Mayor to Byrnes: ‘You’re Not Going to Refer to Nazi Germany Again’

Councilman Byrnes apologizes for the offense but continued to draw the analogy.

San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Roy Byrnes apologized if anyone was offended by his comparisons of his fellow councilmen to Nazis, but continued to use the analogy. Photo courtesy of Roy Byrnes.
San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Roy Byrnes apologized if anyone was offended by his comparisons of his fellow councilmen to Nazis, but continued to use the analogy. Photo courtesy of Roy Byrnes.

The mayor, two councilmen and several San Juan Capistrano residents tried to talk Councilman Roy Byrnes Tuesday into backing away from comments earlier this month that the council majority was acting like Hitler, Mussolini and the Ku Klux Klan.

However, Byrnes stuck to his guns – mostly.

At the last City Council meeting on Feb. 4, Byrnes criticized the council majority for trying to interfere with petitioner gatherers collecting signatures that would put a recall of Mayor Sam Allevato on the ballot.

While Byrnes apologized Tuesday if he offended anyone, he still referred to the three councilmen who showed at Vons and stood near recall petitioners’ table on Jan. 19 as “goon squad,” “a government street gang” and “posse.”

“This was precisely the government sponsored street intimidation that was perfected in Germany in 1933,” Byrnes said.

Allevato interjected: “Mr. Byrnes, I’m going to stop you. Right now. You’re not going to refer to Nazi Germany again in these chambers. I will take a recess.”

Byrnes tried to keep going. “I will continue. Folks, I have more to read.” But his microphone cut out.

Moments before, several residents had addressed the council during the open comments portion of the agenda, demanding Byrnes apologize.

“To compare us a fellow councilmember a fellow human being to the evil you did is evil itself,” said Kathy Hooper. “Any good you might have done has been destroyed by the words and your actions.”

John Campbell, a self-described Allevato supporter, said he was “shocked and disappointed” at the negative culture created by Byrnes’s wording.

“I’m ashamed of your reference,” he said.

Steve Behmerwohld also took issue with Byrnes’s criticisms because he wasn’t present at the Jan. 19 incident in front of Vons.

“To make a statement of this magnitude at all is offensive, to say the least. To make a statement like this based on hearsay is total indefensible,” he said.

After a 10-minute break, Byrnes continued his prepared statement.

“Have a committed an error? Yes,” he said. But his sentiments that prompted the comparisons remain.

“I did not intend nor did I in fact call the council members Nazis,” Byrnes said.  On the other hand, what the council majority did that day was not only similar to the Nazi paramilitary “brownshirts” in Germany in 1932-22, “it was identical.”

“I was determined not to remain silent in the face of what I consider and what I believe was street intimidation, official street intimidation by government, because it was the council that was doing that,” Byrnes said.

“I did not think of you as Nazis what I saw in my mind, our government in SJC following in the pathway of the pre-Hitler Germany,” he said.

Tornado Johnson February 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM
You are so right Donna Fleming. That Sam Allevato is a control freak. You gave an excellent example.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM
Exactly what law do you think the mayor was breaking by cutting off the microphone, Donna?
Donna Fleming February 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM
Larry, so you have a business interest in San Juan Capistrano that benefits by keeping Sam Allevato in office... He has been residing over the city council for 11 years. These city coucil positions were never meant to be a career job. Among many other things, your financial support of Allevato, is a conflict of interest.
Tornado Johnson February 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM
What gives the right of one city council member to cut off the microphone of another city council member? If the Mayor is a ceremonial position, he only has just as much power as any other city council member. He does not have the right. To usurp council decorum and do so is a violation of one city council members right to be heard. It continues to show the dictatorship that is led by Samuel Allevato.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM
1) a right is not a law 2) the mayor (whoever it is) certainly is in charge of running the meetings, which actually gives him the right to call a recess. It comes with the gavel.
Donna Fleming February 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM
Eric,... Why would anyone choose to listen to your spiel Eric in another publication? Your choice of words,"deaf and dumb" is highly offensive and adds nothing to the topic. Much the same as your sorry excuse for journalism when you were writing for Patch. Just a point of curiosity Eric, was your education derived through the public school system in California? Where did you learn to write journalism? What are your credentials?
Tornado Johnson February 20, 2014 at 01:04 PM
With all do respect Penny Arevalo, I disagree. We have the right to freedom of the press, we have the right to bear arms, etc. Those rights are all laws given to us in in the U.S. Constitution. There is a difference in calling a recess and intentionally turning off the microphone if it is something you disagree with. The new tactic by Samuel Allevato is to turn off the microphone when he does not want you to here something he disagrees with. Something akin to banning newspapers when he doesn't agree with it, isn't it?
Frieda Wales February 20, 2014 at 01:13 PM
When are all these candidates up for re-election? Dear Lord, let there be new candidates! Seems like these folks need to be swept out of office! All of 'em. What an embarrassing gaggle of geese . No offense to any real goose.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 20, 2014 at 01:15 PM
So Tornado, cutting off a microphone is a violation of our constitutional rights? The right to amplified speech? Yeah, pretty sure that one won't hold up in a court of law.
Tornado Johnson February 20, 2014 at 01:20 PM
My comments Penny Arevalo were in response to what you wrote when you said a "right is not a law". I was giving you examples of rights that are laws that are in fact an integral part of our United States Constitution. By turning off the microphone, did Samuel Allevato commit a Ralph M. Brown Act violation by not permitting Dr. Roy Byrnes to speak as a City Council Member?
GreenInOC February 20, 2014 at 01:38 PM
@Tornado Johnson, I "think" they would be using Parliamentary Procedure and following Robert's Rules of Order. If that is the case, either the "Chair" (assuming this would be the Mayor), either followed Parliamentary Procedure or didn't. Someone who is there and an expert would be the best to comment.
Donna Fleming February 20, 2014 at 01:57 PM
All....If Sam cut of Mr. Byrnes for speaking, following paliamentary procedures as his reason, then he has to use the same discretion, on every other speaker who comments without having the floor. Showing preference to some and allowing comments, while NOT to others is discriminatory. Allevato runs the city council to his own beat, if he had liked what Byrnes was saying, he would not have pulled the plug. We have seen this time and again in the city council meetings.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 20, 2014 at 02:13 PM
No, Donna, we haven't. I have gone or watched all of the meetings for more than two years. He asks all speakers who have gone over their three minutes (from the podium) to wrap it up. Dr. Byrnes was given a chance to continue after the recess. Did the mayor halt the meeting as an attempt to de-escalate? I think that's clear.
Donna Fleming February 20, 2014 at 02:38 PM
My point was, other speakers have called out, or commented when they did not have the floor. I have watched the video on occasion. Allevato did not silence them.
bill odel February 20, 2014 at 06:07 PM
Donna, your personal attack against Eric and where he went to school, etc is very wrong. No one is listening to your angry one sided postings. The personal attacks you and the other angry posters from your group are the same crap over and over again. Your "gang" does not want to discuss or debate, you just want to stop anyone who does not agree with you. "Deaf and Dumb" does describe what is going on in SJC.
Steve Behmerwohld February 20, 2014 at 06:43 PM
Donna, Penny took down the other thread. Care to expound on how you feel about the "Mexican" kids in town? Maybe the CCS'rs have their Council Candidate in Donna Fleming?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 20, 2014 at 06:46 PM
There will be no hijacking of this thread about Mexicans. I will take that down as well. Please refer to the Terms of Use found at the bottom of every Patch page. Steve, I ask you not to off-topic race bait. Should Donna decide to run for City Council, you're free to explore those topics then. However, for the record, Donna didn't mention race in her comments. It was the original post that did, one she did not write.
Steve Behmerwohld February 20, 2014 at 06:53 PM
right, your "selective" editing is mindboggleing.
Tornado Johnson February 20, 2014 at 08:58 PM
I respectfully again disagree Penny Arevalo. Dr. Roy Byrnes is not a speaker at the podium who is limited to three minutes. He is a City Council member who is not limited to his length of speaking. By prohibiting Dr. Roy Byrnes to speak on the subject at hand, Samuel Allevato is violating the Ralph M. Brown act. As an example, the banning of the newspapers under threat of criminal prosecution by Samuel Allevato because he did not like the newspaper. Now, Samuel Allevato is turning off the microphone because he does not like what Dr. Roy Byrnes was saying? That is wrong. Samuel Allevato is already personally being sued for banning the newspapers.
Tornado Johnson February 20, 2014 at 09:01 PM
Other people have asked the same question Steven K Behmerwohld, what is a CCS'r ? I cannot find anything that explains what they stand for and what they believe. Can you please point me to that information so that I can educate myself. All I read is that it is a newspaper and not a political party.
Clint Worthington February 20, 2014 at 09:29 PM
Eric Bergstrom, thank you for your kind thoughts. While I read Patch on a frequent basis, it is not often that I do make comments.
Donna Fleming February 20, 2014 at 10:02 PM
Bill....Eric repeatedly rants about Patch. He said if we were all deaf and dumb.... I find that very disrespectful. And, you are right I should not have lashed out at him, for his lack of journalism principles. Regarding your comment about another string, I am not sure what your beef is? Are you talking about the two women who forgot a 3 year oldchild in a store? That did happen. That was not a race comment.
Donna Fleming February 20, 2014 at 10:04 PM
Steve.... if you are talking about the string about a child being left behind, the mom was a blond.
Angus Kevin Mckay February 21, 2014 at 09:53 AM
Steve behemerwhold, conspiracy on the patch shout it to the hills. You selective editor Penny, I was looking for Steve's dissection on the Mexican question. I think that's called reaching Steve, it could end up making you look like you have a bad memory.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 21, 2014 at 10:40 AM
Terms of Use for all to read down below.
Vladimir February 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM
"Steve Behmerwohld also took issue with Byrnes’s criticisms because he wasn’t present at the Jan. 19 incident in front of Vons. " Not to put too fine a point on it, but since when does being present become the only way someone can know something. Were any of you who are so offended by the reference to tactics which supported Hitler and others actually in Nazi Germany? If not, how do you come by your knowledge? The same way Roy came by his knowledge of the supermarket intimidation-he spoke to eyewitnesses and read about it from reliable sources.
melissa kaffen February 21, 2014 at 06:11 PM
Dear Penny, I commend you for the article published in PATCH I however do believe all this started with Laura Freese's support letter to Sam Allevato where she referred to Recall supporters as a "group of "NAZIS". I personally condemned that comment as Sam Allevato had clearly accepted her endorsement for the recall and her use of the unacceptable word even though he advised her to change it. In my opinion, this is what stirred him up and his "posse" of thugs who attempted desperately to intimidate those who have tried to promote the recall at Vons. He did however call Clint a LIAR in public in the past (for which he ate crow later) and Jim and John as bomb throwers!. He has constantly called all of us BULLIES but he thinks he is a paragon of virtue! We all know otherwise. Now as you can see Sam will accept the endorsement of anyone who gives him money such as Laura Freese Mimi Waters Sandra Hutchins Diane Harkey and a hundred or so more The last three are significant persons because they all pretend to be Republicans even though they have endorsed a person (SAM) who has also pretended to be a Republican even though in doing so he accepted UNION money (Sherrif's PAC and the Firefighters) . This was, if you remember, an absolute endorsement disqualification issue for the Republican Party of Orange County. I cannot help but say that this City council MUST BAN all contributions to any elected official both during a term of office or preceding a term within one year ( or otherwise be required to disclose) before taking office. This smacks of corruption and must be presented at a council meeting prior to the upcoming NOVEMBER election. Please make SAM and his posse understand that BIG MONEY cannot buy this City. If they vote against it (which they likely will) the voters must be made aware of who financially influences this city once and for all. I watched this week's council video and saw Sam make all sorts of complimentary remarks about Mrs. Vermeulan and her property rights and yet he took her $1,000 contribution. We have seen him vote on everything to do with the RMV and he took thousands from Moiso and his family to say nothing of many of the unidentified contributions from out of town. We need a COUNCILMANIC on this ASAP. comments by IAN (Posted by M Kaffen)
Vladimir February 21, 2014 at 09:07 PM
"Mayor to Byrnes: ‘You’re Not Going to Refer to Nazi Germany Again’" How exactly is the mayor's comment to his colleague not exactly the interference with free speech that is the topic of this whole affair? And cutting off Dr. Byrnes microphone while he is speaking? If this is not intimidation and censorship, it sure is a good imitation. If only the Mayor's integrity were larger than his ego, he would just correct his behavior and this issue would fade away. The fact that he cannot do that indicates a very serious problem worthy of further exploration.
Angus Kevin Mckay February 21, 2014 at 11:54 PM
Vladimir, well put.
Angus Kevin Mckay February 22, 2014 at 07:07 PM
Talk about funny I am in front of Vons watching the recall petitioners on one side and Sam on the other side. talk about awkward. man, this just made my day. You all have got some huge balls.


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