Local leaders denounce pro-Trump mob that stormed U.S. Capitol

Left photo courtesy of California state Assemblymember Marc Berman; center photo by Eric Davidove/Town Crier; right photo courtesy of California state Senator Josh Becker
California state Assemblymember Marc Berman, from left, Los Altos Police Chief Andy Galea and California state Senator Josh Becker shared their thoughts on the U.S. Capitol riot Wednesday.

Local leaders condemned the crowd of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday and forced lawmakers to evacuate, disrupting the certification of electoral votes. Five people died, including a Capitol police officer, as rioters battled with law enforcement.

The U.S. Congress was set to count the electoral college votes, which is typically a pro-forma affair. However, as President Trump has continued to falsely claim he won the election and make unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, a group of Republican senators and representatives planned to object to certifying the electors in certain states that President-elect Joe Biden won.

After they challenged the certification of Arizona’s electors, the Senate and House split off to debate the matter. Before long, they were forced to stop and evacuate as a mob broke into the Capitol building.

U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo, whose district includes Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, wrote on Twitter just after noon Wednesday that she and her staff are safe and said she was “praying for an end to this violence.” She later spoke to the Town Crier about the day's events.

Local California state Assemblymember Marc Berman tweeted that “anti-democracy thugs” are trying to “tear down our government to install their chosen dictator.”

“We are watching in real time an attempted coup of the American government, and it’s being led by the President of the United States,” Berman said. “Shame on all who have emboldened, coddled and made excuses for him and his seditious actions.”

Los Altos Mayor Neysa Fligor said that she felt "deeply saddened for our country and our democracy" as the Capitol building was breached and damaged.

"I sincerely hope that regardless of one's party affiliation or who they voted for in the last election, every American will look at those acts as a line that was crossed that should never be acceptable in America," Fligor said. 

Mountain View Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga objected to the violence and expressed hope for the safety of Congressional representatives.

“We support our nation's democratic principles including a fair election process and a peaceful transition of leadership. While we understand emotions may be running high, we are reassuring our residents that we are fully committed to what America represents as a beacon of democracy,” she said in a statement. “Peaceful protests are a facet of democracy and holding one’s government accountable. However, there is no place for violence and causing harm to others.”

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian called the violence "a sad day for our nation." On his Facebook page, he posted an image of Lady Liberty with a single tear trickling from her left eye.

In a statement emailed to the Town Crier, Los Altos Police Department Chief Andy Galea referred to the news reports of Wednesday's chaos as "very disheartening."

"The free expression of one’s beliefs is protected by the First Amendment," he said. "Free speech and freedom of assembly is generally protected by the First Amendment. What I witnessed is certainly not a representation of a peaceful protest and is very sad that some individuals' actions resulted in injuries, endangering public safety and the damage to a historic building."

Los Altos School District Board of Trustees President Vaishali Sirkay said in a written statement that she was “deeply disappointed” by the day’s events, and that while she supports peaceful protests “this mob crossed a sacred line when they breached the Capitol building.”

“The assault on our democracy and the attack on our Constitution is not what makes America great,” Sirkay said. “Election results may not turn out as you had hoped, but you have to trust the process.”

Kavita Tankha, newly elected Los Altos Hills mayor, and Fiona Walter, president of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees, expressed similar sentiments.

Tankha said the riots mark a new low for the country.

“I think from what I’m hearing, for the most part, Democrats and Republicans see this as a moment in history where we really let ourselves down; this is not who we are,” Tankha said. “I feel it’s a good time to come together and move forward, acknowledge that there are problems and that there are issues, and let’s have a debate about it.”

In a written statement, Walter said, “I'm appalled by the actions of the people storming the Capitol and disrupting a democratic practice that has been in place for 130 years. The peaceful transfer of power in the US is a hallmark of our country, one that must be respected and protected.”

Josh Becker, recently elected to represent District 13 in the California State Senate, said via text that he was proud that institutions held up against direct assault, but “more so, four years of assault on their integrity.”

“Our institutions and values won!” Becker added.

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