Has Vice Mayor Joel Fajardo taken a page out of Councilman Jaime Soto’s book? It seems that he has removed his commissioner, Gilbert Berriozabal, from the Transportation and Safety Commission. 

Ironically, when Soto removed commissioners, he was strongly criticized and Fajardo responded by finding a spot for one of Soto’s discards on another City commission. 

Following his dismissal, Berriozabal wasted no time sending a clear response. He celebrated his birthday last week with an announcement that he will be running for a seat on San Fernando’s City Council. He said he “decided to move forward now that he is no longer on  a commission.”

Fajardo and current Mayor Robert Gonzales are the next two council members up for re-election next March. And so it seems turnabout is fair play, as Berriozabal will now be running against Fajardo. 

This will be the fourth City Council run for Berriozabal, who said that many others who’ve run for office and lost have since disappeared while he has continued to be involved.

Fajardo has some explaining to do. It hasn’t sat well that, after telling residents that his priority was to serve on the local City Council and not run for higher office, he did an about face and ran in the recent primary race for the 39th California Assembly District currently held by Patty Lopez.

He came in third place.

This political move could make it tough for him to win back the confidence of his previous supporters. Fajardo, who boasted the handle of being the City’s first openly gay Mayor, has had a difficult time working with other gay community leaders in the Northeast Valley; so much so that a contingent actually walked out of an LGBT event supported by Fajardo after he refused to give them an opportunity to participate as panelists.There has been an air of competition rather than cooperation.    

There was more criticism of Fajardo when he didn’t take the lead in organizing a response to the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Instead it was Ronnie Veliz of Somos Familia Valle de San Fernando, who reportedly organized a small vigil in front of San Fernando’s City Hall.  Veliz, until last week, worked for Assemblywoman Patty Lopez.

Are you following this yellow brick road?

Fajardo, according to those in attendance, didn’t attend the vigil and after dismissing Berriozabal from his commission seat was traveling to Ecuador. 

Fajardo hasn’t responded to our requests for comment. 

In the meantime, a video has been produced showing the little town of San Fernando. You can find it on the City’s website — it’s doubtful that anyone unfamiliar with the City will get much information from watching this, but perhaps that’s not the intent.

It’s full of pretty staged images of smiling, friendly people who even wave at you when you take a stroll on the City’s mall. Even at City Hall there is an image of a joyous city manager. Over a bed of generic music, the video includes shots of food, the swimming pool, the Cesar Chavez memorial, City Hall, Library Plaza  and even your friendly local police department — but with no narration.

There are those in this small town who are happy to give you an earful and some background on the video images, and many are capable of letting you know what they think in two languages.

Perhaps you can have a little fun and create your own voiceover, but it begs the question: is it the intention of this video to encourage investors to this panacea?

Where is this town of pure bliss?

Or is the message being given that San Fernando residents are better seen but not heard?

And so the city turns…

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