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Lost Laugh Is on Ventura Councilman

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The councilman apparently had a joke to share.

But the punch lines--the mayor and city manager--aren’t laughing.

Suggesting in an underground comic book interview that the position of mayor in Ventura has been reduced to minion of the city manager, Councilman Jim Monahan’s intended side splitter landed more like a stab in the back.

“James, sir, has there been a change in the role of mayor since you were mayor?” comic book author and council gadfly Lawrence Anderson asked Monahan in Volume No. 2 of his “Main Street Renaissance” comic book.

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“The mayor’s position now,” Monahan responded, “is kind of like a schoolboy carrying the books for the city manager.”

Monahan said Tuesday his comment stemmed from a discussion about a mayoral seat that “doesn’t have the clout it used to have” when he held the position in the late 1980s.

The joke, he said, didn’t come out the way he and Anderson thought it would.

“When we talked about it, it was real funny,” Monahan said, “but when it came out in print, it wasn’t funny at all.”

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Asked for a response of his own, Mayor Jim Friedman insisted he is no lackey.

“It’s something that nobody has taken very seriously,” the ever-affable mayor said of Monahan’s words. “The city manager doesn’t even have any schoolbooks.”

Perhaps, but the city manager does have her pride.

Her integrity questioned, Donna Landeros asked City Council members to reaffirm their unanimous, positive annual review of her job performance during a closed-door meeting on Monday night.

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They did, she said.

Monahan, she added, said he was intending to be funny and apologized.

Landeros accepted.

“It’s really hard, when someone apologizes, to keep beating them up,” Landeros said Tuesday. “To his credit, he didn’t try to deny it.”

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Two hundred copies of Anderson’s comic book have been circulated in and around the city.

Landeros said she was invited by Anderson to be the next issue’s interview subject.

She declined.


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