It was a virtual fight during a live city council meeting in the South Bay.
Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran was seen yelling at a council member and then a council member accusing the mayor of intimidation and harassment. Tran said he was just defending a citizen.
Council members tell Damian Trujillo of the NBC Bay Area it has been going on for years and finally hit a tipping point at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
While Milpitas City Council questioned a candidate about a car wash project this week, council member Anthony Phan raised some concerns.
It was then that Tran decided to raise his voice.
“You have to focus,” Tran said in the virtual meeting. “Everyone is watching now. Ask a real question. Can we take a break? It’s a lot. ”
It was then that councilor Karina Dominguez, who had already quarreled with the mayor, tried to come to the defense of her colleague to ask for a break.
It was a request that Tran quickly turned down a few minutes later, Dominguez spoke again
Dominguez told NBC Bay Area she left the meeting after the incident. She called ill at work the next day while still shaking from the incident.
When asked if she thinks Tran is a bully.
“From my perspective, yes. Absolutely, ”she said.
Tran sees it very differently when asked if he’s a tyrant.
“Listen, we have the Robert Rules of Order parliamentary procedure,” he said.
Tran told NBC Bay Area it all started because he came to the defense of an elderly person, who he said was belittled by some board members.
“That people ignore what happened to one of our guests, an elderly person, Mr. Hansen, is simply not true,” he added.
But Dominguez said bullying was the mayor’s model. She says she even filed a complaint with the city manager and the city attorney. But he was told that there was nothing they could do because the mayor is not a city employee as he was elected.
Tran has two more years in his tenure and said after that he’s done with politics.