Last Update: Thursday, May 23, 2013
|As the City Turns...|
|Written by Diana Martinez, Editor|
|Thursday, 22 March 2012 01:54|
Just when you think the San Fernando City Council just can't top itself in providing the ridiculous, it in fact does just that.
On Monday, Mayor Mario gave up his hot seat to Councilmember Brenda Esqueda.
Esqueda is your new Mayor.
There was no applause, groans or laughter from residents. Remaining staff gave a few polite claps.
The council chambers had already been made empty as the night slowly, tortuously, droned on with a monotone power point presented by public works director Ron Ruiz. This followed a painfully detailed development presentation.
If you ever have unwelcome guests in your home, invite Ruiz to come over, he knows how to get people to leave, and that's exactly what happened.
After attempting to sit politely through the presentations that just would not end, residents left.
True to San Fernando council majority form, the most controversial of items are always set up to be far away from public view, and this very planned changing of the guard was scheduled as the very last item of the night.
As the council majority voted to make Esqueda Mayor of this now infamous little city, the only reaction was up on the dais when Esqueda - all done up for the occasion with hair, lashes and makeup - gushed on.
Esqueda's boyfriend, San Fernando police Sgt. Alvaro Castellon, stood at the back of the chambers and taped the occasion. After all, it's no secret that with Esqueda as Mayor, as long as he keeps her happy, Castellon has job security.
Let us not forget how Esqueda, with Mayor Mario, Councilmember Maribel De La Torre (Mayor Mario's girlfriend), and City Administrator Al Hernandez, all came to the rescue when Castellon's superiors attempted to put him on administrative leave while they investigated serious allegations made against him.
In a lawsuit filed against the city, former Explorer cadet Maria Barajas said that Castellon told her that "she could disappear." Castellon was reportedly assisting former Chief Anthony Ruelas, who was trying to keep the cadet quiet about their own love affair.
Castellon made a beeline straight to City Hall and the investigation never happened.
As appropriate as it was for an investigation to have been conducted, not a hair on Castellon's head would be touched; and his relationship with Esqueda appears to continue be his ace in the hole.
Esqueda, along with Hernandez and De La Torre has been allowed to vote on police matters despite a clear conflict of interest. So with the blessing of Esqueda's cohorts, who resident Paul Luna now refers as the "unholy trinity," the next page in San Fernando's chapter of the ridiculous was turned.
Esqueda is now Mayor.
Esqueda's daughter had walked in earlier with a bouquet of flowers while the city's development presentation was going on before she realized that it wasn't yet time for her cue. When the announcement was made, Castellon held up his phone, recording their proud moment.
The absurdity of the strategy didn't escape those who have been collecting recall signatures to oust the trio.
They wondered if Mayor Mario just didn't want to add "recalled mayor" to his resume, and Esqueda - who is sadly viewed as "not the sharpest knife" - was designated to take one for their team.
De La Torre surely didn't want the chair.
De La Torre tried out a new personality, and held her tongue at this council meeting.
She said Esqueda deserved this "leadership opportunity," and Mayor Mario, before giving up the gavel he had banged often to silence residents, took a moment to say what a great mayor he's been, noting, "contrary to public opinion." He smiled with Esqueda for the camera and with that, the council majority remained firmly intact.
How does Esqueda's lack of education, emotional instability and insulting behavior while on the dais qualify her for Mayor?
At a special meeting last Thursday, when council members Sylvia Ballin and Antonio Lopez joined residents in walking out of the council meeting, Esqueda called her a "sellout," and snarled in her ear that she had some things on her.
Esqueda can be very loud and brash one minute followed by crocodile tears the next.
At one recent council meeting, when residents called for the council majority to step down to avoid a recall election, Esqueda, without explanation, got up from her seat at the dais and left. She never returned to the meeting, leaving her purse behind. Her failure to return prevented the council from voting.
Police have often been called to Esqueda's home for domestic disputes. And she is very vague when asked about her employment status, reported disability, violations of the Brown Act and her ongoing affair and conflict of interest with Sgt. Castellon. Although Castellon has confirmed their affair, she continues to have "no comment."
Perhaps those coaching Mayor Mario and De La Torre behind the scenes think that with all of Esqueda's baggage, Mayor Mario's and De La Torre's indiscretions can be trumped and somehow forgotten.
Unfortunately, only in San Fernando, with such poor qualifications, could you still become the Mayor.
And so the city turns...
|Last Updated on Friday, 23 March 2012 00:13|