Will he or won't he? What an interesting couple of weeks it's been. It seems folks in Santa Maria aren't as forgetful -- or as stupid -- or as forgiving -- as Mayor Larry Lavagnino and Supervisor Joe Centeno thought they were.
In fact, it looks like the citizens are still angry over being ignored in 2002, as they watched Centeno and Lavagnino run the City of Santa Maria like it was their own personal property.
First came Deborah Brasket's November 24, 2006, guest commentary in the Santa Maria Times, saying that Supervisor Joe Centeno's refusal to resign as mayor in 2002 was "perfectly legal but perfectly odious." (Odious: another word for 'stinkey') (See Tin Soldier commentary DEBORAH BRASKET: Rumor That Mayor Lavagnino May Resign)
Interestingly, just the day before Brasket's column was published, Lavagnino and Marty Mariscal were quoted in the County Lines of the Santa Maria Times, denying the rumors, saying they hadn't even heard them. In fact, Lavagnino stated that he'd remain mayor "as long as I'm physically able."
If Lavagnino and Mariscal hadn't even heard the rumors, why were they denying them? Sounds like there's a leak at the Santa Maria Times.
But I digress. Back to the story line here. Next up is Lavagnino's very own guest commentary in the Santa Maria Times on November 29th, attacking Deborah Brasket for her having the gall to even mention the rumors in her column. Lavagnino stated that the rumors categorically did not exist and that they were a figment of Brasket's imagination.
Lavagnino must not get out much. The Tin Soldier even overheard people talking about it at the Golden Donut shop.
However, the people hearing (and believing) the rumors have been busy. Immediately after Lavagnino's November 29th commentary (only an unbelievable 24 hours later), the November 30, 2006, issue of the Santa Maria Sun hit the stands.
In this issue was a hard-hitting opinion piece about the rumors from Rebecca Carey, vice-chair and past chair of the North Santa Barbara County Women's Political Committee.
Carey pulls no punches in her commentary. After alluding to Joe Centeno's "gambit" in 2002 when he refused to resign as mayor after he was elected supervisor, she lays right into Lavagnino and his well-known health condition (past heart bypass surgery).
Noting that Lavagnino still has two years to serve in his term as mayor, Carey states that, "My concern is that poor health could be a reason presented by Lavagnino in the next two years to allow the above rumor scenarios to actually happen."
(Tin Soldier: As Lavagnino said in his statement to the Santa Maria Times, "as long as I'm physically able . . . ." He's already laid the groundwork for retiring before his term is up, if he thinks he can get away with it.)
Carey was very clear in her message. She said, "My purpose in writing this opinion piece for the Sun is to put the mayor, the full City Council, City Manager Tim Ness and any other city personnel involved on notice that the citizens of Santa Maria want to be fully involved in the choice of the people who represent them -- their mayor and their City Council members. We don't want any more appointments from within a small circle of people."
Carey ends with, "We want to elect the people who serve us, no matter what the cost of the election will be."
Way to go, Rebecca. Thanks for standing up for all of us.