AG mayor seeks restraining order on public speaker

October 10, 2014
Mayor Tony Ferrara

Mayor Tony Ferrara

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Arroyo Grande City Council members met Wednesday morning to “discuss” hiring a private investigator who  apparently had already started his job, and Mayor Tony Ferrara angrily asked for a restraining order on outspoken critic Otis Page.

According to the agenda, the council was meeting to discuss hiring a private investigator from Ventura to look into a employee scandal and alleged cover-up. However, city employees said the company had already been selected, the private eye was hard at work, and the meeting was a “sham.”

Several city employees said officers who had first-hand knowledge of a recent city government scandal were contacted for interview appointments by Sintra Investigations in the days before the special council meeting, which had only the one item on the agenda.

Sintra Investigations will be looking into the late-night City Hall rendezvous on July 3 between City Manager Steve Adams and a subordinate employee, Teresa McClish, as well as the council’s handling of the issue. The incident was first reported by CalCoastNews on Aug. 19, and since then numerous Arroyo Grande residents have expressed dismay at the response by Mayor Tony Ferrara and his council mates in meetings and in letters to council members.

Ferrara, responding to one resident’s email asking the council to approve an independent investigation, recommended his fellow council members not reply to the resident.

“No need to reply,” Ferrara said in an Aug. 21 email to council members Tim Brown, Jim Guthrie, Joe Costello and Kristen Barneich, and copies to Adams and McClish: “This is an FYI. I wanted you to know where I’m coming from. Not about to take this crap from anyone.”

About 25 citizens attended the rare morning session, many criticizing a “lack of transparency” by city officials, a failure to fire Adams, and the already-completed deal with Sintra.

Resident Page said both the meeting and selection of the investigator was “a sham” as the council had already hired the firm. Ferrara then ordered microphones and public broadcast television cameras to be turned off, and demanded that a police officer escort Page from the council chambers.

A visibly irritated Ferrara asked a nearby police officer if he could “get a restraining order” against the outspoken Page, a police department employee confirmed. Ferrara was then informed that it was unlikely he would be able to secure a restraining order against Page.

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Emails to Council PRA 09-22-14 by CalCoastNews


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R.Hodin

Pretty naive of AG residents (at least Otis Page) to think that their council would hire an outside investigator to investigate itself (re a coverup). These are elected officials. If you suspect a coverup, then persuade the state AG’s office to investigate. If that doesn’t work, then vote them out. Pretty simple stuff. Seems like the ultimate exercise in futility to get all worked up against an arrogant and psychopathic mayor. It just gives him more power over the discussion.


surferdude

Power is the word.

Who is sending this to CA cities and beyond?


What does Adams have on Tony that Tony wants to keep him around?


It is more than his Berry Gardens gets its streets slurried and trees trimmed more often than anyone else in town.


LeAnn

Hi surferdude,


I’ve been forwarding information to the CA cities—I have not received any response from them. Either they do not care, do not believe, or do not have anything to say…that is a little frustrating…I think we need to keep sending them information though…maybe something will resonate with them.


LeAnn

I think you are wrong in assuming we thought the investigation was going to be impartial—we said all along that it would not be….you should attend a meeting and listen to the speakers—then you would have your story straight.


surferdude

Give us more CCN

I am sure all those public records requests are providing lots of good reading!


Otis

There has been no “process or “transparency” to inform the citizens on the Adams/McClish matter as committed by Council members Tim Brown and Joe Costello in the Council meeting of August 26.


The reinvestigation, approved in the meeting of September 20, was affirmed to the citizens at a special meeting held at 9 a.m. on Oct. 8 where the specific investigator was announced.


The citizens gave their testimonies but were shocked that the investigator’s contract had been done, that in fact the interviews were planned the day before on October 7. The meeting on Oct. 8 was only a formality to inform the citizens that the council had acted — ignoring the benefit of the citizens testimony on that day.


Is it any wonder why I was angered? No excuses, I was wrong in being offended that the Council would pull such a stunt with one day’s notice — where I and many other citizens prepared comments — on short notice — to give sincere comments to the Council believing the Council would listen.


But no — the deal had been done — and my cry with others was — “why are we here”. To clear the record — I walked out angrily on my own volition but met Tony and the police officer on the way out.


Here as follows is my testimony on Oct 8, delivered by Comment and in writing. It has, like the comments by other citizens that day, been totally ignored by the Council:


“Given that the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association (AGPOA) has stated “certain members of this Council have chosen to prejudge the so-called evidence and have already pre-determined what the outcome should be, why should the citizens agree with the Council’s selection of an independent interviewer? Besides this question there is the obvious matter of Council conflict in its choice of an interviewer.


The Council has selected an investigator who must investigate the Council on the issue of the cover up. That reason alone constitutes an incestuous conflict by the fact the Council is controlling the investigation of itself. Added to this conflict is who receives the investigators report? It is the Council that by a majority vote can reject the findings of the report.


So the Council is framing the process by which it investigates itself and then is the judge of the results of the investigation. This process is absurd and violates common sense and feeds the fires of discontent by the citizens that prays the Council do something sensible to set this matter straight.


In the attempt to restore citizen confidence to the Council, this letter again strongly recommends that the Council request that the office of the District Attorney — or an independent attorney separate from the influence of the Council — select the investigating attorney (the investigator). That a legal process of sworn depositions of all concerned by administered if the reliable truth is to be ascertained. For a Grand Jury complaint has been filed!


The Council has used a tactic utilizing awkward timing to obfuscate and complicate the attendance at the closed hearings. Today’s 9:00am meeting to select an investigator is particularly offensive and furthers the consternation of the citizens that something beyond the cover up is happening to control this matter out of sight of the citizens.


LeAnn

Otis, Just know I support you and everything you have stated and stood for up to this point. Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for sharing what you have shared. Please know that you are not standing alone!


Rich in MB

Hang in there Otis…saying that the king has no clothes can get you in trouble but it is the right thing to do!


agag1

I sure do hope the rest of our council is reading and paying attention, but sadly, I fear they are not.


surferdude

Otis

You know this is about the mayor and the process he will manage.


Tony Ferrara is the biggest bully in town.

I cannot believe how easy it is to get great sign locations when you tell them they can vote for someone else,


agag1

Nothing but the best comments about those homemade yellow signs! They have been upgraded from “crude” to “iconic”, a piece of Arroyo Grande grassroots at its best!

One gets stolen, (shame on you Ferrara supporters) and replaced with 3!


Write-In Jim Hill for Mayor, spread the word!


LeAnn

Love that they are replaced by 3 signs…very telling isn’t it?


doglover

Otis Page has expressed the crux of the issue

The cover up

The desperation to attend to business by both Ferrara and Adams


And the Council’s inability to move away from Tony and do as they should.

It is time for them to stand independent from Big Tony.


Does Tony have friends or just colleagues?


agag1

Of course he has a friends…N, K, & T.


falconbh

Looking for council members and directors who will “Stand Up” to the South County Sanitation District and then provide some Tax and Rate relief in the future.


agag1

JIM HILL.


SLOBIRD

Steve Adam never intended to resign until after the election. If Tony is re-elected he will stay on as the Council will say he made a mistake in managing this mess, he apologized, they accepted his apology and all is well.


If Tony is defeated my guess is he will leave in January when Tony is out!


The letter was a delay tool and was created to stall the process. What City manager would resign sometime in the future… Total scam letter!


surferdude

You got it Sherlock!


agag1

FREE OTIS,

RESTRAIN THE MAYOR!!!


surferdude

LeAnn


Please print out Big Tonys email to the council nd to M ands J and bring to the Rally.


My god what idiot elected official sends a letter to a citizen like that?

It is f—– unbelievable!


agag1

One who thinks he can do it and get away with it!


Write-In Jim Hill for Mayor, tell your friends…it’s time for new leadership!


LeAnn

consider it done….I think we should also read at the rally or at the council meeting post that makes the connection between the investigator and Tony—-people need to know this—-it needs to be made public record. We need to see if Mr. Blackburn or Ms. Velie can write an article about this connection. I would also be willing to make print outs of this specific item to hand out at the rally and the council meeting.


Snoid

Wow, Big man on the block. File a TRO against a “drunk” as you refer, grey haired senior citizen. You should be proud of yourself. Your a servant, not tyrant. read the news nobody wants you anymore. Its not your choice its the publics who put you there. Smile, say Im sorry and move on like a man. Stop sniveling like a little girl cause nobody wants you.