“I guess this is ‘pick on the mayor night.'”
– Councilman Ed Pack

October 06, 2010 5:12 PM
Peter Day

HESPERIA • While the official Hesperia City Council business was humdrum, the session-ending councilmember comments on Tuesday night were anything but boring.

“Councilmember Vogler, I didn’t want to rehash this,” Mayor Thurston “Smitty” Smith said during his segment, “(but) you’re blaming me for you not becoming mayor?”

“Yes,” Councilmember Rita Vogler answered.

“No one on this dais voted for you, Ma’am,” Smith said. “Remember that. It was just not me.”

Earlier, before the current and former mayors tangled on issues, Councilmember Ed Pack said, “I guess this is ‘pick on the mayor night.’”

Pack took exception to Smith’s portrayal of how the City Council explored a possible sales tax hike to help pay for city services.

“Yes, $100,000 got wasted but it was because we were flat lied to and you know that,” Pack said. “And I just take exception that you think we would go out and purposely just waste $100,000 for something we knew wouldn’t even get on the ballot.”

As Pack finished his comments, Vogler said, “Ed Pack, thank you very much.” She stood up and led a number of council chamber attendees in a round of applause.

But the drama was just getting started.

“Today I got a letter here from, I believe, it’s the Free Press (Al Vogler’s mailer to Hesperia voters),” Councilmember Mike Leonard said. “And I read it, and I never read so much crap in my life. There’s not one thing in here that is true or factual.”

Leonard criticized the mailer for claiming Smith had voted to increase the city’s contribution to the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce.

“Smitty was not on board (city council) when we voted to give them $60,000. I believe he was still on the park board. So when you get this letter in the mail just consider what you’re reading, and if you have any questions you can call me or, I guess, anybody up here, and we can sit down and talk about it.”

Next, Councilmember Paul Bosacki addressed the council’s July 20 rejection of the sales tax measure.

“Over the last 19 years the half-cent sales tax has provided more than $42 million for Hesperia roads,” Bosacki said. “All these things are tax dollars at work in improving the community. I’m hearing all this rhetoric about ‘I’m against taxes, I hate taxes. I’ve fought against taxes my whole life.’ You need to understand that without taxes that the voters approved, which they did in the county twice now, we wouldn’t have what we have in Hesperia.”

Smith addressed the sales tax vote and chamber funding issues.

“In my opinion, my fellow council members didn’t do the homework to know that it took a four-fifths vote to get it on the ballot. In turn, they wasted $105,000,” Smith said. “When I came on the council, we cut the budget to the chamber. Check the records. Check with Brian Johnson, the finance director. That is very misleading and deceiving to the public, Al (Vogler). And some of the other rhetoric, I don’t need to lower myself to that standard.”

The councilmember comment period ended with Smith and Vogler exchanging barbs.

Smith: “It’s a silly season.”

Vogler: “It’s not a silly season. We have an arrogant, pompous ….” (Vogler stopped herself as she spelled out a swear word.)

Smith: “And you’ve got a husband (Al Vogler) doing your work for you.”

Vogler: “Did you do your homework and not tell us?”

Smith: “Al Vogler knew it. He tried to blame it on me that it should have been a super majority.”

Smith: “We’ll adjourn this meeting until Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m.”

Vogler: “I can’t wait!