Dirty dealings at Arroyo Grande Council meeting

October 15, 2014
Mayor Tony Ferrara

Mayor Tony Ferrara

OPINION By TORY RAND

As I walked into the Arroyo Grande City Council Chambers on the evening of Oct. 14, after having done so many times over the last year, I immediately noticed one thing, instead of the usual six rows of chairs that are customary, there were only four rows of chairs.

There were only a couple of chairs left and most chairs were occupied by people whom I had not seen previously in the last few months. There was a lot more space between the four rows of chairs than the cramped feel when there were six rows of chairs.

Additionally, there is usually standing room on the sides of the room and the back of the room. The sides of the room had been restricted by added tables for the media, limiting the number of people who could stand at the sides of the room. Also apparent was that one row of the chairs that were normally grouped in the center of the room had been moved to the back wall of the room, where there is usually standing room. This further limited the number of people who could fit inside the chamber.

I took a step outside the Arroyo Grande Council Chambers and noticed that most people who were outside campaigning for Jim Hill – a write in Mayoral candidate – were now being restricted access to the chambers, by a fire marshal. The presence of the fire marshal was also another magical first this evening.

To me this was a very obvious action to limit the number of people who could fit in the room and voice their opinions. This became more evident as the night wore on and the folks who occupied the chairs in the council chambers were pro-council speakers, headed up by Chuck Fellows, the father of Councilperson Kristen Fellows Barneich.

At Chuck Fellows side, taking up more space was Mr. Barneich, Kristen Fellows Barneich’s husband. Some things are just too obvious to ignore.

In summary, if the Arroyo Grande City Council Chambers were an airline that infamous evening, I would have been a very satisfied customer, given all the extra “leg-room” that had not been experienced in previous council sessions. However, since the council chambers are supposed to be a place where people can exercise their first amendment right, I feel like certain citizens have had their first amendment rights “herded” to the halls of the chamber.

God Bless America.


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61 Comments

  1. falconbh says:

    This is all about Voting and Encouraging Others To Vote !

    We want to make all our communities Stronger and More Responsible For All Citizens, not just a few.

    So as we all move forward together, lets try to be more Civil, show Ethical Character in our Actions and in Our Collective Words. We each need to set a good example in Citizenship and Respect for the Democratic Process.

    Words Do Hurt !

    Good people, sometimes make mistakes. Lately, I think we have All made some mistakes.
    It is time to Vote, then after the election ‘work together’ for the Common Good and respect the Collective Will of the Majority Vote.

    Vote- Inform- Respect

    (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
    • agag1 says:

      Write-In Jim Hill Mayor of Arroyo Grande
      Fill in the bubble.

      Time for change in Arroyo Grande, let’s do it.
      Ferraro has had his turn, more and more is learned each day…
      Let’s start fresh,
      Write In Jim Hill

      (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  2. VAndrews says:

    If what showed up in support of the Arroyo Grande City Council and/or City Staff is all they have to support them, they are in for a rude awakening. Most of the “planted” supporters of this Kangaroo Kouncil are at best naïve to how the world really operates. When you take off your blinders and rose colored glasses the problem is completely evident, even when they continue to hide and distort the facts, or simply justify bad behavior by blaming everyone but the offender. I personally have arrested some really nice, hard working, dedicated and respectable people…and they were still GUILTY of the offense. Many of those supporters weren’t even citizens of Arroyo Grande. It was actually laughable, until the Mayor starts making his opening statements to the gathered group.

    It constantly amazes me that every meeting’s protocol seems to change with the mood and mindset of the Mayor. I don’t have a problem with the Sheriff’s Dept. assisting the City on a mutual aid to avoid ANY conflict of interest for the Arroyo Grande Police Department. I don’t have problems with the fire marshal doing his job. I have problems with the call out by the Mayor and his “Supporters” that the opposing “side” is intimidating to the many who support this Council and Staff. That applause is ok, but not really, but it would be better if you raised your hands, but….But what is the rule of the day ?

    People Please ! I thought this was an open government forum, with the freedom of speech ? Since when is showing up for any government meeting with a problem or opposing view INTIMIDATING? That’s why the Meetings are PUBLIC !!! If you are only concerned about showing up to make each other feel warm and fuzzy with your feel good Flowers In Bloom and Community Art Programs and feel appalled and disgusted by REAL CITY ISSUES then know it makes you look as sophomoric and inane as you are.

    Believe me when I tell you if you think this “small” group of miscreants have a score to settle, you are right ! Where you are Wrong is the group is NOT SMALL, and the score to settle is the ousting of what appears at a minimum an Arrogant and Uncontrolled Mayor, (if not corrupt) and a desire to see the City run by a City Manager and Protected by a City Attorney that have the City and it’s Citizens best interests first and not their own.

    Even after the Mayor imposes the unclear rules of order for the evening, and after Otis Page apologized for his conduct at the prior Kangaroo Kouncil, it was one of THEIR SUPPORTERS that vocally SPOKE OUT OF TURN LOUDLY and made snide “intimidating” remarks at Otis Page after he made his statement. The Mayor did NOTHING ! Three minute time limits were exceeded frequently by the KK Supporters but the Mayor wasn’t too quick to call time when his iphone timer went off.

    I want to point out one other issue with regards to the AGPOA having this ulterior motive regarding the July 3 incident, especially the one eluded to by City Manager Steve Adams in his one page FREE AD in the Tribune on 10/2/14. In his passive aggressive accusation against the AGPOA, Adams alludes to the Labor negotiations, and tactics that were supposedly advertised on the POA Attorney’s firm website (so what), and “might” have been utilized to frame he and his “subordinate drunken tea drinker”, even though they were responding to a call for service. But the one thing Adams fails to mention in his Bulls**t piece in the Tribune, Commander Kevin McBride isn’t a member of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers Association. The Commander position is considered management and a conflict of interest, therefore that “questionable labor attorney” doesn’t negotiate with the City’s Labor Attorney. So I guess that INNUENDO is dead in the water…Oh, and Commander McBride has 30 years of Dedicated Service to this Community, not to mention a local !!

    I hate having to keep bringing up this July 3 clothing optional Tea Party at City Hall because the problem is so much greater. For Starters, I still demand that Steve Adams be terminated With Cause for his actions on that date and subsequently creating conflict and pitting City Departments against each other (also noted in his one page AD) by suggesting the POA refused to sacrifice for the City during the recession, when the other City Employees were forced to go without pay increases etc.. Really ? Where is the Mayor and the City Council’s outrage at the statements the City Manager wrote and had published that documents these actions of City upheaval all created by Adams and his actions? Why would this City Council defend this one “Stellar” guy against the rest of the City Employees he is supposed to manage? I keep saying it…What does Steve Adams and Tim Carmel have on you, or what favors have you agreed upon ? I sure wished I got a raise when my performance was so abysmal.

    I doubt we will see that overwhelming support for the Mayor again, but they will be seeing me and a lot of other Concerned Citizens, or Miscreants every meeting with the same concerns and opinions we are entitled to have…But just in case…somebody already suggested we fill the council chambers first then free the new limited seating for others…then we can Rally !

    WRITE IN JIM HILL FOR MAYOR, ARROYO GRANDE !!!

    (20) 30 Total Votes - 25 up - 5 down
  3. pasoobserver says:

    To Paso_ citizen and all,
    Yes! when are these gullible citizens going to wake up and NOT vote for these local incumbents that are so arrogant. Paso is a very good example of poor managerial decisions.
    There are many to mention, for example, The Police chief fiasco, $250,000 +benefits,
    the Nacimiento Water Pipeline Project fiasco,$200 + million without voter approval to
    finance the project. Also, is probably going to cost the citizens of Paso for the current glitches in the pipeline that need to be repaired, A big mistake in NOT building a Water
    Treatment Plant prior to financing the Nacimiento Project. I hope the citizens of Arroyo
    Grande can oust these arrogant politicians. Good Luck !!

    (19) 27 Total Votes - 23 up - 4 down
  4. doglover says:

    Check out how the Council thinks they can make amends by throwing the police department under the bus again.UFB!

    New times latest ad for Adams and Ferrara

    (13) 21 Total Votes - 17 up - 4 down
    • surferdude says:

      Remember this is about the MAYOR over stepping his bounds.
      Not little things.

      Anyone up for the PLANNING commission Tuesday night at 6
      Let’s take attendance of the city staff.

      (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
  5. Girlscout says:

    As a “regular” citizen I have never had city crew workers come and move my old large TV from my living room to my garage, I did not know we “regular” citizens could do that…and it took three men away from their jobs to come and help just a plain ol regular citizen!!!

    (19) 23 Total Votes - 21 up - 2 down
  6. falconbh says:

    Character Counts !

    Clearly what you are seeing is how these leaders have been doing business for a long time. Last night it was just more visible for others to see their true ” Ethical Core “.

    Character is difficult to “earn” in Public Service, and something you can lose Very Fast.

    After reading what happened on Tuesday Night, I have to believe that a lot of people that have been on the fence, will be motivated to Vote !

    Vote – Inform Others- Return Your Mail Ballot

    (26) 34 Total Votes - 30 up - 4 down
    • LeAnn says:

      Character does count—well, at least it counts for some…apparently it doesn’t count for our current leadership. That is why I shared the ethics document with them I did on Tuesday evening…gave them a copy…I am sure it ended up in the recycling bin next to Mr. Costello.

      Let’s face it, many people have A LOT to lose if the incumbants are not elected…with that said, WE have A LOT MORE to lose if they are re-elected.

      I also think we need to pack the house on Tuesday night for the Planning Commission meeting. The people who pulled the chair stunt need to recognize we know what they did and are not going to take it…they cannot keep us from attending meetings…they cannot keep us from speaking… they cannot keep us from disagreeing with them publicly for their conduct.

      Again, I am learning everyday that people do not really want to know the truth–not only is it ugly, but it is hard to deal with and that becomes an inconvenience to their daily lives. But this is what happens when no one watches the store, operations and behavior go haywire. Our current leadership has been allowed to run over people and treat them poorly. Now that they are being called on it publicly and have no where to hide, they lash out the only way they can…by banning people from the meetings so they do not have to hear the truth about how a large portion of AG citizens are feeling. They don’t want to know. They have convinced themselves that the city is behind them and that they have acted appropriately—a perfect example of wilfill ignorance.

      For citizens of AG who are on the fence about this, look at the timeline posted by doglover…that timeline is a true picture of events as they have unfolded after July 3rd—that is why many people in AG are done with the current leadership—it has very little to with eventsof July 3rd…come to the tables on corners throughout AG on Saturday, October 18th and get information about Jim Hill…you deserve to be informed, you deserve to have a council that truly cares about your interests and not their own or special interests…we all deserve better. Please do not settle this election. You don’t have to.

      WRITE-IN JIM HILL
      FILL IN THE BUBBLE

      (10) 20 Total Votes - 15 up - 5 down
  7. Paso_citizen says:

    Hopefully, enough voters in Arroyo Grande will read these articles or somehow be made aware of the tactics being used by Ferraro and company.

    As I mentioned in earlier comments to LeAnn’s opinions; the methods and tactics used
    by city governments to attempt to handle issues like what is going in Arroyo Grande are
    just to similar to be pure coincidence.

    Paso Robles Mayor and City Council employed these same methods and tactics during
    the huge fiasco over the Police Chief ‘resigning’, paying her off, settling law suits without
    making things public, etc., etc., etc. There just has to be a manual available for city
    governments to use that details methods to use to discourage citizen input and questions
    about things that city government does not want to have discussed.
    City Government 101, with a chapter titled “How to Pull the Wool Over Voters Eyes”.
    Or maybe “How to Screw the Voters without them Knowing It”.

    It is way past time that the voters of a city on the Central Coast see through these tactics
    and make it known in the only way with any meaning – vote the incumbents out, clean
    house, start all over, get your city back on track. I truly hope that Arroyo Grande is that
    city.

    (42) 56 Total Votes - 49 up - 7 down

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