‘Thugs’ comment deserves censure

It seems like only a few short months ago that Los Altos justifiably swelled with pride in overwhelmingly electing Neysa Fligor as its first Black mayor.

I have thus found it ironic, yet painfully unsurprising, that a member of our community could, at the Los Altos City Council’s May 11 meeting as detailed in the May 19 issue of the Town Crier, refer to Kenan Moos and his fellow activists as “thugs,” apparently without eliciting further comment or censure, either at that meeting as reported by the Town Crier or in the pages of the Town Crier since the occurrence of those events and the publication of that piece.

I write at this time to correct that oversight by strongly condemning that remark, and pointing out that no less an authority than the Merriam-Webster dictionary notes that the “use of ‘thug’ by a white person to refer to a Black person is generally understood to … be an offensive insinuation that a Black person can be assumed to be engaged in criminal behavior.”

I am now forced, perhaps also unsurprisingly, to draw certain unpleasant parallels between the occurrence of these unfortunate events in the wake of Ms. Fligor’s victory and the white supremacist fervor elicited in our national politics since the nation’s landslide election of Barack Obama as its first Black president supposedly showed that America had put its racist past to bed.

Daniel S. Gonzales

Los Altos

Cancel culture draws condemnation

The “Other Voices” column on cancel culture provides the most lucid and concise explanation of this phenomenon and the serious damage it is doing to our national and local civil discourse that I have yet to read (“Cancel culture comes to Los Altos City Council,” May 26).

Second, the Town Crier was quite prescient in giving a “thumbs-down” to the city council’s ill-starred idea of passing a “resolution” addressing the Lynette Lee Eng/Kenan Moos dustup: “The council is in a no-win position by issuing a statement on something this divisive” (Editorial, May 26). Too bad for our city that the council plunged ahead in passing this imprudent, deeply flawed resolution. The city council meeting was acrimonious, deeply divisive and the result fetid.

Mayor Neysa Fligor called for unanimity in passing the resolution in the hope of restoring civility and decorum, which was a noble objective. But the flawed concept of a resolution coupled with its manifestly biased and one-sided content made unanimity impossible.

Vice Mayor Anita Enander has shown common sense and leadership in this imbroglio, but to no avail.

She has also made at least one specific proposal for a procedural reform that might help correct some of the dysfunction of our city council: “Enander said the council should make clear that texts and other communications outside public comment during council meetings is contrary to council ‘norms’ and could lead to violations of the Brown Act, the state’s open-meeting law.”

Let’s hope that Enander’s proposal is adopted.

John Fennell

Los Altos