Ontario City Hall Ontario Fire Department (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)

ONTARIO - A long-time Ontario resident is petitioning for the removal of City Councilor Alfredo “Freddy” Rodriguez because of Rodriguez’s “aggressive” behavior, domestic violence history and a restraining order filed against him by a former girlfriend.

Vernon Denison, a retiree who has lived in the area for about 30 years, said in a statement to The Enterprise that after seeing stories in “the newspapers” about Rodriguez’s fights with other council members, “disgraceful public arguments online” and a judge granting and later extending Rodriguez’s former girlfriend’s restraining order, he decided to start the petition.

“This was more than enough to move me to action,” said Denison in the statement.

Rodriguez, 38, has served on the Ontario council since January 2019. He has recently been in the public eye because he and a former girlfriend filed restraining orders against each other in June, and his history of domestic abuse surfaced. Before moving to Ontario, Rodriguez lived in Idaho and was charged twice in domestic abuse cases. During a hearing for Rodriguez to contest the victim’s restraining order on July 14, a state judge ruled Rodriguez a credible threat to the former girlfriend, ordering him to stay away from her for a year. 

In the statement, Denison said he sees Rodriguez “for what he really is, an abuser.” 

“Fortunately, his bad behavior, criminal record, and blatant pattern of abuse became public knowledge by his own hand,” said Denison in the statement. “Abusers are rarely caught unless they out themselves.”

However, a petition to recall a city councilor must be filed with Tori Barnett, Ontario city recorder, in order to be official. Barnett said “the petitioner” has until 5 p.m. Thursday to submit the required forms for it to be considered a “done deal.”

A city council seat can become vacant under 10 conditions, according to the rules and procedures of the Ontario City Council, including public recall via petition. The number of signatures must equal 15% of votes for city electors to recall a public official, said Barnett, so the petition needs 493 signatures.

“Ontario needs a better vetting process before the citizens vote blindly in hopes of getting a true leader. Ontario needs to stand against a person who puts his abusive ideations before the city, the citizens, businesses, and his victim,” said Denison in the statement. “Please join me in this recall effort.”

Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that 493 signatures are required to recall a city elected official via petition and are based on 15% of the votes for the city electors, and that the correct spelling of the petitioner's last name is Denison. The story previously misstated that the number of signatures required was 1,346 based on the votes cast in the most recent governor election, and the petitioner's last name was Dennison. The Enterprise apologizes for the errors. 

News tip? Contact reporter Bailey Lewis at bailey.valenews@gmail.com

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