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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is Assemblyman Mike Gatto Unfit For Public Service?

Newly elected 43rd District Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silverlake) has apparently threatened to sue Los Angeles political blog "Mayor Sam's Sister City" in an attempt to put a halt to criticism and comment about his suitability for holding public office.

The Mayor Sam Blog has been threatened
with a lawsuit by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silverlake)
According to the Glendale News-Press, "an attorney for the lawmaker sent a cease-and-desist letter" to the Mayor Sam Blog "claiming the material was defamatory."

Many might consider Gatto to be a "typical career politician" having previously worked as Political Director and District Director for United States Congressman Brad Sherman and serving in the administrations of three different Los Angeles Mayors, as President of the El Pueblo (Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority) Commission.

Gatto was sworn into office in June 2010, after a bitter race against  a "grass roots" candidate.  But rather than display the maturity and perhaps gravitas one might expect from a State Assemblyman, Gatto has apparently shown a remarkable insecurity over, and intolerance for, any criticism. 

The Mayor Sam Blog has long been a thorn in the side of many elected officials, but none have ever resorted to what looks like "Bully Boy" tactics to silence free speech. Micheal Higby, who operates the Mayor Sam Blog, told the Glendale News-Press that he had received a letter threatening legal action from Gatto's lawyers and had responded by removing "all content related to Mike Gatto as we strategize internally," and "studies his legal options." Higby said. 

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, long the target of Mayor Sam's "snarky, rough-and-tumble" tone, has never complained or expressed any concern, according to Higby. "In fact, they frequently send us information."Higby said. All of which makes one wonder why Gatto, who seeks re-election to a full 4 year term to the State Assembly on November 2, 2010, is so anxious to silence any criticism.

Gatto's actions might seem out of proportion to the questions raised over his suitability for public office, especially in the light of his campaign pledge to voters to "Hold my feet to the fire." Trying to silence criticism rather than defend it, or even ignore it, is troubling and may make people wonder if Gatto has anything to hide?

Higby and the Mayor Sam Blog are not the only targets of Gatto's use of legal action to silence criticism. The Glendale New-Press also reported that Gatto's legal representatives obtained a "stay away" order preventing Peter Musurlian, a Burbank city employee who independently reports and shoots video stories, from being less than 10 yards away from an aide to Assemblyman Mike Gatto after a judge sided with her claims of harassment.

Gatto aide Christine Aghakhani testified that Musurlian, had "threatened" her during a July 24 town hall event at the Glendale Central Public Library. Some of Musurlian's experiences in attempting to report on Gatto can be seen in this video posted on YouTube:


Criticism, comment, aggressive reporting, even insults, are part and parcel of politics, and Gatto's resort to legal action may be seen by many as wholly inappropriate, troubling, and undemocratic.

Los Angeles City Attorney Candidate, David Berger, posted this comment about Gatto's tactics on his FaceBook page:

"This is a free country and the right to free speech is sacrosanct. I may, and often do dislike opinions expressed about me on Mayor Sam, but I will defend to the death, the right of others to criticize me, even insult me. I've been called a "racist," "puppet," "thug," even a "cockney," but I've never once thought of resorting to legal action - especially about the "cockney" thing, because I have nothing to hide."

There's a "comment" section at the end of this post, just as there is on the Mayor Sam Blog, and just as there are on most news sources these days. Mr. Gatto might be better served by responding to criticism, rather than trying to stifle it.

12 comments:

Red Spot in CD 14 said...

I should note for the record that all the posts written about Mike Gatto that were the subject of the "Cease and Desist Order", were done by myself.

Simply, Mike Gatto is restricting my Freedom of Speech and is attempting to restrict my rights to write as a journalist.

Gatto's dangerous disregard for Free Speech and his "acts" to restrict my and other rights, is something all blog, newspapers and other media outlets, need to join together and fight.

Scott Johnson aka Red Spot in CD 14 at Mayor Sam.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was very strange the way that Gatto's staffer removed the reporter from Glendale Library. Isn't that supposed to be a public meeting? How can the press be excluded?

By the way, does anyone know who is paying for Gatto's lawyers? Is he using public money to silence Mayor Sam, "Red Spot in CD14" any anyone who criticizes him?

Anonymous said...

The following conversation might have actually occurred:

Peter Musurlian: "Duh, my name is Peter Musurlian. Duh, I didn't pay attention in civics class.

Duh, I hung out outside a Supermodel's shower and claimed the "First Amendment" gave me a right to film her."

Scott Johnson: "Duh, I feel your pain bro. Duh, I was paid to make up all sorts of lies about people.

Duh, I think the "First Amendment" gives me a right to lie."

Amos Jebediah Higginbotham: "Ye Gentlemen, I agree! In the year of our Lord, 1898, I yelled 'fire!' in a crowded theater because I thought it was a funny prank. Seven people died that day.

The 'First Amendment' gives me a right to yell fire."

Douchebags. You have the right to speak accurately. You do not have the right to film, or threaten, or defame. Can you really be this stupid?

Anonymous said...

It's ironic that this article includes a quote by David Berger, the insane English cockney barrow boy who goes around doing Noooch and Cooley's dirty work, considering the way he personally defamed Jack Weiss so that his buddy Trutanich could get elected.

Mr. Gatto is an elected member of the Assembly and is entitled to be treated with respect and dignity, and he has every right to protect himself from people who have nothing better to do than criticize him over minor and insignificant rumors and speculations.

I agree with 11:16AM, if you have proof that Mr. Gatto has done anything wrong, take it to the police or the FBI, otherwise you all keep your mouths shut or he will crush you financially like you have no idea.

You will lose your houses, cars, and your women will have to sell themselves on the street to pay for your food. You have been warned what will happen to you if you continue to harass Mr. Gatto.

Anonymous said...

11:16 and 1:56 are Gatto's Goons.

Anonymous said...

2:41PM - you cannot say "Gatto Goons" or he will sue you too!

Has anyone figured out who is paying for Gatto's shysters? (It's ok to call lawyers 'shysters' as it is impossible to defame a lawyer). I hope it's not tax payer money.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

Why don't you create a NEW blog and speak your mind freely?

You keep bitching about it, but the ACLU would easily defend you.

Knowing that, why won't you do it?

Are you too busy cashing those Worker Comp checks? It's odd how someone who claims to be disabled can make it to so many public meetings and write as much as you (illiterately) do.

If anyone cares to do as I have, the California Employment Development Department would love to know if anyone has anything to say about Worker Comp FRAUD.

See Scott? I'm exercising MY free speech rights! Dig!

Anonymous said...

It's funny to hear anyone call Gatto a Bully.

That's the nickname I personally created for Mayor Sam's Joe Barrett. We call him Joe B(ully).

For instance, Joe bullied The Home Depot from Sunlnd-Tuunga, yet he refuses to say what business moved in there instead. How many hundreds of jobs did Joe B. keep from his community? How about the MILLIONS in annual tax revenue for the area, not to mention the tens of millions of commerce that would have flowed throughout the S-T area.

Yes, that Joe B(ully) is some kind of fool. Think of all the illegals who could have had work there, Joe, you bleeding heart pussy!

Ah, it's so great to comment without you suppressing them. Bully.

Anonymous said...

Phil Jennerjahn

What happened to the $200,000 you SAID you raised for the Recall City Hall effort, the one you QUIT on Day 1?

That weekend, you suddenly had $10,000 and a rental car to go to Vegas, you wrote, which is odd since you don't have a pot to piss in, nor a car of your own.


After dodging this question for months, you NOW change your story and say that you had $200,000 PLEDGED, but NONE of it came in? Yeah right!

And what about your admitting on your blog that you've always been a resident of CD5, even though you filed to run in CD4. You admitted that you intend to carpet bag. Don't try it. I already alerted the City Clerk's office as well as the Ethics Commission.

That's the dumbest thing you've done since you stole James Andion's campaign URL and then WROTE ABOUT IT ON YOUR BLOG! LOL, you are a FOOL, boy. I guess it didn't "launch you into national prominence," now did it?

As far as I know, you're still unknown right here in LA!

Have a nice weekend college dropout!

Anonymous said...

does anyone know if Zuma Dogg does any "favors" for bill rosendahl for the cash he says he gets from Mr. "I'm just a gay guy" a thousand times a week?

Red Spot in CD 14 said...

Thats our "Scary Mary" on Halloween.

** BTW, the First Amendment give you the right to question whether I ever engage in Workman's Comp Fraud.

I didn't.......

Anonymous said...

STOP VICTIMIZING MIKE!!!!!!!! -?-

Of all the people in the U.S. Congress in California and the 40 folks in the State Senate and the 79 other members of the State Assembly, only Mike Gatto seems to be a victim. Do you really believe that the "treatment" of victim Gatto is "over-the-top," as his wife put it, or is there something else at work here?

With each baseball-bat-to-the-kneecaps, Mike Gatto is guaranteeing-in-cement, that he will never rise above the State Assembly.