There is something going on in Oakley that just doesn’t smell right as a small group of activists are calling on Carol Rios to resign or face the threat of a recall. The reasons given to support this circus like stunt are laughable at best and any talk of a recall should be dismissed.
During Public Comments at Tuesdays City Council meeting, Leslie Fallon called for the resignation of Rios for her role in the housing deal of City Manager Brian Montgomery. Fallon claimed to be following the issue in the newspaper over the last few months and didn’t approve.
“I find it disturbing,” said Oakley resident Leslie Fallon. “There really is no good reason for her not to comment. We find it necessary for Carol Rios to tender her resignation.”
According to the Contra Costa Times, if Rios doesn’t step down, Fallon and Eve Diamond say they will initiate a petition for her recall.
Before I continue, I would first like to know who “we” includes. All I know from being in attendance is that she was supported by a group of protesters with cheaply made signs with one specifically stating, “Never Forget the Montgomery Bailout.”
According to Fallon, this group she was referring to is meeting regularly to plan a recall.
Recalls should only be used in extreme circumstances, not for someone missing a couple of meetings and choosing not to respond to inquiries. This can be simplified as a matter of difference of opinion on the mortgage deal. It is also a difference of opinion that a response by Rios is needed.
Just because people disagree, it does not justify a recall.
Elected officials should only be removed from office midterm if they are fraudulent or useless; to go forward with this nonsense is a waste of time and resources.
If I was Rios, I would issue one of two responses. The first being a big laugh in their face; while the second is not to respond at all. After all, these people appear to be overly sensitive to non-response so why not continue with business as usual? The point is, in both options she will not allow a couple of tyrants to dictate her decision making as she works to better the city.
These protesters have a false sense of entitlement as they demand answers when she does not owe them a thing when one of them was an opponent in her last election. She missed two meetings, so what! She didn’t respond to their questions, so what! It’s her decision to respond and is free to act as she pleases to their demands.
This type of behavior happens when people rely on the newspapers who are more interested in making the news rather than reporting the news. Citizens would not be worried about attendance if the newspapers did not cherry pick just two years, but rather overall records.
Ms. Fallon claims she followed the news since the mortgage deal broke was reported. Armed with the facts, Ms. Fallon would know that Ms. Rios was not at one meeting due to a work emergency while the second meeting she stated her brother is battling congestive heart failure and is in bad shape.
As for Ms. Fallon and others requesting a response about her (Rios) role in the mortgage deal, I think it was pretty clear with her vote. What explanation is needed? Furthermore, it was rescinded when she was absent so no explanation is even needed because she wasn’t even there while Mr. Montgomery issued a statement and Mayor Frazier issued an apology on behalf of the entire council.
Mayor Frazier took the hit on behalf of the board, he spoke for the board (including Rios), and he explained it to the public. This call to make Carol Rios the scape goat is ridiculous. In fact, if you use Ms. Fallons logic, these protesters should actually attempt a recall on each council member who voted for the mortgage deal.
The truth is this is a very small group of individuals who are trying to use propaganda to claim they speak for a majority of Oakley. If this was a true recall attempt or legitimate city issue, two things would have happened by now.
- City Hall would have been packed with people requesting resignations each meeting & threatened recalls a lot sooner than the Dec. 13 meeting—not nearly 3 months later.
- A recall petition and paperwork would have already been served to Ms. Rios in which signatures could already have started to be collected.
Could you imagine them knocking on a door asking people to sign a petition against Ms. Rios?
A resident will ask, “Why should we recall Carol Rios?”
“Because she missed two meetings and didn’t respond to my question on her role in the City Manager mortgage deal,” says a recall supporter.
End result, a door is slammed in their face. They travel onto the next house and the process repeats itself and this attempt fails to get enough signatures and we all can move on.
If these people truly want her removed from office, then do it via an election. Don’t come into a council meeting and make demands. The city residence are too damn smart to let a small group of individuals dictate what the majority of Oakley even wants—you don’t speak for us, we speak for ourselves at the ballot box.
But let’s take a closer look at this call for a recall to see the effect it will have shall we?
The person who has the most to gain from this little stunt is councilman Randy Pope, the person who on record voted against the deal. It could be argued that his “no” vote and quotes in the newspaper got this whole process started.
In the Oakley Press on October 27, Pope said that he would have supported an equity share agreement had it been more balanced for the city: “He’s paid 28 percent of his mortgage. I would have been OK with 28 percent, but (the deal) gave him 50 percent.”
Pope continued to explain that the one-shot loan modification left no incentive for Montgomery to stay, whereas a 28-percent equity could be increased in the future, providing the incentive the council sought.
More to the point, it appears Mr. Pope would have approved some form of the mortgage deal as the rest of them did—but all that is different is the numbers. Do people in Oakley even realize this? He would have approved the deal as is, but at 28 percent!
Should the community vote to recall Rios, Pope would likely slip into the vice mayor role followed by serving as the next mayor—which appears to be exactly what this group of rabble rousers wants.
Just take a look from a post on the Oakley Watchdog (Facebook group) by Paul Seger on Nov. 15 where he has a cockamamie scheme in order to jump Pope into the vice mayor role.
It is entirely feasible for the council to pass an emergency ordinance at the next meeting, prior to the Mayor and Vice Mayor “coronation”… or at an emergency session prior to December’s meeting, to eliminate that “seniority” clause.
In my opinion, in just the short time that Randy Pope has been on the council, he has clearly demonstrated more honor and integrity than I have ever witnessed behind Oakley’s dais. He also, clearly listens to the people of Oakley during public comment, and attempts to integrate Public Testimony, on the fly, into his decision making process.
Randy Pope should be Vice Mayor next year… and he could, but that would take some serious effort by the people here.
Based on this post, Seger and others will apparently try anything to remove Ms. Rios, including making up the rules as they go with a so called “emergency ordinance”. It should be noted that Pope remained silent after Segers post when he should have denounced it immediately.
However, he did happen to post a links to Michael Martello: City Manager mischaracterizes home loan gift and to Daniel Borenstein: Elected officials’ behavior often stranger than fiction column which criticizes the very same council he is a part of.
I like Mr. Pope, but this is bizarre behavior.
Rather than defend the city and explain these things, he is feeding negative information to this group which they have now spread rumors that creates a larger image problem to the city. Almost as if its some sort of strategy to build support for change based on a false emergency.
The question which needs to be asked is this truly a “watchdog group” when a city councilmember is an administrator of the very group it’s trying to watch?
I like Mr. Pope and this is not meant to disrespect him by making a connection, but whether he likes it or not, his name is now tied to this rebel crowd. The connection is too noticeable even if he wants nothing to do with a recall; he is tied to it indirectly since he is a part of this group and benefits the most from a recall.
With that being said, Mr. Pope does have a chance to lead the effort against this recall if he wants to support the council he serves with. He has a duty to champion the cause against this fraud recall attempt and expose these people for being irrational and denouncing it completely.
I would urge him to publically issue a statement or letter dismissing the recall so the community can focus on more important issues such as public safety and job creation. To publish this statement correctly, the rest of the council should support Mr. Pope and agree to defend the city from these malcontents in a single statement as a group.
Mr. Pope has an opportunity to lead here and should take it. To save his reputation, he almost has to take charge because as I previously stated; his name is indirectly all over this recall. If Mr. Pope doesn’t want to lead, then I would urge Mayor Romick to immediately issue the statement.
The council needs to attack this problem head on rather than seeing if it fades away. They need to act now because the Times has apparently made their mission known they want to replace the council and will continue to write negatively against Oakley.
The city is not run by a minority of loud mouths; it is run by a majority who voted to put Ms. Rios in office to represent them. While I do not agree with Ms. Rios on many items, I cannot support any recall action because her actions do not justify one.
More to the point, who would even replace her? I’d like to know who these people are and what their background is to see if it compares to what Ms. Rios has accomplished for this community. With over 10 years of experience, I doubt the comparison is even close.
Rios should to stand tall on her record, stay strong, and fight like hell.
If these rabble rousers want change, maybe they should focus their time and energy on the “Oakley Chamber of No Commerce” because that is a group with real problems as it needs to find a better way to promote business in Oakley.