Walter Ruehlig put out a pathetic piece today in the Antioch Herald slamming the Antioch City Council for their choice of Tony Tiscareno to fill the vacant council seat left by Wade Harper as he won the Mayor’s seat
I like Mr. Ruehlig, but this was an odd piece even for him as he appears to have fallen off his rocker.
When the appointment process began weeks ago, in a Dec. 13 Letter to the Editor, Mr. Ruehlig stated he would not apply and urged support for James Davis as he was the third highest vote getter in the last election or someone from the business community—in this case Sean Wright. For the record, just because Mr. Davis was the third highest vote getter doesn’t make him entitled to an appointment.
This whole notion by groups such as Take Back Antioch and residents that state the “people spoke” by making Davis the third highest vote getter so he should get in is just silly. I am not sure what people are so upset about or do not understand because the “people” voted Davis out of office.
While I understand Ruehligs moral dilemma, this is politics man!
Given this attitude of apparent sour grapes over an application process, its probably a good thing he was not elected or appointed Instead of bowing out or letting the process play out, Ruehlig should have fought until the very end instead of giving up which is exactly what he did. Now he blames the process.
Now that the process has played out and Tony Tiscareno was selected, Ruehlig used the words “charade” and “political payback” in today’s Letter to the Editor when he should know exactly how this process works which is that the people voted in a city council to make this choice on the voters behalf. Unless “the people” want to fork over money for a special election, the application process was the best scenario.
The truth is, the Antioch City Council has been a “do very little” council for the last few years under James Davis—partly because of the position Donald Freitas put Antioch in which reverts back to the economy crash. People want to make a claim that it should have been Davis or Freitas because of “vote totals” or “experience”, but look at where that experience has taken your city? To the crapper!
Why anyone want to continue that trend is beyond me? The best thing for the council was to get new blood in there which just occurred.
Having got to know Mr. Tiscareno for the past year and a half, I can say the man is very principled, loves his community, cares about the hard working people, puts his money where his mouth is, and wants to see local youth be given a chance to shine. He is a fighter and knows how politics work.
Aside from public safety which is the top issue at the moment, this man cares about job creation and will fight for jobs both union and non-union. He wants to bring business to Antioch through incentives while investing strategically in Antioch–specifically Rivertown and Summersville Business District.
Aside from Gary Agopian and Mary Rocha attending many community events, this council has been disengaged from its residents for quite some time. Add Tiscareno and Wilson to the mix, the council now becomes very public which is a great thing for Antioch.
And just to throw out a hypothetical which is meant at no disrespect to Monica Wilson, but had Tiscareno ran for city council this year (he likely would have ran in 2 years anyway), he would have beat out Monica Wilson for the two spot. I say this because Tiscareno knows how to campaign because he has done it for so long with the Labor Unions and other political candidates.
Someone asked earlier this week just who is Tony Tiscareno. I can think of no better response given than by Yvette Tiscareno on the Contra Costa Times website.
Who is this guy? Let me tell you. This is the guy who while most of you were sleeping off your Thanksgiving Food Coma’s or standing in line at Target to save a few bucks on a barbie, he was standing united with Walmart’s workers who were fired for refusing to be forced to work under unfair conditions. This is the guy who loves his city and always stands up for the rights of hard working families and is concerned with the safety and well being of our youth. This guy is a HARD WORKER, a family man who believes in core values and is a DO-ER, not a SAY-ER. This man has the highest morals and values and is the most honest man I know. This guy has worked HARD behind the scenes, thanklessly for many many years. The City of Antioch is lucky to have him sit on their council.
I am going to address a couple of paragraphs by Mr. Ruehlig as his text is in bold followed by my comments.
In truth, I had my doubts about the wisdom of the appointment process. It’s not because the ideal is flawed; it is, in concept, a noble idea, like communism, that on paper works. Practice, though, is another kettle of fish. You see, if you don’t use an objective measure like next highest vote getter you leave yourself open to subjectivity. Likely to enter left stage, politics as usual, i.e., the buddy system, payback, and the temptation to stack the deck.
There is nothing in writing that states the Antioch City Council had to pick the third highest vote getter. Antioch actually bypassed the third highest vote getter in 2008 when they bypassed Arne Simonsen in favor of Martha Parsons.
Again, in the abstract, picking someone who is the most experienced in governance, most involved in the community and most complimentary to the existing skill set of the Council is noble and conceptually doable. It’s just a darned hard assignment for most folks, human nature given what it is.
Tiscareno has been a “behind the scenes guy” for many years and has experience so Mr. Ruehlig is very wrong. In fact, Tiscareno likely has more experience than any other candidate who applied—yes I just said that. I say it because he has been involved with politcs from local, state, and federal issues. He has helped make things happen and helped create jobs. He also has better contacts than any other candidate including Davis and Freitas.
Case in point; by a 3-1 vote this Council took the subjective, lower and less enlightened road, choosing someone notable principally as a past union leader and political operative who worked aside them on many campaigns. Bless her family style, but Mr. Tiscareno also happened, from all accounts, to have grown up as a virtual third son to Mary Rocha.
See paragraph above, this is exactly why he has the experience and was chosen because he has busted his but for the unions and political issues for years—Ruehlig even admits it. While most candidates would have continued to kick the tires around without moving, Tiscareno can hit the ground running.
Those are not “bad” things, but in doing so, though, the Council bypassed people overflowing with civic and governance accomplishment. The rejected resumes sported the likes of a Citizen of the Year, Stanford graduate with a Master’s degree, past Mayors, Chief of Staff and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
Depending on what one is looking for, these are all nice merits for an applicant to have, however, we are talking about leading a city instead and not a business. Many people with similar credentials have been elected to higher office and failed—this is a poor argument by Ruehlig and he should know that. I’ll take Tiscareno who has actually been in the field and delivered results as a political adviser and president of United Steelworkers Local 1440 over a Chamber Leader for example.
In closing, using any sort of logic, had the council picked a “friend” or someone for “political payback” as Ruehlig claims, that would be political suicide if it doesn’t work out and these folks wouldn’t last another election.
While Ruehlig is entitled to is opinion, it doesn’t change the facts that the best applicant was chosen through a process that was the same to all applicants. Tiscareno has the merits and instead of complaining, Ruehlig should acknowledge that and issue a public apology.