Ms. Laurel Prevetti
Town of Los Gatos
110 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
October 21, 2021
The students, families, organizers, and Board of Directors of Leadership, Education, Activism and Dialogue (L.E.A.D) Filipino, a local nonprofit organization write to express our disappointment in the Town of Los Gatos’ chilling silence around the recent harassment and cyberbullying toward Mayor Marico Sayoc and her family. We submit this public inquiry request to understand what policies and protocols Los Gatos has instituted to ensure the safety and well-being of your elected officials. Please find our official letter attached to this message.
The recorded broadcasts from recent Town Council meetings, specifically the sessions from September 7, 2021 and October 5, 2021 reveal deeply troubling interactions. What we witnessed was Los Gatos’ reticence and tolerance of blatant disrespect and disregard for social decorum and basic human decency. As Mayor Sayoc was screamed at, as residents spoke out of turn – shouting from across the chamber, and the name-calling ensued, the silence from the Town staff and administration was haunting. At L.E.A.D Filipino, we work to increase our community’s civic participation at every level, with organizers that work as legislative staffers, on campaigns, and in policy advocacy, therefore we are no strangers to the public process.
We know that when a community member exceeds their allowable public comment time, that their microphone is cut. We know that when disturbances are heightened, residents are escorted out of governmental chambers. We have witnessed members of the public speak out of turn, only to be quickly redirected by the administrative staff in attendance. We know that there are basic protocols in place to ensure that a minimum level of decency is observed – these guidelines are customary in local, county, and state governance.
Which is why the complete silence – while Mayor Sayoc endured repeated missives, intimidation, and jeers – leaves us without words and many demands. These actions and disturbing displays, probe further inquiry and we want answers. We find your silence alarming, upsetting, and severely disappointing. During a time of increased attacks and violence toward Asian Americans, with Los Gatos having its own anti-Asian hate incident toward a Filipina in February, we are concerned for Mayor Sayoc and her family’s safety. Hatred, harassment, and cyberbullying has no place here, and as stewards of your municipality, we need your leadership right now.
We stand with Mayor Sayoc and furthermore, stand for the safety and emotional well-being of her and her family. We write to you on behalf of our local organization, but united with several thousand Filipina/x/o American families, leaders, small business owners, and nonprofit organizations from across California and the country. Remaining accountable means calling out blatant hatred when it rears its ugly head, may we focus on the public policy issues at hand and thwart the usage of emotional violence the way we have seen recently. Confronting and combating hatred is greater than any one of us – it needs all of us.
In addition to submitting this letter to you, we will also send copies of our letter to the California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Americans, Asian Americans Advancing and National Federation of Filipino American Associations.
We would like a written response to the following questions:
- What is the Town of Los Gatos’ policy on harassment of elected officials?
- Does this policy extend to family members of elected officials?
- Do you acknowledge that elected officials in Los Gatos have been subjected to bullying and harassment at public meetings during the pandemic?
- If so, what actions have you and your staff taken to prevent the bullying and harassment of elected officials?
L.E.A.D Filipino is a nonprofit organization that works to increase the civic participation, grassroots leadership, and direct action of Filipina/x/o Americans and broader community members. Since 2015, we have served hundreds of students and families regionally and statewide.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Angelica Cortez
Founder & Executive Director