By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
White No Show City Council Held 'Hostage'
Placeholder Image
Residents of Riverbank turned out for Monday night's regularly scheduled Riverbank City Council meeting ... but council member Jesse James White did not.

That left only two council members - Mayor Virginia Madueno and Sandra Benitez - on the dais and, once again, the council was unable to conduct any official business.

"There were people outside with signs that said 'Wanted - Jesse James White to attend council meetings'," said City Manager Rich Holmer. "We're sort of being held hostage right now by an individual that doesn't seem to care about Riverbank."

Holmer said even though Jesse James White has indicated he would be attending regularly scheduled council meetings but not special sessions, he called in late Monday afternoon to say he was in Los Angles and would not be attending the meeting. With his grandfather Dave White recuperating in a convalescent home and former councilman Danny Fielder resigning his post, the attendance of Jesse James White is imperative for the council to have a quorum.

"We couldn't do anything," Holmer said of the Monday night meeting, which basically included a presentation from local FFA members and a proclamation in their honor by the city. Other than that, the council could not officially conduct any business.

Last week, the younger White reported he was out of town and unable to attend a special council meeting to decide whether to appoint someone to fill the council seat of Fielder, who resigned from the council last month. Dave White is on medical leave until September, according to City Clerk Linda Abid-Cummings.

If the council does not appoint a replacement for Fielder within 30 days of his July 29 resignation, the seat will have to be filled via a special election. That could cost the city between $25,000 and $40,000, and would not be held until March of next year, according to Holmer.

An option - if the council can get a quorum - is to appoint one of the nine people running for a seat this November, Holmer added.

The continued absence of Jesse James White is costing the city every day. Holmer said the council could not apply for an $800,000 home assistance program grant as planned on Monday night, could not approve going out to bid for a Patterson/First Street overlay project, could not make the appointment of a council member as they had planned.

Also, two public hearings that the council had noticed - and paid between $300 and $400 for the legal advertising - could not be held and will have to be rescheduled, and re-advertised, at additional cost to the city.

"He said he was going to be here," Holmer said of White. "The longer he decides not to attend a council meeting, the longer the council is held out to dry."

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Monday, Sept. 13.