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White Attends Council Meeting
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Riverbank City Councilmember Jesse James White attended a council meeting on April 23 for the first time since he was charged with driving under the influence following a Feb. 20 crash in Oakdale and said he would enter an alcohol treatment center.

"I have checked into rehabilitation. I'm out on a day pass," he announced during councilmember comments. "But there is no six months magical cure. I'm asking for your thoughts and prayers. I'm dealing with a long road to recovery."

Councilmember Dotty Nygard who is a registered nurse said she wished him the best.

White said later he entered the center on April 3 and will attend council meetings if and when he gets the rehabilitation center's permission.

Following White's absence from meetings in February and March, Mayor Virginia Madueno noted that state law allows councilmembers to be dismissed from office for failing to attend meetings for more than 60 days in a row. Medical reasons for absence are excusable. So when White said he was entering rehabilitation, she suggested he should produce a note from a doctor.

It appears his April 23 appearance on the council was just in time to stop the 60-day absence proviso taking effect. There was nothing said about a doctor's note.

White did little at the meeting, abstaining from voting on the approval of minutes because he was not present at those meetings. He did vote once, against the motion. That was in a 4-1 approval to appoint a city representative to the oversight committee of the designated local authority that replaced the former Riverbank Redevelopment Agency.

White was the youngest person ever seated on a city council in Stanislaus County when elected in 2008 but soon antagonized both fellow councilmembers and some citizens by repeatedly voting with his grandfather Dave White to delay or prevent such apparently necessary moves such as raising sewer rates. Arrested on charges of cocaine and marijuana possession while already on probation for a wet and reckless driving conviction, he accused local police and city officials of political persecution and got the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

Citizens led by Nygard and others failed twice to gain enough signatures to put a recall movement on the ballot. Madueno and the council filed a lawsuit to have him dismissed from office for failing to register as a city voter before filing his candidacy for office. They withdrew that suit this year as legal costs mounted.

Then came the crash in Oakdale and White's subsequent promises he would enter an alcoholism treatment center. White's Corvette hit two parked cars on F Street late at night and he fled the scene on foot leaving his child bleeding from the nose and still strapped in a car seat. Detained by bystanders, White pleaded not guilty on March 21 to felony charges of drunken driving and hit and run with injury.

Dave White said last week he believes his grandson's rehabilitation may take up to six months. The younger White's four-year term of office expires in November. He has not said whether or not he will run for office again.