After an era of city manager nepotism and City Council self-dealing, Hercules residents went to the polls and cleaned house, most recently with last year's recall election.
They expected their new officials to behave like adults, work hard and restore fiscal discipline to a municipality drowning in red ink due to the reckless spending of the past administration.
They mostly got what they wanted. The new council members for the most part have made tough decisions and tried to restore professionalism to city government.
But Councilwoman Myrna de Vera's petty behavior has cast a cloud over the tireless efforts of her colleagues and dedicated staff that struggle daily to run Hercules with bare-bones resources.
It's time for her to stop the antics or step down.
For nearly a year, de Vera has obsessed about the appointment of this year's mayor. The council members each year select from among themselves a person to run their meetings and represent the city at ceremonial events.
It's usually rotated, but the recall election threw the normal sequence into confusion last year.
De Vera, who was mayor following the recall, seemed to think she could play power broker, disrespecting that her colleagues were also elected representatives of the voters.
As she amazingly wrote in a summary of events, she told council ally John Delgado "that I trusted only him to take over the mayoral seat. ... I reiterated that I would
Delgado didn't want the post; Councilman Dan Romero was selected. De Vera then launched a complaint that open-meeting laws had been violated in reaching the decision. As we now know, her formal accusation misrepresented comments of others.
City Attorney Patrick Tang's investigation showed there was no basis to the charge. De Vera responded by outrageously attacking his professionalism. When reporter Tom Lochner last month reported on the issue, she accused him of skewing the facts. This would be the same reporter who de Vera wanted to publicly commend last year for his exposés on the corruption of the past administration.
At the same time, she has accused the newly hired city manager of cronyism because he brought in a finance director he had worked with in the past. Let's be clear: City Manager Steve Duran needed to quickly hire someone he completely trusted for a critical post. He clearly had the authority to act -- and the responsibility to move with alacrity.
Meanwhile, with the city on the financial brink and under court order to liquidate property, de Vera irresponsibly clings to the notion that Hercules can continue to pursue a vision it cannot afford.
Her behavior is ridiculous and her policy decisions are irresponsible. It's time for de Vera to get a grip on the reality of Hercules.