You need to meet with your attorney face-to-face and ask these questions. These are not questions that we can answer based upon the information given.
If you are not satisfied with your appointed attorney, you should consider consulting with (and possibly retaining) a private attorney to represent you in your case.
Any statements I make in these forums (fora?) should not be taken as direct legal advice, merely informed guidance. This is true due to the anonymous nature of this venue, and the incomplete information which is invariably provided by the questions. It is imperative that you consult directly with an attorney regarding your specific situation before acting on or relying on anything represented here. Period.
You are being represented by the public defender and it appears the PD did not want to deal with you and took care of your case without you being present. If you want an attorney that provides customer service hire one.
Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at www.theocduiguy.com.
It sounds like you were presented with two options: going to trial when not ready or waiving time. It sounds like what you've described is that the attorney waived time on you behalf. If the "pre-trial" hearing occurred with you out of the courtroom, I'm assuming your matter is a misdemeanor and your attorney believed he/she had 977(a) authority to speak and act on your behalf (although it sounds to me based on your question that you did not so give your attorney that authority). If your matter is a felony, nothing should be happening on the record in court without your presence. If the matter is a misdemeanor, and your attorney waived your right to a speedy trial without your consent, you need to raise that issue next time you are in court. Without more information, it is difficult to add much more.