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White Prepares To Enter Rehab
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Embattled Riverbank City Councilman Jesse James White is due be arraigned in Stanislaus County Superior Court today, March 21, on charges of drunken driving, hit and run driving, exposing a child to bodily injury or death and resisting arrest. The charges follow an early morning Feb. 20 traffic accident in Oakdale when White's Corvette hit two parked vehicles and he tried to flee the scene on foot, leaving his four-year-old son bleeding from the nose and still buckled in his car seat.

Bystanders detained White and police arrested him, alleging his blood alcohol level was about three times the legal limit.

The arraignment is just one more piece in the ongoing saga of White, who has not attended a council session since his arrest more than a month ago.

Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson said she had been in touch with City Attorney Tom Hallinan by telephone on Monday morning and he had not mentioned the situation as changing from the last report. White's attorney Mary Lynn Belsher was out of her office Monday afternoon and not available to comment.

White presumably was preparing to enter an alcoholism rehabilitation center and calling each day to see if a bed was available, but was not yet in such a center, as Hallinan reported at the March 12 council meeting after speaking to Belsher.

Again asked, as several times before by council members and some residents to resign his council seat, White said he would not resign unless convicted but later announced he would enter a center for the treatment of alcoholism. He has been arrested before, once for "wet and reckless driving" and once for drug possession.

Mayor Virginia Madueno suggested at the March 12 meeting that perhaps White should produce a doctor's note if he stays absent from council meetings. City councilmembers may be legally removed from office if they are convicted of a felony. They may also be required to resign if they fail to attend regular council meetings for 60 days or more unless they have an excused absence such as sickness when they should furnish a doctor's note.

Madueno said former council member Sandra Benitez produced a doctor's note when she was sick for a long time and could not attend many council meetings. This had established a policy precedent which she thought White should follow, too. The council meets regularly on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. White last attended a meeting on Feb.13. The next council meeting will be March 26.