State

Riverbank meeting is quick - and quiet

RIVERBANK - The city has seen so much upheaval that some say it should change its slogan from City of Action to City of Fraction.

But at a special Monday night meeting, the City Council got a break from the rancor. At its first public meeting since a grand jury report called for Councilman Jesse James White to step down, the council breezed through its agenda in 17 minutes.

Missing from the meeting were most of the cast of characters who turn some meetings into three-hour gripe sessions. Also absent was Councilman Dave White, the target of a recall attempt along with his grandson, Jesse James White.

The meeting wasn't on the council's regular schedule. The session was held so the city could advance a plan to put the Claus Road ammo plant in its redevelopment area.

No one spoke during the meeting's public comment period. "I'm surprised at (the calm)," said Councilman Danny Fielder. "I thought that tonight it would be quite challenging to maintain any order."

Fielder said the meeting could be the calm before the storm. On July 13, the council is scheduled to vote on the first step toward raising monthly sewer bills. That day also will mark the opening of campaign season. Candidates in the November mayoral race will be allowed to register to run.

The battle for the city's political future continues to rage online. Dueling Web sites each claimed victory after the release of the grand jury report. At www.riverbankcfc.org, recall organizers say the grand jury proved what they've said for months, that Jesse James White is unfit to serve. The grand jury found that White wasn't registered to vote when he took out nomination papers. At www.citizensofriverbank.com, the Whites' supporters say the grand jury revealed that Jesse James White was the victim of a mismanaged city.

The city has until Oct. 1 to respond to the report.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at lalbrecht@modbee.com or 578-2378.

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