If any members of the overwhelming majority that elected Jamie Irons, Noah Smukler, and Christine Johnson had any doubts about their decisions, those doubts were erased at the Sept. 12 council meeting. Obviously, we elected the right people.
The contrast between their dignity and professional demeanor, and the antics of the mob of hooligans in the audience, could not have been greater. As the hooligans heaped on personal attacks, Irons, Smukler, and Christine Johnson kept their cool under fire, showing the hooligans the same courtesy and respect that they showed the civilized members of the community.
Most residents will remember that former mayors Yates and Peters bristled at the very hint of criticism of themselves or council decisions. Yates often attempted to silence speakers in advance if he thought they might be about to criticize him or his actions.
Clearly, the attempt at mob rule was orchestrated by members of the old Yates and Borchard regime, including the city attorney and city manager. Evidently, they believe that making threats and causing a major disruption is the right way to influence City Council decisions.
Particularly offensive was the aggressive, menacing behavior used to intimidate council majority supporters and prevent them from speaking in favor of the dismissals. Many people were denied their right to free speech by the unruly mob. Had the council or police chief heard or seen that happen, they would surely have taken action. Unfortunately, they were unaware of the problem until after the meeting.
No city council undertakes dismissal of employees lightly. Only very serious job performance problems would result in such action. It was obvious to anyone who understands proper personnel procedure and law that Irons had his ducks in a row and was acting “by the book” and in concert with competent legal counsel. I urge the good people of Morro Bay to stand up for Irons, Smukler, and Christine Johnson, and support them in what is undoubtedly a well-justified personnel decision.
-- Linda Stedjee - Morro Bay