Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mike "The Gatto" Gatto Under Fire For Threatening Mayor Sam Blog

Assemblyman Mike "The Gatto" Gatto (D-Silverlake) is satirically parodied to an infamous movie character
renowned for using threats to achieve his desired objectives and thereby silence his critics.

If Mike "The Gato" Gatto, newly elected to the 43rd Assembly District, thought that sending a threatening 'cease and desist' letter to Michael Higby, the operator of Los Angeles' beloved Mayor Sam's Sister City blog, would silence his critics, he is mistaken.

If anything, "The Gatto's" actions have intensified the scrutiny into the reasons why Mayor Sam saw fit to place "The Gatto" under the spotlight of scrutiny that the mainstream media has no time for, often because the voting public cares more about American Idol and Dancing With The Stars.

Founded by Higby in 2005 as an anonymous talking shop where the antics of Los Angeles' elected officials are subjected to scrutiny and often harsh criticism, Mayor Sam is not only an institution but an inspiration to other blogs; just take a look at the 'Links' section to the right side of this post for a list of political commentary blogs that didn't exist before Higby created Mayor Sam. It's a list that is by no means exhaustive, and if any readers wish to add their blogs, please comment with your URL.

If there were some way to track the thousands of daily 'hits' on Mayor Sam, there is little doubt that it would show that virtually every elected official in Los Angeles has one of their staffers check Mayor Sam on a daily basis to see if they've been mentioned, or to find out if their colleagues have been mentioned.

Mayor Sam is the quintessential embodiment of the First Amendment, and in trying to silence Mayor Sam with the threat of costly litigation "The Gatto" has not only shown an immaturity raising doubts as to his suitability for public office, but also perhaps revealing a degree of vanity and sense of self-importance that is belied by his apparent intolerance for criticism.

The old adage "Shot himself in the foot" comes to mind as reports are now surfacing as to whether "The Gatto" actually lives within the Assembly District that he serves. On Thursday, October 28, 2010, The Jennerjahn Report displayed a letter purportedly addressed to the District Attorney's Office calling for an investigation into "The Gatto's" actual place of residence.  This is the same type of allegation that gave rise charges filed against former Assemblyman Richard Alarcon, who is currently a Los Angeles City Councilmember. We remind you that all persons accused of committing crimes are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, either by a jury of their peers or as a result of a plea bargain.

Furthermore, today's Jennerjahn Report questioned a $14,775.50 payment "The Gatto" received in 2002 from Los Angeles City Councilmember Nick Pacheco while "The Gatto" was also serving as a full-time aide to Congressman Brad Sherman.

Equally, the Los Angeles Daily News gave details of "The Gatto's" threatened lawsuit against Mayor Sam, and in the process inevitably regurgitated the accusations of misconduct complained of as "defamatory" by "The Gatto" through his lawyer Steven Joaquin Reyes, of the Kaufman Legal Group.

Reports of "The Gatto's" threat of legal action also attracted comment from AM870 KRLA Talk-Show Host Kevin James, who devoted a considerable portion of his nightly radio show to a critical analysis of the basis of "The Gatto's" threatened lawsuit, as well as a potential defense based on California's anti "SLAPP" laws - laws that impose heavy penalties on those who engage in Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

Although it is fair to say that "The Gatto" has succeeded in silencing Mayor Sam, as Higby has removed all references to "The Gatto" while he considers his legal options, the public might well view the actions of "The Gatto" as bullying, thuggish and wholly inappropriate for an elected official who had hitherto challenged voters to "hold his feet to the fire."

The message to "The Gatto" is a simple one, if you cannot tolerate criticism and valid expressions of free speech, you have no place in public service.


Red Spot in CD 14 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red Spot in CD 14 said...

Thanks for the laughs.

First, I need to commend Phil Jennerjahn for the courage to post this information.

The information regarding Gatto's "real home" and his past "employment endeavors" on the behalf of Nick Pacheco, warrant further investigation by the appropiate officials.

I should add that Former SEIU 660 President Alejandro Stephens was recently convicted for this type of "paid for no work scheme".

Again, I will state for the record that the information that Phil has posted on my behalf, is why the Gatto Campaign send his legal goons to restrict our First Amendments rights to disclose this information.

Thanks again to Phil Jennerjahn, Ron Kaye, LA Weekly and to the Los Angeles Dragnet for your efforts in exposing the real Mike Gatto.

Scott Johnson at Mayor Sam

Anonymous said...

I think the real reason why "The Gatto" (love the Godfather thing!) took action is that he looks like having one of the shortest careers in Sacramento.

Polls in his Assembly District show that those who supported his rival, still do, and will vote, whereas many of the voters who cast their ballots for "The Gatto" only did do because of partisanship, and are less likely to vote now becaue there is so much anti-Obama sentiment sweeping across the country,

"The Gatto's" looking at a likely defeat on November 2, hence the strongarm tactics against Mayor Sam.

Joe Friday said...

If you want to see how desperate and frankly despondent "The Gatto" camp are, just take a look at the vile and thuggish comments posted at the Griffith Park Wayist, penned by "Mulholland Terrace."

The democrats are going to take a beating on Tuesday, and they will do anything to try to minimize the damage.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Friday might be interested in this. From the Glendale News Press Mailbag Section.

First-hand look at ugly political tactics

Normally, as the wife of an elected official, I would not take the extraordinary step of writing a letter to the editor to respond to a news story. And normally, my family would not take the extraordinary step of bringing action against a blogger for libel ("Website removes claims about Gatto," Oct. 28).

However, the tactics of my husband's opponents during this campaign have been so over-the-top that I believe we must take the steps that are necessary to protect our family and its integrity.

During the course of this campaign, we have seen our family car smashed up with a baseball bat and paint poured all over it. We have endured a cameraman following us around with an obsession that was shocking even to veterans used to rough-and-tumble politics.

My husband's female staff had to seek a restraining order against someone who threatened them, just so they could go to work and do their jobs. And we have seen extremist blogs feed the fire by posting nasty, untrue stories with alarming regularity. Each day, the stories' tenor and pitch would get more extreme, and more grounded in fantasy.

We as a society often lament that civil discourse has left politics. We are saddened by the fact that few politicians discuss issues, and instead go for deceptive personal attacks. We mourn the fact that good and decent people do not want to run for office.

After enduring almost a year of vandalism, harassment, threats and stories designed to be as outrageous as possible, I understand these concerns more than ever. I would hope that civilized people speak out and tell the perpetrators of these tactics that they are wrong.

The idea that these over-the-top tactics could become part of the political norm is deeply troubling to me, and I suspect, most families across the country.

Danielle Gatto

Silver Lake ** Is Cayon dr. located in Silver Lake?

Anonymous said...

Should say "Canyon Drive".

Anonymous said...

If the letter in the Glendale Press News is genuinely from Mrs. Gatto, and if the behavior complained of is also true, then I don't think anyone, of any political persuasion would not be horrified and disgusted that some people have resorted to criminal conduct to intimidate the Gatto family.

I'm sure we all condemn it utterly, and trust that whoever is responsible will be arrested and brought to justice.

As horrific and cowardly as these incidents are, however, there is no suggestion, that Michael Higby, Scott Johnson, or the Mayor Sam Blog are the perpetrators of this vile political terrorism.

Lashing out at Mayor Sam et al, is not the way to deal with this problem, reaching out to the community in the manner that Mrs. Gatto has done, seems to be a far more effective strategy.

Instead of making an enemy of the Blogesphere with cease and desist letters, why not engage them and explain the problem?

BTW, the issue of Gatto's residence could well be settled by the baseball bat attack on the Gatto's family car.

Anonymous said...

Great point regarding the baseball bat incident. Lets see the actual police reports.

Anonymous said...

lets find the libel against Mayor Sam in that letter by Assemblyman Mike Gatto's wife.

Anonymous said...

From the alcohol-clouded musings of MT. I bet you his next six-pack of Modelos that he would posted on any vandalism of a Gatto owned vehicle.

mulholland terrace said...
We saw that, anonytroll. When I walk around the reservoir, I see Gatto's SUV parked at his house quite often. So does everyone else on the street. So good luck with that. Didn't Jane run for this very seat a few years ago? What's her problem, anyway? Can't let go?

October 30, 2010 8:20 AM

But then its all about the location.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Anon 1:19PM could provide a link to the letter purportedly published at the Glendale News Press "Mailbag" section. I've had a look there, and cannot find it.