City Council

Anti-racist Critics Reject Council BLM Task Force Idea

transcription machine with hands typing
Written by lalahpolitico

About a dozen local BLM activists made sometimes angry public comments at the June 23 Los Altos Council Meeting. They strongly rejected the idea of a BLM task force. Here is an easy to skim transcript of their voices. Listen. Hear them.

Their words convinced City Council that the “Jan&Neysa show” task force was a bad idea. Instead, the council will hold a townhall style meeting. The Police department will produce ‘transparency’ stats which are expected to show ‘racial profiling.’

How to structure a townhall event is very TBD. Council Member Bruins seemed to suggest letting local young adult leaders fashion it. But Who? Isn’t it obvious?

At the June 24, 2020 council meeting, harsh critics rejected a proposal by the Mayor and Vice Mayor to start a BLM task force as a method for studying activist demands to “just listen to us, defund the police, and eradicate systemic racism in Los Altos.”

Public commenters critical of the BLM task force approach included a local BLM activist. [He and his organization – Justice Vanguard Foundation – website – were the expertise behind the June 4 Protest March from LAH to Lincoln Park and a Juneteenth educational celebration in MV Pioneer Park.]

Instead of a 2 council member ad hoc citizen BLM task force – “the Jan & Neysa Jam” – there will be a 5 council member townhall or special council meeting “to listen” and maybe understand and learn.

“Public education is necessary in abolishing systemic oppression, [but education events can deliver that] in a lighthearted, positive, and enjoyable way.” MV Voice

But let’s all do some BLM listening right here right now. –Lalahpolitico

In order “to amplify the often silenced voices,” here is a lightly edited transcript of the public comments made about the rejected “defund the police” BLM task force idea.  There is also a transcript (edited for clarity and brevity) of council members’ remarks on the BLM task force idea.

The remarks are presented in chronological order.

Only two public comments were fully supportive.  The supermajority offered full-throated opposition.


HOW TO READ: Most people skim through the bold type.


Public Speaker 1

abstract gray person head chest shotI just want to say I’m very excited by the proposal, I think the language of the proposals really fitting in capturing the problem and the path forward. The only feedback I have or clarifications I would ask for are more like nitty-gritty stuff. So like, one question I have is, how do things get voted on or how do decisions get made by the Council? democratic vote? You know, Does everything that ends up getting agreed on have to be agreed on by the Mayor and the Vice Mayor?

I understand there will be a facilitator but I’m wondering exactly how to facilitate it. I’m sure there are task forces in the past that already have a set protocol. The second question I have is about the expertise that we’re seeking in consultants.

So I heard the city manager say that they’re potentially looking for a retired police chief [as facilitator]. I don’t know if exactly this is the right way to go, right?

So if we want an outsider’s perspective, I think it might be helpful to think about new alternative vehicles for delivering service for consultants that might not come from a law enforcement perspective.

So there are, you know, really promising programs like the Cahoots program in Eugene, Oregon, where they supplemented their police force with a mental health crisis person.  And then they reduced police. They can divert like 17% of police calls. Someone with an expertise in that sort of field might be really valuable to the reforms we might make in Mountain View. For you know, oh that’s right – in Los Altos – I haven’t changed my mindset yet. Um, you know, in Los Altos a large amount of the work that the police department does is that type of work. So you might be helpful getting that expertise, getting a consultant with that type of expertise. Thank you.

Kenan Moos, PS #2  2:31 – Justice Vanguard Foundation

abstract gray person head chest shotGuys, I am so tired of fighting, yelling, day after day, year after year, being profiled, belittled, targeted.

Guys, I am so tired of fighting, yelling, day after day, year after year, being profiled, belittled, targeted. I am tired of being scared. Because for me, when something bad happens, I can’t call the police. That puts me in danger. That puts my family in danger. And finally, with everything going on and being brought to light – for many people, this is probably the first time – I thought that we would be heard. More importantly, listened to. But the actions being taken here prove otherwise. You are not listening. You are not understanding.

I thought that we would be heard. More importantly, listened to…You are not listening. You are not understanding.

And unless you are a person of color or black person, I know that it’s impossible for you to feel the same way that I feel, to feel hurt the way that I hurt. But you can use empathy. You can listen to us, our voices, our demands, our reforms, our pain. Stop making decisions without talking to us. Stop making choices for us and acting like you are with us and instead of turning around and doing what is best for you or what you think is best.

Stop making decisions without talking to us…Stop acting like you are with us…and doing what YOU think is best.

I am no different than anyone else. For I am a person. And like many of us, COVID has hit hard. Businesses are struggling. People are scared.  We have been shown that many of the things that we hold on to daily are irrelevant. And that instead, compassion, humanity, and generosity is what drives us forward. Individuals stepping up and fighting for a better society. And yet Los Altos Council has given raises to the police department, denied local businesses the help they need, and tokenized the black community in Los Altos to further their own agenda.

Los Altos Council has given raises to the police department, denied local businesses the help they need, and tokenized the black community in Los Altos to further their own agenda.

The two things I demand of you today are– one, do not pass the CRBsic. [Citizen Review Board] This is not what we asked for. This only highlights the issues and disparities that we already know exist in our police department.

And two, we demand transparency with a full racial breakdown. Stop hiding.

Brianna Brown PS#3  4:56

abstract gray person head chest shotHi, everyone. My name is Brianna Brown. I’m a part of the SGS Human Rights Institute, and I’m also the president of the San Jose State Institute as well.

So, um, yeah, I just wanted to come on here today and kind of address how, right now, it’s really important for community leaders to listen and amplify the voices of those affected by this issue, or more specifically the silenced black voices. I can definitely understand why this topic and this reform seems like a good idea. But ultimately, this is hurting. This will hurt the community by increasing funding. Limiting our time limit on here to speak [to 2 minutes] is also kind of an example of why I am amplifying these voices as necessary.

It’s okay to not have all of the answers on this very, very complex topic. If the city council would lean into the community demands, it would be known that black-led organizations have already proposed solutions that actually benefit the black and brown community.  Just like the first person – who mentioned mental health – I hear a lot of talk about city council members and police. Did the head of police chat stuff?  But I’m not hearing much about community members in this conversation. And I think that this is where it needs to be centered at.

If the city council would lean into the community demands, it would be known that black-led organizations have already proposed solutions that actually benefit the black and brown community.

I too demand full transparency as well, about the racial breakdown of traffic stops and arrests. And I really do believe that this [task force] needs to be delayed. This is a very big decision to make with a lot of money [$50,000] on the line,  that could really hurt the black community. This decision is also promoting inequality which is something I work with at my organization. And I’m, you know,  if this vote is passed, I’m almost positive that my organization would be interested in pursuing this if needed. Thank you.

Sasha  PS4  7:03

abstract gray person head chest shotHi all, I hope everyone can hear me okay. Um, my comment is regarding how the police department currently interacts with households that are experiencing intimate partner / domestic violence. This is one of the many instances where a social worker can be instrumental in the aftermath of an incident particularly in cases involving children. Someone with an understanding of child psychology and someone who can provide trauma-informed care would be better suited to communicate with the affected household members than a standard police officer.

Moreover, in instances of violence, these instances of violence should not be viewed in isolation. For homes that have experienced violence on more than one occasion, thorough documentation of the incident, as well as a recording of the household history are needed to effectively treat and track cases and follow up with the household. Lastly, I pose a question – how we can better follow up with these households to ensure their future safety?

Lalahpolitico:  There is a non-profit addressing the local domestic violence issue.  Please one of my dear readers,  send me the name info? Not that this NP is the total solution for domestic violence in and around Los Altos!

Maya Faria PS5 8:31

abstract gray person head chest shotHi All. My name is Maya Faria. I’m a lifelong resident of Los Altos and a recent graduate of Stanford University. I’m here to demand that the city council do not pass this tonight and do not pass any type of Citizen Review Board any type of Community Control over the police until you have done the work of having discussions with black Los Altos residents, black residents in the community surrounding Los Altos, and other people of color in Los Altos.

…until you have done the work of having discussions with black Los Altos residents, black residents in the community surrounding Los Altos, and other people of color in Los Altos.

Hear what they think needs to happen in terms of changes to policing because, well, as you put it forth so far, it is completely flimsy and does not live up to the demands that I’ve heard from black Los Altos residents.

Evidence from across the country has shown the community review boards, such as the one you are proposing actually do nothing to stop police violence. [The proposal was for a city council ad hoc task force, not a community review board of our police department]. One of just many examples I could find right now is that Minneapolis before the murder of George Boyd had a citizen review board that had 17 misconduct complaints against Eric Tobyn. And I’m curious to know what research that the city council has done into cities with community review boards, because to me from doing just a little bit of internet research, it’s extremely clear that these have a history of not working.

Eight Can’t Wait – well that campaign has been torn apart by researchers. Researchers have shown that many cities that have the most violence police forces already had many of those ‘reforms’ in place and they do nothing to stop police violence in those areas.  So do not co-opt the current moment by letting this week’s proposal slide.  I am begging you to take the time to listen to the demands of black residents, black community surrounding Los Altos, and other communities of color. And I would also like to ask, but also like to wonder why this proposal has been put through without that already happening. Thank you so much.

I am begging you to take the time to listen to the demands of black residents, black community surrounding Los Altos, and other communities of color.

Euran? PS6  10:40

abstract gray person head chest shotHi, my name is Euran. I’m a resident of Los Altos. I demand that this resolution not be passed. Cities around the country have been implementing civilian review boards and task forces on policing since the 1920s. We have the opportunity to save time and resources by learning from them.

One important case is Minneapolis. As previous speaker mentioned, where police brutally murdered George Floyd. In 2012, Minneapolis established the Office of police conduct review, which worked for years to conduct data driven analysis and identify recommendations for policy change and police accountability. Since 2015, the Minneapolis police implemented trainings on implicit bias, mindfulness, de-escalation and crisis intervention. They diversify the department’s leadership. They created tighter use of force standards and they adopted body cameras. They spent $4.75 million on a three-year project to repair the relationship between cops and communities.

And yet between 2012 and 2020, over 2600 misconduct complaints about Minneapolis police officers were filed. And out of this only 12 resulted in any discipline. That’s 0.4% of those 12 disciplinary actions taken the most severe was a 40-hour suspension. One of the primary reasons why the Minneapolis Review Board failed is that it had practically no power to enforce recommendations or enact accountability.

Thus, Los Altos Citizens Task Force that has been proposed that only has the power to, ‘review and make recommendations on policing’ will frankly, be a waste of everyone’s time and resources. In conclusion, I demand that you delay this vote until a new more informed resolution is proposed. And second, I echo the demand for greater transparency on the police budget and racial breakdown of police stops and arrests in our city. Thank you.

Next, we’ll have Moira followed by Shawn followed by Emma.

Moira PS 8 12:55

abstract gray person head chest shotGood evening, city council. Thank you for your time. My name is Moira. I’m a resident of Los Altos. I hear and agree with prior comments about how I think Los Altos city council can do more in terms of amplifying black voices that have been speaking out about these issues. I think that this taskforce is an important first step. But I do think that more can be done. And I think it is important that city council truly hold them accountable on this, instead of just letting this task force be the end all solution.

Specifically, there are certain weaknesses within the task force that I have concerns about. Such as how the how the task force currently is worded to only look over policies and practices of the police department as stated in the proposal. But that means that the task force is not able to make progress on discussions beyond policy. There’s currently a national movement about reforming the police department, not just about me making modifications within the current police system.

For example, something that myself and other students have brought up are decreasing the presence of school resource officers and also reducing the police budget.

Under the current scope of this proposal, it sounds like that would not be within the jurisdiction of the task force. Ultimately, I think that this task force is a really important first step. But I hope that more power can be given to the task force in terms of not just looking at current policing policies, but in terms of overall how police act and exist within Los Altos.

If this task force ends up being passed, I hope that the city council can seriously consider how they choose people to be on this board. I hope that the nomination process for those who make the board is not going to end up being a filtering process. But it’s going to be an amplification process that amplifys those who have been speaking out about this, rather than just bringing in existing opinions such as that of another police consultant. When we are looking for and calling for serious reforms of police instead of just revising policies that have been proven to be harmful, dont just engage another police consultant. Ultimately, it is up to City Council on how to decide but if it does pass, I hope that there will be more changes in the future. Thank you.

Sean Farmer PS 9  15:25

abstract gray person head chest shotMy name is Sean Farmer. I went to Covington, Egan and graduated Los Altos high school class of 2019. As I understand it, a great deal of what this subcommittee of the task force wants to look at is the use of force policies for all causes. If the council is not aware, this section of Los Angeles Police Department handbook is only seven pages long, seven pages out of an over 700 page document.

There’s much broader change that needs to happen on sidewalks than just police’s use of force policy, which if you read through it is dangerously  vague.

We are asking our police to be superheroes. We expect our Police respond to domestic violence, adult abuse, discriminatory harassment, child abuse, missing persons and hate crimes. That’s on top of dealing with traffic management, management and petty theft, which is how most people interact while folks please. And this is all on top of the expectation that please be physically intimidating enough to respond to any situation and be experts at firing their guns. We should be hiring non-police first responders to reduce the number of responsibilities that police officers have. The first place we can do is in regards to mental illness. The way that please do people with mental illness puts them at risk. This is a quote directly from the handbook. “An officer having probable cause may take a person into custody and place the person in an approved mental health facility for a 72-hour treatment and evaluation when the officer believes that as a result of a mental disorder, the person is a danger to him or herself or others or the person is going to be disabled”.

So you’re going to tell me the Los Altos police think that putting a mentally ill person in handcuffs and taking them into custody is going to help?

So you’re going to tell me the Los Altos police think that putting a mentally ill person in handcuffs and taking them into custody is going to help? They think that mental health issues can be solved in hours. It’s disgusting. is outdated and actual mental health professionals to help people instead of sending a cop with a gun to help someone with mental illness. They say that they’re not putting mentally ill people under criminal arrest, but it’s so called a detention. They’re detaining mentally ill people or at least that’s how they would deal with it. According to the handbook.

You cannot reform the police department with a subcommittee. You need to do more and do better and rethink how public safety looks in this town. Thank you. Thank you.

Consu? PS 10 18:08

abstract gray person head chest shotI understand that we want to address BLM issues. The intentions are heard. So thank you.

But sometimes good intentions lead to worse outcomes. I’m not sure if anything useful will come from a committee of defense ‘experts’ on police departments. The logic sounds circular. How can we guarantee a diverse community if they are defense experts? I’m worried the intentions are good, but it will lead to a worse outcome. What are our other options? Have you thought about decreasing the funding on Police Police Department and funding affordable housing for example? That seems to have worked for other places. I’m wondering if that can work for Los Altos.

Jacqueline Ramirez PS 10 19:05

abstract gray person head chest shotGood evening, I’m Jacqueline Ramirez. I was LAHS Social Justice Club founder and president for this past school year. I came on here to express my concern over the subcommittee and to demand a delay on this vote because A) This was sprung upon very quickly with almost no time for the public to process B) this is basically a slap to the face to many local protesters who have been fighting to defund the police and reallocate that money to places where that money could be of actual use, such as COVID affected local businesses and affordable housing.

This is basically a slap to the face to many local protesters who have been fighting to defund the police and reallocate that money to … COVID affected local businesses and affordable housing.

Many studies have shown that police training and these community review boards have had no success. In 2003, the Louisville Police Department also put in place these boards for police accountability, as well as had de-escalation training in their departments. Yet it has been 102 days since the murder of Briana Taylor and so far, one officer has just been fired. In 2015 Minneapolis Police Department spent $4.75 million for bias training, de-escalation crisis intervention, police and community dialogue, data collection, etc. And it was the same department who’s behind the murder of George Floyd. These trainings and review boards do not work, and this will be $50,000 thrown away for absolutely nothing.

And I demand that the city council members postpone this vote until they can have a conversation with the community about what they really want. And there should be transparency between the police department and the community because they have not released statistics on the racial breakdown of their traffic stops and arrests. MVPD shows that you are five times more likely to get stopped by them if you’re a black man if you’re white, black residents are 9.2% more likely to be arrested. These concerns will fall to us because many POCs drive into the city from surrounding areas for school, friends and family. While these demands are not met, delay the vote. Thank you.

Peter PS #11 21:23

abstract gray person head chest shotHello, yeah, I’d like to just reiterate what a number of other people have said, which is that I feel that community review boards, in general don’t work to decrease police violence. We’ve seen that in police departments where they’ve implemented de-escalation training, where they’re implementing the implicit bias training or de-escalation training that none of these have had the effects that have been desired. But defunding the police does have the effects desired of reducing violence on … I’d also like to reiterate that the having  these Review Boards. I’m sorry, I wasn’t quite ready to speak right now. So I’m just going to yield my time. Thank you.

Emma Souders PS #12 23:22

abstract gray person head chest shotDeputy Jon Maginot on behalf of member of the public. “I will read one of them  – Emma, Souders. She did text in to the text in number, saying that if she couldn’t get in.

‘Please know I demand more transparency and police budget and stop/arrest records. I’ve been to Los Altos resident for 24 years. Thank you’”

Mayor Jan Pepper  26:22

Jan Pepper, City of Los Altos, city council 2012-2020

Jan Pepper, City of Los Altos, city council 2012-2020

First of all, thank you all for your continued engagement. And thank you for coming to speak and I really appreciate hearing your input and it’s very, very relevant.

One question was,  “How did things get voted on?” I think this was in regard to how the task force would be put together. I don’t think we would necessarily vote on things. “Do the mayor and vice mayor need to agree on anything before or everything before it comes to the council again?”

But basically, the way we work is that anything that gets approved by the Council has to be approved by a majority which means at least three members of the council. So, we two [the mayor and vice-mayor] are just facilitating this task force to get it going.  We are trying to move ahead on this quickly rather than taking too much time.

So, and I also want to want to note that we’re not proposing a Community Review Board.

What we are proposing is putting together a task force to hear from you and many of you who have spoken tonight I’d like to suggest that you offer to be on this task force. So that the suggestions that you have we can look into further and see if we can make those kinds of changes that you’re suggesting.

So, we have not really put together a specific agenda of what this task force will cover. We’ll cover some of the things that have been suggested tonight are looking at the police budget, looking at whether social workers could be placed some of the work that police officers are doing, looking at the role of school resource officers. So, I think all of those things are – from my standpoint – are good things to be looking at and that would be what the taskforce would decide–  What are the important issues that we need to be looking at.

Additionally asking for more data. There’s been suggestions that we get data on what the arrest records are and for affordable housing and I think all of those are really good suggestions.

So that’s really what this taskforce would be doing in my mind.  We don’t any of us claim to be experts on, on what? On policing, on law enforcement. That’s certainly not my background. It’s not the background of any of us on the council. But we do want to learn, we want to hear from the community and that’s really why we’re trying to move quickly putting this task force together so that we move forward in Los Altos. To be a more compassionate, a more generous community where people treat each other with respect, and that we’re all listening and understanding each other.

So that’s really what I want to say in response to the comments. Of those of you who come out tonight and who have been here for the last couple of meetings as well. Neysa?

Vice Mayor Neysa Fligor

Neysa Fligor, City of Los Altos, city council 2016-tbd

Neysa Fligor, City of Los Altos, city council 2018-2022

Jan, you’ve  said a lot of what I wanted to respond with. I will start by just reiterating your recommendation that all the folks who showed up tonight, please apply to serve on the task force and if you don’t get selected, as we mentioned, these will be public meetings where we want you to attend. And we want to hear your voices. We want to hear about issues. We want to hear your recommendations.

I wanted to mention that the task force is not the last stop, as some of the speakers have rightly said,  it is the first step because we’re hoping to have specific outcomes from this task force.  It’s not  a police review board that was mentioned by public speakers a couple of times. We are actually aiming to have the council make specific recommendations about how we can improve the policies and procedures.

And the last one I wanted to make was the scope.  We do not have the granular specifics, as the mayor said. When you look at the resolution to form a task force, it was crafted broadly enough to cover all the things that you’re talking about– engagement with the community, hiring, training, use of force. Everything that I’ve heard tonight falls within one of those four umbrellas.

When you look at the resolution to form a task force, it was crafted broadly enough to cover all the things that you’re talking about– engagement with the community, hiring, training, use of force.

And we intentionally wanted the resolution to be broad enough. Because if it was too narrow – and we wanted to do something that wasn’t covered in the resolution n- we would have to come back to City Council for all 5 of us to approve an amended resolution. But I did not hear anything tonight. from members of the public that wouldn’t fall within the scope of what the proposed taskforce is to hear from the community.

And so that’s it. I really want to thank everybody again for showing up here. We hear you. You may not think so but we do. And please apply. The city manager can work with us to get task force application form out quickly.  Please apply,  and as I said, if you don’t get selected, we still need to hear you at the open meeting[s] the task force will hold.

Jasmine PS #13
Read by City Deputy City Manager, Jon Maginot   32:24

abstract gray person head chest shot“I’m a former Los Altos high school student and Mountain View resident. I’d like to demand a delay of the vote on this committee since this seems like a poorly constructed, short term Band Aid solution to a deeply systemic issue.

I’d also like to demand for more transparency and information On the Los Altos police department that should be made available to the public and demand a report on stats, police budget and racial breakdown of police stops and arrests.

A Community Review Board is not what black led organizations / activists have been asking for. There are reformists who have the research and long term solutions that can prevent police violence against black folks. this community review board is not a long term solution. There has to be more research and engagement with folks who have been working on police reform and accountability. Community Review Boards don’t work. It does not decrease police violence and brutality. Implicit bias training doesn’t work. There’s not a guarantee that a community Review Board will reflect community members who are most who are affected the most, especially neighboring black and brown folks from nearby cities who pass through Los Altos.  Especially youth of Los Altos High School, who may not even be residents of Los Altos but are the ones who are being directly targeted.

Stop ignoring black folks and listen to their demands.

Stop ignoring black folks and listen to their demands. Also the speaking time reduction from three minutes to two is intentional to limit community members from calling you all out on this lazy temporary plan. We demand that you Do better.  Thank you

Rose Fernandez PS #14   34:01

abstract gray person head chest shotJon Maginot reading… I also received a text from Rose Fernandez. ” I am 10 year resident of Los Altos. I assume the purpose of the task force is to hear from the public. So I don’t understand the objections to the task force.

Curtis Cole   PS #15  34:14

abstract gray person head chest shotJohn Maginot reading…Finally, from Curtis Cole, ” I support this task force. It’s the best means to continue the conversation and amplify the voices for transparency and change. I hope the scope includes budget, service levels, performance data,  and policies. I support creating this task force tonight.

Council Member Anita Enander  34:54

Anita Enander Los Altos City Council 2018 -2022

Anita Enander 2018 -2022

Good evening. Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to contact the council and to contact me when I did the office hours this past week. Nice to see a couple of you here tonight. And for hanging in there tonight with all of us.

I think I speak for the whole Council – and certainly they can each speak differently for themselves if they choose – that we want our public safety systems, our services to serve the entire community. We are charged by law, as well as what we feel for ourselves, to deliver all services in our city without regard to race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, national origin, age, or physical or mental impairment. That’s our job. And that’s what we want to do.

And what we want to make sure that our public safety officers are so doing as well. I hear that many of you do not trust that the process, as described for tonight, will be credible.  I think it’s really important that we do something that’s credible for the community. I also want you to know that we hear from other members of a community who want more police They want more police, more traffic enforcement, more protection against burglaries and so on. So there’s a lot of complex issues to deal with.

I also want you to know that we hear from other members of the community who want more police. They want more police, more traffic enforcement, more protection against burglaries and so on.

We five as a council  – I want to speak now to our council –  have past experience with task forces  and I’m thinking about the downtown buildings committee, the parking committee, the community center task force . And what we found, I think with those is that the success depended on good scoping of the task and being clear about it, as well as clear understanding of what the task would be as a way to attract the members that we knew would do the hard work to get us to a good outcome.

And I believe that everyone in this community wants a good outcome. We’ve heard some descriptions of things people would like included, things that the mayor and the vice mayor already spoke about. Things that several members of the community mentioned in which the mayor just recapped like, school resources officers and so on. And we’ve heard concerns that we, and I guess I’ll use the medical phrase that that we do no harm. If we’re going to do this, we don’t want to make things worse. We want to make things better. So I would advocate that we’re not ready to make a decision – here tonight – except to go back and rethink the way to get this thing started the right way.


maybe the right way is to pull together the data and information that the community members have asked for. To have a town hall, a single Town Hall maybe two, to hear from the people who have issues and to have concerns

And maybe the way to get things started the right way is to pull together the data and information that the community members have asked for. To have a town hall, a single Town Hall maybe two, to hear from the people who have issues and to have concerns.  Because right now, I don’t think we know exactly – I don’t know how we could describe or summarize what the issues are that we really want to deal with. One way to find those out is get them all out on the table in a very public forum.  And then to say what is best way to form a working group to go forward and try to work on what we can agree as a community are the issues that we want to confront.

Some people will not like what we do. No matter what we do. I have lived long enough to know that.

But I think we can do better than to try and go forward with what we have here tonight.

Next was edited for clarity, redundancies, brevity, length

Council Member Jeanie Bruins  39:14

Jeannie Bruins, City of Los Altos, city council 2012-2020

Jeannie Bruins, City of Los Altos, city council 2012-2020

Well, let me begin by saying thank you to everyone who’s spoke this evening. I really do appreciate that. Let me cut to the chase, I’m not ready to support what’s before us. I will just say that up front.

Even before listening tonite. I have had my own reservations and I’m going to tell you what my first reservation was I felt like we were throwing so much into one thing, overloading one concept.

What Anita Enander proposed, I can react to a little bit more positively to that. I think we really need to figure out where we’re starting. Jumping into a task force as proposed is not the way to start. Instead, we have a group youth, a lot of our youths, our young adults who have raised some concerns to us. And I think we need to deal with those directly.

Instead, we have a group youth, a lot of our youths, our young adults who have raised some concerns to us. And I think we need to deal with those directly.

Let’s start to make sure that we’re really understanding and we’re not just hearing words, but we’re really understanding what’s being asked for, about the meanings of words…

So maybe the first one is how do we form a group [of youth leaders?] that can help us get the clarity that we need as elected officials in our community.

I think that [group] might be distinct and separate from a town hall. But I do think the town hall needs to happen. And after that we can figure out what is the next step, is it a task force? Is there something else? What is it required? Okay?

I also agree wholeheartedly that first we  have to start with the police stops/arrests data. Okay, let’s have some data. I think that will also allow us to move at a speed that we need to that is appropriate to what the data is is telling us.

To sum up, I think we need to play the COVID-19 card. Because of it, we have an opportunity to capitalize on the youth that happen to be in town that would normally probably not be here. They’d be in their college town or be someplace working. They’d be interning, traveling.

We can say things at one another and sometimes we need to start figuring out how to listen to one another. And echoing back so we understand that the sender and receiver are on the same page.

I think dialogue first through genuine listening …and hearing each other …and then we can look at data and then we can look at how do we get to action and I would like to see that our plan. Ultimately, we get to action sooner rather than later. I’m not going to stop Moving forward.

Next was edited for clarity, redundancies, brevity, length

Lynette Lee Eng  43:29

Lynette Lee-Eng, City of Los Altos, city council 2016-tbd

Lynette Lee-Eng, City of Los Altos, city council 2016-tbd

So today Our county supervisors took an action step that acknowledges racism as a public health crisis. Black lives matter, Brown lives matter, every life matters.

…So you know what’s going on in the community. In light of Covid, we have people who are attacking Asians because of Covid phobia.

I don’t want us to just rush this and we need to do so in a thoughtful manner. Maybe a special town hall meeting or a special council meeting.

All five of us should have that information and not just two council members. I mean, we would like to hear what our community has to say. So that’s why I think doing the town hall or special council meeting is first.

I’m disappointed the agenda was not expanded to address the diversity training.  Training IS effective when it is delivered over an extended time

I’m disappointed the agenda was not expanded to address the diversity training. Training is effective when it is delivered over an extended time. So let me tell you that police officers receive only 16 hours of diversity training in the academy.

State law only requires them to get two hours of training every five years. So that’s why you don’t have good consistent training. So if we are going to spend money on training it should be not only for the police department but also for all city staff. Racial justice and equity should be across the board. For anyone in the public, anyone who lives in our community and we want to make sure we’re fair to everyone.

So we have to make sure we understand what integrated other initiatives may be needed. We will not until we hear about what everyone has to say. We need to make sure we design training that increases awareness. …When I looked into the other programs — Berkeley, Richmond and San Francisco — they had clear information…

We’ve heard we don’t need to pay someone $50,000 to a facilitator. I would like to make sure the whole 5-member council gets to hear what the community has to say.

Vice-Mayor Neysa Fligor

Neysa Fligor, City of Los Altos, city council 2016-tbd

Neysa Fligor, City of Los Altos, city council 2010-2022

It’s clear we don’t have the majority support to move forward to the resolution. And I respect that I think a lot of what we’re hearing would have been taken care of as part of this process. But I hear you colleagues and I actually think I’m, I’m totally fine, because it sounds like this is what majority want, you know, putting the Subcommittee on hold and let’s tackle this with the full Council and have the town hall. I am fine if that’s full council wants.

This is something you actually want unanimous support on. So I am fine putting this on the shelf. I can support getting the data requested. Have the town hall. It sounds like that’s what the majority of the council members want to do. And I think we should, you know, do it and move forward.

Bottom line is something needs to happen. I am proud of the fact that the mayor and I took the initiative to get something started and put something on the table. Happy to see everybody so engaged and full of ideas. So let’s all vote on things and get things done together.

Mayor Jan Pepper  49:16

Jan Pepper, City of Los Altos, city council 2012-2020

Jan Pepper, City of Los Altos, city council 2012-2020

Thank you, Neysa. And thank you, everyone else. For your comments.

This is definitely not the Neysa-Jan jam at all.

We just really wanted to get something going fast and that is still my concern. I don’t want us to lose momentum and so we thought we could try to get something going fast. But clearly there isn’t support for the [ 2-council member ad hoc citizen task force ] approach that we suggested.

And we’ll go ahead with a town hall. And we want the police data.

So, at the end of the meeting tonight I will be asking for the data that we have heard everyone request. And I think that makes a lot of sense. So, so thank you for everyone’s input.

Los Altos Politico Bottom Line:
-Give Black-led Organizations the Talking Stick
-Listen only
-About those Transparency Stats

What I heard is that blacks and their supporters want black-led organizations to present some BLM education at some kind of a city-sponsored and advertised townhall/event.  They expect City Council and staff and members of the public to listen and learn. This step would NOT be a dialogue or conversation.

I share Council Member Bruins concern about hearing words, but not understanding what is really being asked for. So what the #BLM organization(s) presents may not be understood by many. But that’s on the BLM organizations if their educational materials are not effective.

I agree with Ms. Bruins, now is a great time to shine the light on our local young adult leaders.  But isn’t it obvious who the City should ask to put this townhall together?  Who leads a local black-led organization?  Who led a protest through downtown Los Altos?  Who knows many other young adults and young-adult organizations in the area? Who had a BLM education event in MV on Juneteenth? 19 or 20? get link.


The police should release to the public the entire raw dataset of traffic stops with all the fields – except of course individually identifiable info like name, street address, license plate numbers.

But they can include, make, model, year of the vehicle,  date/time of stop, the general location of the top, driver’s city of residence. I’d really like ALL the fields. I can run summaries myself, thank you.


The city of Sunnyvale had a Unity Zoom event this past week.  Each phone-in speaker got 3 minutes and they did not seem to be in any particular order.

At about the 3-minute mark of the video, you can hear the mayor of Sunnyvale say they are doing several more of these “listening” zooms.   Link Youtube   

Personally, Lalah would favor a  townhall with real educational presentations as chosen by one or more of our local young adult BLM activist group leaders.

Frankly, at the Sunnyvale event there were too many non-black speakers. That crowds out authentic black voices.  See the New Yorker Magazine for how progressive whites clogged a meeting in a black NYC district! If you are not black,  just ” like”  or “heart” the comments stream on facebook or youtube to show your virtue. See the book White Fragility. Let the black-led BLM organization decide how to manage the ordering of social media comments.

Finally, here is a thoughtful New Yorker article about what people really mean when they say “defund the police” in big cities. My takeaway – Instead of cops, you hire some folks in the neighborhood to intervene in their own neighborhood. China has/had something like this–a grandma walking around.


About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.