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Myrna De Vera Regrets "Poor Judgment"

The Hercules City Councilwoman says she did not attempt to stifle free speech by speaking to a Pinole official about a Patch commenter.

Public officials in Hercules and Pinole may have attempted to silence a citizen commenting on Patch by contacting his employer, according to emails obtained by the Contra Costa Times. 

In June, Hercules city councilwoman Myrna de Vera contacted Pinole city engineer Dean Allison about comments made on Patch by Kent Von Aspern who works at HDR Engineering. The company has an $800,000 design contract for the Pinole-Hercules sewage treatment plant. While De Vera denies she asked Allison to silence Von Aspern, Allison sent this email to De Vera on July 3: "I spoke with the VP for HDR about Kent's postings on the Patch. I was told that discussions were made and we should not be seeing any future postings."

In an email to Patch sent Monday evening, De Vera regretted contacting Allison. 

The Time’s “Meaning of Free Speech Subject to Debate in Hercules,” exposed an action I am ashamed of and deeply regret. I would like  to express my apology to Mr. Von Aspern, HDR, to the City of Pinole, the Pinole-Hercules Waste Water Subcommittee, to the City of Hercules, and to my supporters for my actions regarding Mr. Von Aspern. 

I admit the incident was an act of poor judgment on my part.  I reacted inappropriately to a citizen's comment posted on a blog by contacting a Pinole official on two occasions. Even though I did not tell the Pinole official to silence the citizen, and the Pinole city official did not direct HDR to do the same, and there is no evidence HDR forced Mr. Von Aspern to stop blogging, my actions have caused the perception of a concerted effort to stifle a citizen’s free speech rights. 

And that was very wrong.

I take responsibility for my mistake, and I humbly apologize to those I may have inadvertently hurt.  

BlackRock September 28, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Hi Giorgio, If it helps, I think susan was talking about von aspern's employer when she mentioned lapse of judgment. I don't think she meant you.
Susan D.Keeffe September 28, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Georgio, Oh for heaven's sakes! I wasn't talking about YOU! I was talking about the employer. So you leaped to that conclusion and slam me? And even then you got my facts wrong . Great. I'm done here.
Susan D.Keeffe September 28, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Sorry, Giorgio. And leave my son out of it. That is uncalled for.
Selina Williams September 29, 2012 at 01:40 AM
A few FACTS: Mr. Von Aspern worked for HDR, a independent firm that has contracted with Hercules for certain projects and has been under consideration to work on the water district project for the joint Pinole-Hercules treatment plant project. There is a-lot that has not been mentioned about what was happening with those negotiations but since I wasnt there, I will leave that to those that were. Suffice it to say, the blogging wasn't helping HDR. Myrna did not complain to HDR about the blogging. She did complain, just not to them. Also, none of you actually know what the complaining was really about, only that she did complain. So, why the trial without a jury? How about asking questions with an open mind. There is always more to a story and investigative journalism isnt what it used to be..
Tim Craig September 29, 2012 at 02:33 AM
"I reacted inappropriately to a citizen's comment posted on a blog by contacting a Pinole official on two occasions." Well, it sure sounds like from her apology, that she contacted Mr. Von Aspern's supervisor based on HIS comments in the Patch. And she did mention him by name 2 times in said apology. Unless "the citizen" is not Mr. Von Aspern. So if she's not apologizing to Mr. Von Aspern for contacting his supervisor about his comments on the Patch, Selina, what the hell is she apologizing to him for, criticizing his engineering designs for the new wastewater treatment plant?
Glenn Abraham September 29, 2012 at 02:50 AM
"So if she's not apologizing to Mr. Von Aspern for contacting his supervisor about his comments on the Patch, Selina, what the hell is she apologizing to him for, criticizing his engineering designs for the new wastewater treatment plant?" That question, Tim, has occurred to me, too. The citizen IS von Aspern.
Annie R. September 29, 2012 at 03:02 AM
LOL! Never a dull moment in Hercules.
Giorgio C. October 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Councilwoman De Vera should resign. Until this recent incident, I did not know if the blame for the ongoing council dysfunctionality belonged to her or our Mayor. This time, our Mayor was nowhere near the crime scene. Councilwoman De Vera has been blaming all of her woes on our Mayor and City Manager, but we now have to acknowledge the fact that they have been victims of a council member who is truly capable of undermining (intentionally or otherwise) the efforts of our city government. In my opinion, this is part of a pattern of behavior that makes her unfit to sit on the council. This action was not anomalous or out of character. It was her MO. Of equal concern is who she chose to defend with her communication, an individual who has inflicted his share of bullying on fellow commenters. The irony is that the engineer himself did attempt to bring peace to the Patch, by calling for a “time-out” and a stop to the bullying. He deserved her support, not her wrath. My call for her resignation is about building a functional government that we all so urgently need and deserve. Councilwoman De Vera has greatly compromised the council’s collective functionality. Just as I do not possess the temperament to sit on this council, neither does she. Councilwoman De Vera can truly be proud of her accomplishments, but it is time to move on. By resigning, she will be doing herself a favor, as I am sure this has been tough on her, too. She owes us this.
Jeffrey Boore October 03, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I have been watching this and similar topics with a morbid fascination, hoping that we'd move on to something substantive, but, alas, these hopes of mine follow in effect others about young men pulling up their pants or women deciding that crocs really are ugly. It seems to me that the same people are saying the same things over and over, and all of this effort spent focusing on the interpersonal intrigue of our city council members, deciding who among them has the most evil nature, is an enormous distraction from addressing the real issues facing our city such as not having enough money, parsing what city services we can afford, lawsuits, and urban development. Here are some things I think we should get over: (1) Dan publicly scolded a citizen for criticizing the council. (2) Gerard embellished his resume for his city council run. (3) Myrna complained about a blog that was beyond her purview. Each has apologized. None are resigning. Each will face an election where their seat will be decided by the voters (two this year, one later). No amount of ranting in the same tone by the same people over and over on the Patch will change these things. I strongly suggest that those most concerned about our future, enriched among those commonly posting on the Patch, regain focus on things that matter and can be changed.
Giorgio C. October 03, 2012 at 07:48 PM
With all due respect, mr. boore, there have been consequences from her actions. A citizen now fears for his job. Our council has been put through the wringer. At what point do we say enough already because as you say, we have work to do!
Jeffrey Boore October 04, 2012 at 03:12 AM
@Giorgio C. -- I have not seen one shred of evidence, or even a claim other than yours, that Mr Von Aspern has ever, much less now, feared for his job.
Giorgio C. October 04, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Jeffrey, Try reading the newspaper that I have provided for you. De Vera and Co. created this shameful mess that has caused many a great deal of grief. Like I said, she owes it to the citizens and the council and to herself to resign. She said she would do anything to make things right, so I am placing my request for such. I suppose she can make like the lying councilman and just do what makes her happy. Newspaper article http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21655237/hercules-man-at-center-flap-over-blogging-withdraws HERCULES -- "The resident who got in trouble for comments critical of a City Council member on a local blog has withdrawn his application to sit on a tax oversight board, citing stress and fear for the loss of his job."
Jeffrey Boore October 04, 2012 at 05:35 AM
I see there that Mr. Von Aspern says that he fears for his job, and I stand corrected. Thank you. I still maintain that this is not worth further action or discussion to the preclusion of more substantive issues.
Giorgio C. October 04, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Jeffrey, My calling for Myrna's resignation is about doing what is right for our government so they can focus on the substantive issues you cite. Candidates McCoy and Rubio have lost any consideration from me as they have not openly condemned this behavior. This means they lack the independent spirit I seek in a candidate, that they might be influenced by Councilwoman De Vera, the same councilwoman who announced Rubio's candidacy for him. Simmons did take that step (a small one) at the last council meeting, so still has my consideration. For me, now seeing that De Vera has not been the victim, but is herself a bully, is a game-changer. I want a City Council who spends their time doing their research, not engaging in battles of the blog.
Joseph Catindig October 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Giorgio, do not forget, she became a victim first then as a result, became a bully, if that's what you want to insinuate. When she was Mayor, I didn't hear any complaints from you or from any body else, did I? Everything was great, wasn't it? Did I hear Romero condemn the racial attacks that happened here in the Patch? No I did not! At least, Mr. Wilkins made an effort to do so last council meeting. It goes both ways my friend. McCoy and Rubio are focusing on the issues and I think we should do the same. Nov 6th is just around the corner, our last chance for this city.
Giorgio C. October 05, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Joseph, Myrna De Vera attempted to defend her sidekick, aka The Gimp (Tarantino's creation), who in my opinion has perpetrated much of the hate on the Patch. It is now my opinion that she is complicit in unleashing The Gimp on anyone who dares to criticize her. But it is ok to attack our current Mayor? This is who De Vera defends? Now it all makes sense. Cry me a river, Joseph. Myrna De Vera ain't no Mother Teresa. And her lack of judgment does interfere with the business of the city, so it should not be ignored.
Joseph Catindig October 05, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Look Giorgio, I do not have time to cry a river for nobody. If you think Myrna ain't no Mother Teresa, then so be it. I don't see myself as Padre Pio nor you as Pope Pius XV either so let's move on. The incumbents, especially Romero and Boulanger, have done a lot more than interference in whatever this city needs to move forward. They are the ones who set this standard, right? Let's focus on that and try to vote them out. By 2014, if you still feel the same way towards Myrna then that will be your chance. In the mean time, we have a city to save. Do you want to help? If you do, first is cut the Myrna obsession out then, either pass post cards or wave signs for the challengers. You in?
Joseph Catindig October 05, 2012 at 02:00 PM
By calling someone The Gimp, you have created hate yourself, my friend. See, why are you singling out The Gimp for spreading hate here in the Patch? You, me and everyone else are responsible at a certain degree for doing that so it is irresponsible for you to say that The Gimp perpetrated "much" of the hate. BTW, I am not defend The Gimp...he is capable of doing that on his own. Now, let me go do some work to save this city.
Richard L. October 05, 2012 at 04:53 PM
By this same logic, did Mayor Romero or Councilman Wilkins openly condemn Councilman Boulanger? You can bet your life's savings that if one of the other candidates in the previous election had openly lied to the citizens Mayor Romero would have been up in arms about it.
Giorgio C. October 06, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Joseph, De Vera's sidekick threatened me with legal action and even tried to have me written up in the CC Times. This was a very uncomfortable experience for me, Joseph. Now that I see that there are other victims, I am now speaking out. I need to quit being nice to bullies, especially those that De Vera defends. I don't take kindly to being threatened. You don't have to agree with me, Joseph. I am simply saying that I will not allow anyone to treat me this way again. Thanks for your understanding, Joseph. I'm done with this matter.
Glenn Abraham October 06, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Cosentino: If the sidekick you're referring to is me, then you are lying when you say that I threatened you with legal action (That never happened, you bipolar berserker.), and you are lying when you say that I tried to have you "written up in the CC Times" (That never happened, you lunatic jerk.). I've stayed silent with all the crap you've been spewing lately about De Vera's sidekick and The Gimp, or whatever the hell it is you called me. I've backed off precisely because you emailed me, after your outrages against the Ad Hoc Legal Committee (which you have since alternately embraced and vilified, as is your moodswinging wont) and said you couldn't stand it when I mentioned that you are mentally ill, as you so obviously are. You can't stand it, but you keep sticking your little knife in my back, trying to see how much you can get away with. Now you know. I don't give a damn what your mental condition may be, I don't care if you're running out of lithium, I have had it with you. You had better be very, very careful that everything you ever again accuse me of is 100% provably true, because, although I never before threatened you with legal action, I am doing so now. If you commit libel against me, you will pay for it. I am also going to advise Myrna, who has suffered through so many of your lunatic (and factually untrue) rants, to seek advice of counsel...maybe me...if you ever libel her again. Your license to libel has been revoked.
Joseph Catindig October 06, 2012 at 05:12 AM
oh geez...can we all get along?
Giorgio C. October 06, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Glenn, Is Myrna a victim of our hate? One week ago, I contacted you suggesting such and you said no, that this was her own doing, that you were surprised. Glenn, I think you and I and everyone else who has been lobbing grenades of hate needs to take responsibility for our actions and words. I do not think Myrna would have done what she did if it had not been for our actions here on the Patch. I am not excusing her actions, but we all play a role in this. Even the engineer got pulled into OUR (taking ownership) nastiness. When I read whom she attempted to defend, I saw red, as evidenced by my comments. I could not accept this because I had been engaged in warfare for months with you. I could say you were attacking me, that I was always defending myself, but I acknowledge that at some point, I became an equal player in our warfare. On this current thread, I started the attack, yes? I think you have even been on your best behavior, lately, yes? I wished I could have let it go, but after so many months of hateful words thrown at each other, it’s not so easy, Glenn, especially since you kicked my butt as I told you before. Worse yet, you truly scared the cr_p out of me and she defended you? I don’t understand her, but I’ll try to move on. No, Myrna probably shouldn’t resign over this. We all need to keep trying to do better, myself included. You have been doing better. Now my turn. Giorgio
Glenn Abraham October 06, 2012 at 02:13 PM
That’s a whole lot better, Cosentino. Even you, with your mood swings and your instability, are capable of carefully-crafted statements which do NOT involve ruining the reputations of good people with lies. Hereafter, there will definitely be a reponse to any of your statements of factual lie like this completely libelous and completely false attack of 6/27/12 on the Ad Hoc Legal Committee: “A very negative tone was set ever since SOME members of the Legal Ad Hoc committee began openly spewing such hate and disdain for some of our city leaders instead of focusing on a positive solution. This coincided with the public sharing of email transcripts. Day after day, meeting after meeting, words of hate directed against our Mayor and City Manager. Every day, harsh, negative, unrelenting, vitriol.” Cosentino, some or all of that may have actually happened in your chaotic mood-generating mind, but none of it occurred on our planet, none of it was real, all of it was lies. I realize that a telephone call from Dan Romero immediately preceded this fantastical outburst, but I no longer care. You are responsible for your own misdeeds.
Glenn Abraham October 06, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Part of the reason I let you attack Phil Simmons, Toni Leance, Sue Keeffe, Myrna de Vera was because, when I was the victim of your psychotic rants, they remained silent. They’ll probably remain silent (publicly, because the private communications were pretty clear) now, but I don’t care. You are ruining everything by mixing your delusions into the reality that the rest of us have to deal with. Yes, you might even believe that your lies are true, that your personal delusions constitute some sort of objective reality. I don’t care anymore whether it’s the product of your madness or simply of your malice. You have completely exhausted the reserve of sympathy I have maintained for you in the nineteen months you have been rampaging on the Patch with your actionable falsehoods. Get your therapy elsewhere.
Giorgio C. October 06, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Glenn, You said my comments about the Legal Ad Hoc committee were libelous. My comment about the legal ad hoc committee was in reference to the vice-chair's many public comments, which were labeled as "defamatory" or "possibly defamatory" by Councilman Wilkins. This was not libelous. This was a fact. I responded to what I observed. The vice-chair now acknowledges that Lochner should not have referred to her as the committee vice-chair, but instead as a citizen. She (or the council liaisons) should have made the effort to correct him. It is easy to have the CC Times edit an article before it goes to paper print. So why was this never corrected? Did Toni or Councilwoman De Vera or anyone contact Lochner and ask him to edit the article? Nope. The comments stood as those of the committee vice-chair. I back what I said. What I observed was based on fact. The council liaisons to the committee share responsibility for this and what did they do about it? Nothing.
Giorgio C. October 06, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Also, if the comments of the vice-chair were seen as comments of the Legal Ad Hoc committee (not as a citizen), then one could make a case that the committee was interfering with the City Manager's appointment process as Councilwoman De Vera had been warned not to do. Such interference is prohibited by law.
Glenn Abraham October 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Another point: all of your lies about Myrna defending me, against anyone, are just that: lies. When people like you and von Aspern spray your napalm on me, she just lets me burn. Myrna's action against von Aspern was the result of his backhanded slap at HER, on 6/15/12; she did NOT take action against von Aspern because of me...she just dragged my name into it in the second phase of her own, very personal action. Your entire fantasy of me as some kind of enforcer for Myrna is pure fiction. She doesn’t defend me, and I won’t defend her. I will, though, dissect any future lies, about her or anyone, that you try to spread on the Patch. So, if you're thinking that I won't litigate your libels against others: you're probably right. If I personally did not suffer harm, I would have no cause of action, That does NOT mean that I will continue to let you get away with lying on the Patch. You have spread far too much disinformation. As for litigation: you had better be very careful in what you say about ME. You have a longstanding pattern: you start out with mild outrages, and then keep testing the environment, intensifying your awfulness, until you finally go too far, and get slapped back down...and then you start the whole process all over again. We are NOT going to do this again, ever. This is a public forum for publicly-traded information, not a therapy group for your delusions. Deal with them in a more appropriate venue.
Giorgio C. October 06, 2012 at 03:32 PM
The following sums it up best: Look at who Councilwoman De Vera chose to defend. Look who she she chose not defend. Look at who she attempted to silence. Look at who she did not attempt to silence. I rest my case.
Toni Leance October 06, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Giorgio you are ignorant. There is a line between the council and the city manager in our form of governance but that doesn't mean citizens can't complain or speak out about the actions of the city manager. That is criticism not interference

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