Steve Behmerwohld, San Juan Capistrano
I feel that I need to respond to the personal attack from Mayor Kerry Ferguson, “Online Petition Surfaces Calling for Removal of Mayor Kerry Ferguson,” in the last issue of The Dispatch.
In the first line of her full response (which was posted in the online version of the story), she lashes out at what she refers to as “a group of schoolyard bullies, many of whom hang out at coffee chat.” Coffee Chat is a group of local people who meet at Hennessey’s Tavern every Friday morning to discuss what’s going on in San Juan and exchange ideas. The group welcomes any resident who wants to exercise their First Amendment rights and come and speak and learn about issues and current events in our town. I am a regular co-host. Kerry has been invited and has refused to attend on several occasions, although sitting (and past) Council people have attended and co-hosted for decades.
Although Kerry doesn’t call me out by name, like she did with Ted Rosenfeldt and Sam Allevato, she does refer to “one of the most constant bullies who rails at council and commissioners.” I do speak regularly at Council meetings, which is my First Amendment right. I very rarely raise my voice and never “rail.” She seems to forget about the years that her friends Kim McCarthy and Clint Worthington yelled at Councilman Allevato and others.
Ferguson also wrote: “He was forced to resign from ASAP (police services volunteer group) after stealing signs from residents advocating against SDGE’s substation expansion. Again, he sought to crush their right of free speech.”
We did remove signs (which was part of our volunteer job with the sheriff’s department). I did resign from A.S.A.P., but I certainly wasn’t forced to. We didn’t “steal” anything. There was a several-month-long OCSD investigation, (which I thought was a total waste of time and money, but was insisted on by one of the anti-SDG&E zealots, who was also instrumental in getting Kerry elected). I was interviewed by OCSD investigators on three separate occasions and was completely exonerated. Kerry’s supporters wanted our then-city manager and then-chief of police services to be fired. I resigned because I was tired of seeing them unjustly harassed.
What brought on Kerry’s tirade was a simple question from Allison Jarrell at The Dispatch: “In general, what is your response to Ted Rosenfeldt’s petition to unseat you as mayor?”
There are 43 comments online—every one supporting the petition. And there are 133 signatures in support of this statement: “We, the undersigned, urge the City Council to vote No Confidence and remove Council member, Kerry Ferguson, from leadership as Mayor of San Juan Capistrano.”
I think it’s ironic that after being asked a direct question about the petition, she never answered the question, but instead launched an attack on three citizens.
For someone who claims to be a supporter of the First Amendment, she sure seems to try to deny those very rights of anyone who disagrees with her.