It’s time for Council Member Lynette Lee Eng to resign

After+facing+countless+calls+for+her+resignation%2C+Council+Member+Lynette+Lee+Eng+has+refused+to+so+much+as+apologize+for+her+racist+comments+toward+activist+Kenan+Moos%2C+Los+Altos+High+School+%E2%80%9816.+

Emily McNally

After facing countless calls for her resignation, Council Member Lynette Lee Eng has refused to so much as apologize for her racist comments toward activist Kenan Moos, Los Altos High School ‘16.

In every Los Altos City Council meeting since November of last year, Council Member Lynette Lee Eng has faced vehement cries for her resignation, following allegations of racism toward activist Kenan Moos, Los Altos High School ’16. 

After four months of willfully ignoring these cries, Lee Eng, who has not responded to multiple requests for comment, finally agreed to engage in mediated discussion with Moos. But it’s too little, too late: No apology Lee Eng gives now will be sincere. It’s time for Lee Eng to answer to the calls of the Los Altos community that put her in office — she must resign.

The conflict stems from the November 24 City Council meeting, when Lee Eng voted against a measure that would increase oversight of the police by adding a third-party investigator to review racial complaints against the police department. In doing so, she retracted her promise to Moos to “support racial matters.”

These were the text messages Kenan Moos, Los Altos High School ’16, sent to Council Member Lynette Lee Eng after she promised to “support racial matters,” but voted against a measure that would increase oversight of the police by adding a third-party investigator to review racial complaints against the police department.

“She had promised and continued to tell me that she supported these issues on continual phone calls,” Moos said.

Minutes after she broke her promise and voted against the measure, Lee Eng received texts from Moos criticizing her decision and expressing his disappointment.

After receiving and reading Moos’s texts, Lee Eng defended her vote in case “anything were to occur to me or my family.” Her statement implies that because of her decision to vote against the measure, her family’s safety was threatened by Moos. 

Lee Eng’s comment reflects America’s implicit biases and internalized fear of Black men. Despite the fact that Moos explicitly texted Lee Eng that his criticisms of her vote were “no way a threat of any kind,” Lee Eng chose to perpetuate this deeply problematic narrative of Black men as inherently dangerous, one that has resulted in police brutality against innocent individuals.

Potentially damaging Moos’s reputation, Lee Eng’s comments demonstrate a thorough disregard for public feedback, twisting a community member’s criticism of her actions into a personal attack.

For the past four months, Lee Eng has sat in silence despite Los Altans’ calls for an apology or her resignation. It is clear she was hoping the dispute would blow over and people would move on.

On Thursday, March 4, to try and resolve the dispute, Moos reached out to the City Council suggesting a mediated discussion with Lee Eng. The Council promised to provide Moos with more details about the discussion more than a week ago, but has yet to reach out with them. 

“I don’t think there’s any point in having a conversation when she wasn’t willing to for four months,” Moos said. “At this point, I don’t think any apology from her will be necessarily sincere. What I’m looking for from her is an admission of wrongdoing and guilt, as well as an apology that’s both a public statement put on the record and one sent to me signed by her.”

While a mediator might seem like a step in the right direction, Lee Eng has repeatedly refused to take accountability into her own hands. She doesn’t consider herself to have done anything wrong, let alone feel obligated to right those wrongs. 

It’s likely she would never have done anything had Moos not reached out. Her months of inaction underscore how she views herself as innocent, and that this mediation is all a PR stunt to get back in the community’s good graces. 

For someone who calls herself a “champion for fairness, transparency, and equity” on her campaign website, Lee Eng hasn’t been championing any of these causes. We still don’t even know if she will agree to Moos’s request for a public apology and admission of guilt.

Moos deserves to have his name cleared, but the fundamental truth is that after so many months, an apology would inevitably be insincere. So the time for an apology is over. 

Lee Eng had her chance and she didn’t take it. 

Her lack of action speaks volumes about her character and what she truly stands for. Her statement was racist and damaging, and Lee Eng must be held accountable for it.

As Moos said, “She is not fit to serve. Lynette, resign.”