By the Daily Post staff
Los Altos Councilwoman Lynette Lee Eng slammed others on council as hypocrites just before they voted 3-2 early this morning to pass a resolution intended to settle a dispute between her and a racial activist.
Voting in favor were Mayor Neysa Fligor, Sally Meadows and Jonathan Weinberg. Against where Lee Eng and Anita Enander. The vote came at 1:39 a.m., following a marathon session that drew more than 80 public speakers.
The dispute centers over texts Justice Vanguard activist Kenan Moos sent to Lee Eng during a Nov. 24 meeting when council was considering whether the city should hire an independent attorney or some other third-party to collect complaints residents might file against police. It was one of several reforms Moos’ group asked council to pass. Lee Eng decided to abstain from voting, saying she wanted to know what the decision would cost the city. In a text, Moos warned her that her name “will be all over the papers.” She told the council minutes later that she feared for her safety and that of her family.
Since then, Moos’ supporters have spoken at council meetings, calling for her resignation.
Fligor, who wrote the resolution with Weinberg, said the statement was intended to put on the record the events of Nov. 24. She emphasized that they weren’t intending to criticize or shame Lee Eng — but that’s exactly the way Lee Eng took it when she delivered an emotional defense of her actions at 1:10 a.m. today.
“I just have to call out the hypocrisy. Your actions this evening further exemplify why I and many Asians have a difficult time making our case,” Lee Eng said at about 1 a.m. today. “I have been criticized for expressing a different viewpoint. I have been continuously cut off while speaking.”
Lee Eng said she suffered a stroke a few years ago that has made it difficult for her to communicate.
“The fear I experienced compounded with the difficulty of expressing myself may have led to a misunderstanding when I tried to convey the anxiety I felt after reading those texts from Kenan Moos,” Lee Eng said.
“I reject any implication that I am a racist or that my supporters are racists,” she said.
She pointed out that more than 9,000 Los Altos residents voted to re-elect her last year, and she said it was a “disgrace” to label any of them as racist. Moos has said that some of her supporters are racists.
“Intimidating, canceling and shaming are not the way to bring people together,” she said.
Then Lee Eng singled out Mayor Fligor.
“You said that when you read Mr. Moos’ texts that you saw nothing in them that would have caused you to be concerned for my family’s safety or my safety. You substituted your judgment for mine. You practically just canceled me,” Lee Eng said.
“You do not recognize that I am a different minority with a different culture. You are not Asian and you were not the target of the dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, incidents, sentiments and violence. … You had not had your campaign signs defaced with racist decals. So I just feel you are dismissing me, canceling me and telling me that I did not react the way you would have, so I’m in the wrong.
“You’re saying that I didn’t judge Kenan’s actions correctly because my judgment is different from yours. I’m shocked that somebody who claims to stand against racism apparently only stands against racism directed at your race,” Lee Eng said about Fligor, who is black. “Mayor Filigor, neither you or the other council members know what it is to walk in my shoes. I would caution you that if you move forward with this resolution, you are condemning me for my authentic reaction.”
Fligor denied that she was replacing her judgment for Lee Eng’s.
“I will stand by you if you feel you’re being threatened,” Fligor said.
As for Moos, Lee Eng showed the council a screen grab purportedly from Moos’ Justice Vanguard site that was titled “Lynette Lee eng (sic) Aka Lying Lynette.” And below that, it said “Recall the Racist.”
Defenders of Moos had claimed previously that he never called Lee Eng a racist.
The screen grab had a photo of Lee Eng with a red X over her face.
The Post was not able to immediately verify if the screen grab was actually from the Justice Vanguard site. The page couldn’t be found on the Justice Vanguard site at 2 a.m. today.
Councilwoman Anita Enander joined Lee Eng in voting against the resolution. “I would vote ‘yes’ if I had any confidence that this will solve anything,” she said.
Fligor responded, “I think it is worth trying something, but I can’t guarantee it will solve anything.”
Sally Meadows and Jonathan Weinberg, both of whom were elected last fall, joined Fligor in voting for the resolution.
Earlier in the evening, Palo Alto City Councilwoman Lydia Kou spoke in support of Lee Eng. Kou said the campaign against Lee Eng is an attempt to intimidate a public servant into admitting she did something wrong.
“At the end of the day, ask yourselves, which side of history will you be on?” Kou said to the Los Altos council.
In Palo Alto, Kou is a defender of single-family home neighborhoods in the face of development, and Lee Eng holds a similar philosophy.
Also last night, Moos said that after Lee Eng gave an interview to the London Daily Mail about the dispute, he received death threats.
Moos said one person told him they hope Moos gets “lynched.” He said another told him that “black lives splatter.”
Moos said he didn’t ask for council to pass the resolution. But, he added, “This resolution appears to be the only solution that will clear my name.”
Former Los Altos schools board president Douglas Smith told council that Lee Eng “smeared and vilified” Moos.
Smith told Lee Eng to “have a thicker skin.”
“If you don’t like the criticism, you may need to find a different way to serve the citizens of Los Altos,” Smith said.
Los Altos High School teacher Seth Donnelly said the dispute is “absolutely disgusting and this council needs to rectify the situation immediately.”
One resident, Randal Lowe, supported Lee Eng, saying he is “disgusted that this action took place.” He said the dispute makes him “fear that a public servant can be silenced this way.”
But many residents supported Moos.
“This resolution attempts to set the record straight and undo a piece of misinformation,” said Sam Blewis, associate pastor at Los Altos United Methodist Church. “It brings some semblance of justice to an unjust situation.”
Los Altos resident Tanya Maluf said “it’s clear many of those in support of council member Lee Eng have no idea what’s been going on the last six months.” And she said council should approve the resolution to “take action where council member Lee Eng has not.”