An announced mediation effort to settle a dispute between a young Black leader and a Los Altos City Council member met with a mixture of hope and skepticism from speakers at last week’s council meeting.
Los Altos Mayor Neysa Fligor March 9 said resident Kenan Moos and Councilmember Lynette Lee Eng have agreed to mediation to resolve differences over Moos’ texts and an alleged racist reaction from Lee Eng at the Nov. 24 council meeting. Moos’ supporters have attended every council meeting since, demanding an apology from Lee Eng.
“Both parties will agree on a mediator and who can participate in the mediation, and the city will work with both of them to facilitate the mediation,” Fligor said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank both of them for making this decision and also thank everyone who has been involved in trying to get this matter resolved.”
The mediation effort stems from Councilmember Jonathan Weinberg’s suggestion at the council’s Feb. 23 meeting.
Lee Eng had expressed concern for her and her family’s safety following a Moos text about her votes on police reform initiatives last November. Moos, upset by her votes, texted Lee Eng that her “name will be all over the papers.” Her reaction to his texts inferred that he posed a threat because he is a young Black man. Lee Eng’s supporters have countered she is being bullied into apologizing for feelings that are genuine.
Public reaction to Fligor’s announcement was mixed. Some expressed hope for a resolution, while others saw it as an attempt to distract from the demand of a Lee Eng apology. Lee Eng has not publicly commented on the matter.
Approximately 30 speakers have appeared at each of the past two council meetings to sound off on the controversy, extending each meeting well past midnight. Last week’s council meeting ended at 2:13 a.m. Although there were still demands for the council member’s apology, several commenters reflected on the history of racism in America and a still-lingering need for understanding the issue. Others vouched for Moos’ character. A number of speakers urged the city council, commission members and city staff to undergo anti-bias training.
One Lee Eng supporter noted that the council member was a champion for racial justice and that her votes on police reforms reflected her views. Another speaker questioned the credibility of those claiming racism, saying speakers were coming from a position of privilege in affluent Los Altos.