Lemon Grove seeks restraining order against Councilor Arambula
Lemon Grove officials have asked a Superior Court judge to issue a workplace restraining order against City Councilor David Arambula on behalf of City Councilor Yadira Altamirano, who accused Arambula of harassment.
The ordinance, filed on November 10, calls for the protection of Altamirano and her husband, an adult child and two minor children.
In a hearing last week, however, a judge denied the request for a temporary restraining order, preferring a December 30 hearing.
In court documents, Altamirano said that late on the evening of October 30, Arambula was sending her texts that seemed accusatory and possibly about her campaign for her re-election, but that she was unable to obtain clarification from her. go. She said he then “sent me a series of harassing and threatening text messages.” Altamirano also alleges that Arambula called her to “insult me by swearing” during the phone conversations the two had as a result of the text messages.
Arambula called the request for the temporary restraining order “unmistakably unfounded” and “a frivolous attempt to further tarnish my reputation.”
Among other demands, documents ask the court to order Arambula not to harass, intimidate, threaten or assault Altamirano or anyone named in the order; do not follow or stalk them; and not to contact them in any way “if the matter does not concern the business or official business of the City of Lemon Grove City Council.”
He is asking for a removal order of at least 100 meters from Altamirano and his family, his home and his vehicle.
Documents signed by city manager Lydia Romero and lawyer Stephanie Lowe indicate that Altamirano “fears that any action directed against her will have an impact on members of her family”.
The city manager’s office on Tuesday released a statement that the decision to seek the court order “was not taken lightly.”
The city statement says that while the court examines the matter, Lemon Grove is pursuing its own independent investigation and has made no further comment.
Arambula was elected to city council in 2016. He is running for re-election this year. In the current vote count, he is the last of four candidates vying for two open seats on the board. The vote is expected to be certified on December 3.
The city council appointed Altamirano in December 2019 to complete the tenure of Matt Mendoza, who resigned with one year remaining. She did not run for a seat in this year’s election.
Altamirano declined to comment on Monday, but in court documents she wrote: “As of October 30, 2020, I have been worried, scared, anxious and have been through a lot of stress which (Arambula) will hurt me or my family. It’s extremely hostile and causes me a lot of stress. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep well last week, fearing that he would follow through on his threats. “
Arambula called the request “a political strategy worked out at the height of a competitive campaign by members and supporters of another candidate for city council in order to gain an undue advantage in the eyes of voters.”
He noted that the hearing scheduled for December 30 “will be moot as neither party will be employed by the Town of Lemon Grove at that time and this particular request to the Court is specific to people working together” .
Two new city council members are expected to be sworn in at the second city council meeting in December.
The court documents include more than a dozen pages of text messages in between, some of which are written in Spanish. Altamirano said Arambula called her “mute, stupid and retarded (” mensa “,” sonsa “and” tonta “) in Spanish. “
Asked about the text messages, Arambula said: “You are asking me to further perpetuate a frivolous petition by asking me to publicly plead a baseless complaint that a court has already found to lack the facts necessary to make a preliminary order. No new fact exists and the petition will be rejected in my favor and against the petitioner.
Among the texts cited by Altamirano in court documents as causing his concern “and making me fear for my safety”:
- “You are one of my rare mistakes. I misjudged you. I really thought more of you.
- “You have no idea what is about to be exposed.”
- “And rest assured, we won’t give you a pass.”
In court documents, Altamirano said that while texting, Arambula referred to a shooting at a friend’s house and his girlfriend “was hit on the head with a piece of wood.”
“I don’t know what this has to do with me and I expressed it in a text message to (Arambula),” Altamirano said. “He first replied that it had nothing to do with me, but later he wrote: ‘You are’ them ‘Yadi. YOU, and only YOU, have done this. I don’t know what (Arambula) was referring to.
Altamirano in court documents said Arambula later called her five times, the first time “to insult me by swearing”, and the call was dropped after 38 seconds. She said her statements didn’t make sense.
Altamirano said the next time they spoke, for 13 minutes, it still didn’t make sense. She said he implied that she owed him something “because he supported my nomination to city council and whatever I did (I still don’t know what he thinks I have. done), I had done it wrong “.
“He said, ‘I’m not going to let you get away with this. I will come after you. I understood that to mean he was going to follow through to do something to me … in a violent way.
Court documents say that after Arambula was informed on Nov. 9 that the city would go to court to seek a temporary restraining order at the workplace, he offered a proposed settlement. No settlement was found, according to the documents.