When I attended Catholic School as a wee lad in Central New York, the nuns would take attendance at Mass that Sunday.  If you didn’t make it to church that Sunday, on Monday “Sister” would question “why didn’t you go to Mass on Sunday” and if she wasn’t satisfied with the answer, you had to turn your palm up so she could smack you with a metal ruler until you cried.  At tonight’s Tustin council meeting, Councilman Jerry Amante, perhaps still stinging from being called a school yard bully to his face by former Council member Pam Keller in mid-May, will introduce some sort of “attendance policy” for members of the Tustin city council.

The policy unfairly singles out Council member Deborah Gavello who has excused absences for several meetings because she has undergone treatments for skin cancer and may have been under doctors orders not to go.  We’ve pointed out, the work done by council members outside of the actual city council meetings represents about 95 percent of a council member’s daily work.

We caution the council to be careful about what they ask for here: imagine if you will that Councilman Amante has prostate cancer or severe hemorrhoids or a pimple on his butt that requires him to miss several council meetings.  Ten bucks says he’ll be excused from the council meeting because he has a note from his doctor.  But this isn’t good enough for Gavello.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a good government policy issue being debated — its politicized bullying to a new level because Amante won’t give an inch preferring to lambast Gavello instead of working with her on behalf of the voters.  The lesson here is “don’t embarrass Amante ever.” And by Keller showing up in Mid-May, Amante was red faced.

From the Register’s story, which, in my opinion, is very one-sided towards Amante:

Councilman Jerry Amante is asking the City Council to create an attendance policy for its members.

The item, to be heard by the council Tuesday night, recommends that council members be allowed to discuss absences during public meetings, and reprimand members who miss more than two meetings a quarter.

Tustin falls under the California government code, which states that a council position will become vacant if a member is absent without permission for 60 consecutive days from the last regular meeting the member attended.

In recent months, Amante has been critical of Councilwoman Deborah Gavello for her absences.

Gavello is the only member with absences this year, city records show. She did not attend three regular council meetings and one special meeting in January.

At the April 17 City Council meeting, Gavello said she had had “two major skincancer surgeries and many minor ones” and that the city manager had been made aware of her situation.

What makes the Register’s story a bit one sided here is that a month after the April 17 meeting, former Fullerton Council member Pam Keller called Amante on his challenge to Gavello to “produce an elected official who could back up her story” that Amante is a bully.  Keller showed up and told Amante in public to his face he was.  Amante, who can recall the attendance of every elected official he has served with for eight years, “couldn’t recall the incident.”

Not that you read a word about this in the Register.