ONTARIO - Paul Vincent Avila's first meeting as a councilman may have provided a glimpse of what is to come during his tenure.

Avila, who ousted veteran Councilwoman Sheila Mautz in the Nov. 6 general election, went on a more than 10-minute, self-described "rant" Tuesday night. He talked about everything from his no-cost council campaign to the ego of one of his colleagues.

After being sworn in, the longtime and often outspoken Ontario-Montclair School District board member was fairly mum through most of the agenda items.

But at the end of the meeting, when each of the council members have an unspecified amount of time to talk, Avila admitted that he wanted to engage in a discussion on some of the items, but decided against it because he felt the evening belonged to Mautz. The former councilwoman was feted at the council meeting.

"Tonight, it was Sheila's night," he said. "Next meeting it's going to be a different ballgame all together."

The remarks were met with nervous laughter from some council members while others were red in the face, but Avila said the council should not view his comments as a threat.

During his comments, Avila at times did stray off the topic from his appointment.

He told those in attendance about his childhood, having to learn the Socrates method and addressed the Mexican Americans in the city, who Avila said came out from "behind the shadows" to help get him elected.


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Avila also joked about the fact that there are now three former school board members on the council - Alan Wapner and Debra Dorst-Porada - and that there may a fourth in the future.

Avila has run in several city, local and legislative government elections for more than a dozen years.

And, on Tuesday, he acknowledged his own surprise at winning a seat on the council, especially considering he didn't spend a dime on his campaign.

"I was elected without any costs to myself. Why did that happen? I don't care, I'm here. Will that happen again? I don't know. I don't believe in spending money. It would be foolish of me not to spend money at the next go around, assuming I'm still here," Avila said.

Avila said he came close to winning a seat on the council at least three times.

"I won't give up. I'm very determined and I've been criticized, `Here he goes again.' I was determined. I have a message, I have a voice ... the children need role models so I think I do it for the children," Avila said about his reluctance to stop running for council.

Now that he is on the council, Avila admitted that the first month is going be a learning process.

Avila asked City Manager Chris Hughes to create a schedule so that he can visit city departments to introduce himself to upper management.

Avila said he wanted to understand how the city structure and "hierarchy" works.

"I have no intentions of disrupting; my whole purpose behind this is being positive," he said.

Even though the council position is expected to be part-time, Avila said he expects to devote more time than that. He said he will also have an open-door policy.

Avila thanked those who voted for him, but recognized his late wife, Maryanne, who he said was the reason he was elected to the council.

Prior to Avila making his comments, Wapner and Councilman Jim Bowman congratulated him on his win.

"Welcome aboard, you joined a great team. You're a great player, and we're looking forward to your input," Bowman told Avila as he reached out and shook his hand.

"We have some big challenges before us, and, as a team, there's nothing we can't tackle."

Wapner said Avila had been a great leader for children.

"We all look forward to working with you; we know we have a bright future ahead of us," Wapner said.

Despite those remarks, Avila shared some candid commentary about his new colleagues.

Avila mentioned how he believed Wapner was egotistical, but he also said the same about himself. The comments drew a nervous laugh from Wapner.

"He's a very likable man. He comes very clean to me, he tolerates me," Avila said about Wapner.

Before concluding, Avila thanked them for tolerating his "ranting."

"But I am very lovable, but, on the other hand, people do hate me sometimes," he said as he laughed.

"There's no gray area with me."

Mayor Paul Leon closed the meeting making subtle hints to Avila.

"It's going to be a journey. It's all a process of getting to know people and how to interact with them," Leon said.

"For me, it's always important that we treat each other with dignity and respect, always."

Avila will have to step down from his seat on the Ontario-Montclair school board.