Reporting Ron Jones
RIVERBANK (CBS13) – A councilman who was cuffed skipped out on the Riverbank city council meeting.
A lot of residents at the Riverbank city council meeting Monday night were hoping to hear from council member Jesse James White, but he was a no-show. But the message that he sent to the council through his attorney had a lot of folks demanding his resignation.
“He’s a double coward for not being here,” said Ross, a meeting attendee.
It was a sparse crowd, but there was plenty of indignation inside Riverbank’s council chambers.
“It’s been a very difficult, very difficult week for all of us,” said Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno.City leaders and residents are demanding to hear from councilmember Jesse James White. He hasn’t shown his face since his arrest a week ago for allegedly driving drunk, crashing his car, running from the scene and leaving his injured four-year-old boy in his car seat.
“I had a hard time sitting here my hearts beating at 90 beats per minutes right now,” said Ross.
People here say they’re fed up with the young council member’s antics, calling him reckless and irresponsible. Since being elected to office in 2008, White has also been arrested on other crimes such as drug possession.
“People are outraged by that action. People are saying if he can do that he’s not a person who can represent our community,” said Madueno.
But in a letter sent to the council tonight through White’s attorney, White says he will not step down, but finish his term through November.
Critics want the council to force him out.
“I don’t think that there’s any question that that is what we would like for him to do,” said Madueno.
“They can only be removed in extreme circumstances,” said Riverbank city manager Jill Anderson.
This is Jill Anderson’s first day on the job as city manager. She says, according to state law, unless White is convicted of a felony, there’s nothing they can do.
“And therefore he remains on the council,” said Anderson. “Our hands are tied up here, but yours are not.”
The mayor is now encouraging the people of Riverbank to consider a recall petition.
“But you as residents, your hands are not tied. You have the ability remove him from office. Only you can remove him from office,” said Madueno.
So now there’s an effort by some of the residents to begin a recall movement; however, they need enough signatures to put it on the June ballot.”