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Court Date White Denies Drug Charges
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Embattled Riverbank City Councilman Jesses James White pleaded not guilty to one felony charge of possession of cocaine and two misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession on June 11 and is due back in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Friday, June 18 for a pre-trial hearing.

Law enforcement authorities have said marijuana and cocaine were found in his house and marijuana in his vehicle during a probation search on May 14. White's attorney Mary Lynn Belsher of Modesto has said she believes her client is innocent and will give proof the drugs belong to someone else.

By law, said Riverbank City Attorney Tom Hallinan Jr., a person convicted of a felony cannot seek or continue to hold a public office such as city councilman.

In the latest development on Monday, Mayor Virginia Madueno called on White to resign at the June 14 regular City Council meeting. White refused the request but Madueno asked attorney Hallinan to see what process should be followed that would allow the council to formally censure White and perhaps remove him, depending on the outcome of the court case.

In the meantime, political activist Dotty Nygard and Riverbank Citizens for Fair Change continue to collect signatures on a petition to recall White from office in the November election. The petition reads "Jesse James White does not represent the community of Riverbank," in addition to indicating that he was found by the Civil Grand Jury report to be unlawfully in office, has violated his probation and was arrested May 14 for possession of illegal drugs.

Elected to the council at 19, White soon became a controversial figure after a Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury said he registered to run for the office before he had registered to vote in the city and Nygard led a failed 2009 recall movement against Jesse James White and his grandfather and fellow councilmember Dave White.

It became public knowledge at that time that Jesse James White is on three years' probation following his arrest in June of 2007 for driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of marijuana when he pleaded no contest to wet and reckless driving.

White said City Manager Rich Holmer and others want him removed from office because he and his grandfather have repeatedly blocked a city move to raise sewer rates.

He also has called for a review and repeal of a pay study done in 2005 that raised city employees' salaries by a large amount, including that of the city manager.

Dave White, meanwhile, underwent surgery for a heart problem last week, and spent several days recuperating in intensive care.