An Asian-born Democratic city councilor in California said she struggled to deal with bodybuilders who branded her racist and stalked her for months following a dispute with a local black activist .
Lynette Lee Eng, a Los Altos city councilor, was in the middle of an official Zoom meeting on November 24 when she received a text from a 22-year-old local activist named Kenan Moos complaining about the way she voted . . She said something about it, then things woke up.
She said the case illustrates how the culture of cancellation and organized shame and intimidation can interfere with the routine tasks of officials and prevent them from speaking honestly and doing meaningful work. Moos and his supporters repeatedly returned to subsequent city council meetings to re-air their grievances.
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“It’s hard to be clear about where you stand because you have to constantly rethink it,” she told Fox News on Friday. “You want to make sure it’s spelled out correctly so that no one is offended, because otherwise that’s what’s going to happen to you.”
Lee Eng, who speaks slowly and deliberately, said she was a stroke survivor and already goes to great lengths to articulate her thoughts. The drama just makes her job harder, she says.
“If you’re in the most popular point of view, of course it’s easy for you to do your job,” she said.
But sometimes constituents have concerns that may correspond to unpopular positions.
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“We have to take into account that there are concerns to be raised, to make sure that we can have a dialogue,” she said. “And maybe we can try to find some compromises.”
Additionally, anti-Asian American hate crimes are on the rise. The destructive awakened monsters vandalizing people’s homes are on the increase. And the idea that freedom of expression should be protected has sort of become controversial.
Not to mention, a fellow Los Altos councilor recently pressured her to apologize through the same activist group just a few months ago after using the phrase “you’re out of your mind picking up the cotton “when she spoke out against an outdoor mask warrant. .
And Lee Eng said it all combined made her worried about herself, her family, and her home when Moos’ text message popped up.
“We all want to make sure that people are respected not just for the color of their skin… not just for the race, but also for the cultures, the diversity of thoughts,” she said. “People need to feel safe in order to speak up, and if I don’t feel safe that should tell you that my constituents do not feel safe.”
The proposal in question would have created a third-party review of complaints against the Los Altos Police Department, which has received only one use of force complaint in the past six years, out of 15 reports in total. Lee Eng said she wanted to find out more about the cost of the program to taxpayers before she voted.
In the middle of the official meeting, the activist texted him direct on his phone.
“Your name will be all over the papers,” he warned, according to Lee Eng.
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“We know that there are racists who have supported you,” he continued. “You are trying to delay this. It has nothing to do with the budget.”
She spoke up and said she received a text from an activist and had concerns for her safety.
Then the flashback began. Moos and his supporters demanded his resignation, began showing up regularly to city council meetings to reiterate their concerns, and pressured other council members to censor Lee Eng.
Moos said in a meeting that “Lynette, your false accusations have increased the chances that I could be killed by the police,” according to San Jose-based Mercury News.
He compared himself to Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy from Chicago, lynched and mutilated by a mob in Mississippi in 1955 after a white woman falsely accused him of a minor offense.
But according to Freddie Wheeler, a town resident who has defended Lee Eng from Moos supporters, Moos is the son of a doctor and tech CEO, living in Silicon Valley and in his final year at the University of Oregon. He founded a Black Lives Matter aligned group called Justice Vanguard to advocate for social justice in his community.
“The idea that the police are going to shoot him is so ridiculous it’s actually outrageous,” Wheeler said.
Moos maintained that his texts were not threats, and even wrote as much in one of them, explicitly stating that they were “in no way a threat of any kind.”
And her repeated insistence on the point drew local media and some locals to start claiming that she had falsely accused him of directly threatening her and her family.
But viewed in a larger context, Lee Eng said it was easy to feel unsafe by going against the grain.
She points to a nationwide increase in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans as well as mob rallies at the homes of other Bay Area officials, which included vandalism, graffiti and flag fires.
She said the texts did not necessarily have to include a direct threat of physical violence from Moos to make him fear for his safety.
She also said that the concerted effort to shame and intimidate her makes her job difficult and could likely discourage “the right people from running for office in the future.”
“I support social justice issues, social justice issues,” she said. “I pushed for training on implicit bias in the city. I’m not a racist.”
At least two residents expressed support for the councilor in a recent meeting, according to the Los Altos Town Crier. They noted the increase in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans across the United States as well as mob intimidation directly targeting Lee Eng. They also noted that his campaign signs had been degraded last year with the word “racist”.
Wheeler was one of those residents.
“Are you showing her the same disrespect that you accuse others of showing you by not believing her?” she asked supporters of Moos.