far as the investigation goes, a lot of information is hearsay. I do not take those into consideration. There were things I did look at that caused me great concern. We set the tone for the community, meetings. There were things I looked at, accusations by Mr. Ramos that his colleagues are corrupt…I wanted him to be successful in his role as mayor, but in my opinion he has created a pattern that is not a good representation of the city of Murrieta. I have to look at the people that went forward that spoke to the investigator."

Rick Gibbs spoke again.  "Code of Conduct was signed by Mr. Ramos, and it is in this report. I Motion that Ramos is removed as mayor, removed from all committees and assignments... and he has no official business outside the city."

After the motion, there was no immediate second.  I was expecting there to be no motion.  With no second, at first. Randon Lane said that if there was going to be no second, then there needed to be a new motion.

Mr. Gibbs' Lap Dog, Alan Long, suddenly leaped into action, and seconded Mr. Gibbs motion.

All four members voted to remove Ramos from his mayoral position. Lane, who was Mayor Pro-Tem, will reside until new mayor chosen.

Then the meeting adjourned.

In a discussion with someone later that night, a person from Hemet told me that in the morning Randon Lane was at a meet and greet in Hemet, and introduced himself as the mayor of Murrieta. . . before the special meeting took place, and the decision had been made.  He was already sure that Ramos would be removed before it happened, and was already calling himself mayor before the title belonged to him.

Is that in line with the Code of Conduct?  Is he allowed to call himself mayor before it is so?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

No comments: