|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.