Resign Lee-Eng? Really? If ever there was a misconstruing, a miscommunication between people of different ages, countries, cultures, this disproportionate retaliation attempt by Justice Vanguard for a city council vote on Nov. 24 is it.
Recap of the situation
To recap, Kenan Moos, leader of Justice Vanguard – a BLM inspired group – unethically lobbied council members by text messaging them DURING the Nov. 24, 2020 meeting. Apparently, he and some family members and perhaps other supporters wanted to secure a 5-0 vote to remove the SRO at LAHS. Watching and listening to the ‘disappointing’ council discussion about the Police Task Force recommendations on Nov. 24, they apparently became worried Lee-Eng and Bruins were ‘vacillating’ and might vote against ending the SRO program at LAHS.
Kenan texted Lee-Eng, “Your name is going to be all over the papers”…” supporters are racist.” To Lalahpolitico this comes across as stating his intention to smear her character, reputation and standing in the community with the help of the papers. This is a credible threat because Justice Vanguard surrogates succeeded with the Resign Bruins operation this summer – garnering lots of coverage by the papers.
It was probably a big surprise to the Moos family when Lee-Eng replied ALOUD during the meeting to Kenan’s out-of-order texted public comments. Lee-Eng replied that she did not appreciate being called racist… etc. Lalahpolitico heard her to mean that she did not feel safe voicing her concerns (reservations) about proposed legislation because of this maltreatment of being called racist. Kenan’s words made her feel unsafe. Much like the colloquial use of the word “cotton-picking” makes some people feel unsafe.
Now in subsequent weeks, Kenan Moos, members of the Moos family, and acolytes of Justice Vanguard are “reframing” events as Lee-Eng saying (lying) that Kenan had threatened bodily harm to her and her family. He did not so threaten, and she did not claim that. Ever.
It is in fact a crime to threaten bodily harm, if one has the means to carry it out, but there is no crime here. Maligning a person, especially an elected official, is not a crime.
At the Dec. 15 City Council meeting Justice Vanguard launched their newest operation – “Lee-Eng Resign. The End of Eng.”
Mobile Phones during Council Meetings
The City of Los Altos needs to revise council meeting norms about cell phone use during meetings. The purpose of allowing council members to have their cell phone at hand during meetings is for family emergencies, not for talking to constituents or talking to lobbyists who are trying to influence an upcoming vote such as whether to continue the School Resource Officer program at LAHS. If an out-of-order public comment text message received is about an item on the agenda, it is on the public record. Like any regular public comment during a meeting, it is on the record.
The City of Los Altos should educate the public that making a text public comment to a council member during a meeting, even if on a private phone is IN the public record, and furthermore, it’s out-of-order. It should be considered the same as a disruption during a live in-person meeting. In a live meeting, the mayor will tell the person speaking out-of-order to cease. If that fails to stop the out-of-order speaker, a police officer may be called in to escort that person out of the room.
After receiving a text message from a constituent or lobbyist, the council member should at their discretion ask for the floor and announce that they have received an out-of-order text message from– naming the person — about an item on the agenda. Whether announced or not, council members should forward these comments to staff for inclusion in the public record about this meeting item.
Virtual disruptions are as unacceptable as in-person disruptions of a council meeting.
Bringing Justice Vanguard into the Community Organizations Ecosystem
Here are some ideas for how Los Altos Community Foundation in particular could help.
Kenan Moos has mentioned that his Justice Vanguard is considering whether to move ahead and become a nonprofit. Right now, It is just a California corporation. Perhaps Kenan can talk to the LACF about becoming a sponsored project. Greentown Los Altos , a domestic violence organization and many others have become sponsored projects of LACF. For these organizations, LACF handles all the non-profit legal/financial/tax exemption paperwork.
Los Altos Community Foundation could offer an online version of the popular annual LEAD class, one that is tailored for our local young adults. If you heard some of those local Los Altos high school students and grads speak at the TownHall and other meetings, you realized they apparently know next to zilch about local government and the local community groups.
Perhaps in return, the Justice Vanguard youth or their Los Altos high school teachers (their mentors) could offer an online course, targeted locally, about critical race theory, intersectionality, and ableism through the Los Altos Community Foundation. During the summer I asked for educational help on Next-door.com, was brushed off, and was told to just “Go read the books yourself. We aren’t going to hold your hand.” You know the books – White Fragility and How to be an Antiracist. [Google “BLM critical race theory books” for lists of lots more BLM type titles.]
It would be so convenient to have a local course to help us get through these difficult, hard to read books. And you know, many of us don’t read books that much anymore. Zoom book group anyone?
VIDEO OF Moos Accusations Dec. 15, Nov. 24Lee-Eng, Pepper, J. Houston remarks.
– 17 minutes with time stamps. Hit Youtube’s cc button for subtitles.
play directly below
TO PLAY Use the White Caret in center of image.
Parents and tax-payers, should we worry about MVLA?
Here are some musings for parents of fifth through eighth-graders who will be thinking about where to send their children to high school.
Parents might want to look at recent textbooks and reading lists at MVLA, especially for courses like English, civics, and history. Look at the teachers who are manipulating, er I mean, mentoring, our youth at Los Altos High School. Even if you are private school parent, your tax dollars are supporting the inculcation of values in kids who will grow up and will be working with your adult kids someday.
Should parents and taxpayers ask, when does an extracurricular activity led by teachers verge on becoming a secular cult? Is Eagle Scouts a secular cult?.
Former Mayor Mary Prochow once wisely said about someone’s stated intent to cause her a perfectly legal misery…
Mary said, “You mean to give me a difficulty.” And when I read Kenan’s texts, it seemed clear he meant to give Lee-Eng a great difficulty.
It is not illegal or a crime to give someone a great difficulty. But it is not nice. That was Prochow’s point.
Could the MVLA High School civics courses also include at least one Los Altos Community Foundation lesson on civility and John Gardner’s teachings —what it is like to exercise civil behavior among people who live in the same community. Can we do that?
The Frailty of Human Communication and Comprehension
Let’s try to agree the events and remarks made at the November 24, and December 15 council meetings are all a big misunderstanding.
Technology is partially to blame. Terse, asynchronous texts are not nuanced and can be misinterpreted in different ways by different people according to age, country, or culture. Texting to an English as a second language person like Lynette Lee-Eng adds even more complexity.
She was clearly flustered upon receiving the hostile sounding texts. And that affected her word-finding facility. She never used the word ‘threat’ or said anything like ‘bodily harm’ or even ‘property damage’ like graffiti stickers. The word “threaten” was used only by Mayor Jan Pepper.
The connotation of bodily harm is something that the Moos family has decided to read into what Lee-Eng said, choosing connotations they prefer, and attempting to “reframe” the event. When I read “Your name is going to be all over the papers,” I immediately thought that Lee-Eng might be concerned about the reputation of her family name. In Chinese culture, if one family member is smeared, all are smeared.
A bit more on Justice Vanguard , The SRO vote
It is unfortunate that Los Altos Justice Vanguard, a group of activist, young adults, inspired by the national Black Lives Matter movement has launched this new operation– the End of Eng. Usually they do only helpful or harmless operations like marches, or food distribution, or seminars on tech company ills such as how AI is a tool for racial profiling. See www.blackhubspot.org
In contrast, the ‘End of Eng operation’ is a publicity campaign to portray Councilmember Lynette Lee-Eng as unfit, and to ask for her resignation. This is harmful and divisive.
What set the stage for this operation occurred during the November 24 council meeting. As the multipart citizens’ Police Task Force recommendations were being discussed, Kenan Moos and his parents, apparently BELIEVED that Lee-Eng was acting the most opposed. The next vote upcoming was the vote to eliminate the high school SRO – School Resource Officer. Apparently, they really really really wanted a unanimous five to zero vote to end the SRO at the high school.
So they decided to lobby Lee-Eng [and later Bruins?] via text messages. But to lobby not with a carrot, but rather, with a stick. Kenan Moos opened with the hostile sounding, “Your name is going to be all over the papers, dot, dot, dot, your supporters are racists, dot dot dot. You told me you supported racial matters, dot dot dot. But you seem the most opposed dot dot dot.
As you may be wondering, how did Kenan get her private phone number anyway? As you may know, you can set your phone to only accept texts from numbers in your contact list, but Kenan was on her contact list. They had exchanged mobile numbers, several months ago, as have most of the other council members.
When Lynette saw Kenan’s texts she apparently saw it as an attempt to influence her next vote – end/keep the SRO program. Vote Yes to end the SRO or else her “name was going to be in the papers” about the Police Portal positions she had already taken. And about her allegedly racist running mates. Guilt by association? – Lalahpolitico
She made several comments attempting to explain/ justify her prior positions/votes on the Police Portal. See the video for the ‘he said texts /she said remarks’ of November 24.
As it turned out, the final technical vote on the SRO was five to zero. But the motion was heavily amended to ‘Aye, end the current SRO program at the high school’ but council added this zinger — ‘create a replacement police program at the high school if MVLA administration wants one.’
So Kenan’s negative lobbying via text was kinda pointless. They ALL voted unanimously to NOT necessarily end the SRO program forever, for all time.
Text messaging public comments IS cutting in line –
an insult to citizens who follow meeting norms for public comments
Apparently, the Mooses were surprised that Lynette called them out ALOUD during the meeting, replying to their lobbying texts, right there. It was the right thing to do. That’s because texts received about a subject on the agenda by council members, even if on their private phone, are part of the public record. It’s a public comment.
And the public is entitled to see it or hear it, but it is a comment made out-of-order and an insult and disruption to all the citizens who politely follow the formal norms for making public comments.
Kenan, Kenan, Kenan. Wait your turn. Kenan, don’t sneak around to the front of the line. Kenan, don’t start your own line. – a Polite Citizen
Where we are now – As ‘predicted’ by Kenan, Lee-Eng’s name is all over the papers
After the November 24 meeting, Kenan Moos – making his prediction come true – did in fact go to the papers and put Lee-Eng’s name all over them. Instead of simply complaining about her voting on “racial matters,’ Justice Vanguard also reframed what was said by whom. Kenan alleged that Lee-Eng had accused him of threatening bodily harm. That is a lie. She never used the word threat, the only kind of harm she mentioned was feeling maltreated. Perhaps she meant maltreated by name-calling and the prospect of a negative publicity campaign brokered by Vanguard pumping out negative stories. And by stories. I mean, in the sense of slanted stories. Initially, some papers were suckered into directly quoting Kenan’s unfair reframing of events as if reality.
I notice that recently our paper sometimes properly qualifies Kenan Moos quotes as “Justice Vanguard believes…” rather than “Justice Vanguard said…”
If anyone wants to try to mediate this nasty dustup, please do. – Lalahpolitico
See Lee-Eng’s comments to the PA Daily Post last month.
Caveat: There are no mind readers here. Without time stamps on the texts, one can’t quite determine if Lee-Eng read two or three texts when she spoke out about the lobbying attempt.
MORE JV related VIDEOS
Police Task Force Recommendations get tweaked hard! 3 hours trimmed to 45 minutes. WITH time stamps to jump to the part you want to see and here.
Los Altos City Council sort of Eliminates the SRO program at the High School. Meeting highlights that show in 22 minutes that the council did not actually kill off the SRO program permanently. With time stamps!
Visit the Youtube channel for even more local BLM related videos.