The Trouble With Christina Fugazi Part II: Character
This is the story that every voter in District #5 needs to read. What happens with an elected official is so blinded by their hate that they will attack victims of assault and/or crimes? Is this type of person redeemable? How do hold this type of person accountable for their actions? What happens when voters aren’t even informed of such grievous behavior? These are the questions I hope you will ponder as I share a couple incidents that occurred over the past couple years. Situations that we all need to think about as we head to the polls in a couple months.
In my previous article, I shared how Councilwoman Christina Fugazi went back on her word and refused to be held accountable for her actions as a councilmember and how she betrayed a local family who were victims of fire. ---As an elected official your word and trust are your most important assets. In allowing her followers to attack this family and by refusing to honor her word, she lost the trust of this family. Well, this may well be one of the more recent incident, it’s not the first.
In 2013, then Councilmember Dyane Medina hosted her wedding reception at Nena’s restaurant located at the Waterfront in Downtown Stockton. During that event, four of Dyane’s bridesmaids had their cars broken into and their wedding gowns and jewelry stolen. The following morning, Dyane’s mother took the bridesmaids to the Stockton Police station where they posed in front of the station’s doors and in an act of defiance against the perpetrators of this crime stood for a selfie picture to show their confidence and bravery as they entered the Station to file a police report. For any survivor of a crime, the ordeal can be extremely emotional and painful. The trauma caused by crime can be long-term and the fear of retaliation can be constant and harrowing. This impromptu photo-op was an attempt by a group of young women to reclaim their narrative and refuse to be viewed as victims. What Christina Fugazi did to these young women is inexcusable and IMHO is grounds for her to not be re-elected and in all honesty should be grounds for an immediate resignation.
Dyane’s wedding should be remembered as a positive historic moment for our city. It was a return to using City Hall as a site for wedding and for the young public servant it was a shining moment that not only allowed her to publicly marry the man she loved but also recommit to her call of public service. Instead, the incident is remembered because then Mayor Anthony Silva’s car was towed away during the ceremony. Headlines and news reports all focused on the towing incident and only lightly touched on the cause, the fact that one of our city’s public servants got married in front of our historic columns. Despite this, family and guests enjoyed a beautiful ceremony and wonderful reception that followed. (I know this because I was a guest. 😊) Yet none of us could have expected what would be the biggest political fallout from the wedding that would soon occur.
It started with a whisper campaign that Dyane was anti-police. Nothing could be furthest from the truth and yet it became a repeated issue that got louder and louder. Then, we got wind that the Fugazi for City Council Campaign had physical proof that Medina was anti-police. A picture of her mother and members of Dyane’s wedding party standing in front of the police station posing in defiance of the police with their middle fingers sticking
out. If true, it would be the stupidest political stunt and most amateur actions grown folks had ever made in the midst of a political campaign. Yet, when Dyane’s campaign got email proof, what we got was the picture that we had known about for months; the picture of Dyane’s mother and the brave survivors of crime reporting their perpetrator to the police station. Instead, Christina chose to twist the situation and submit a grainy version of the photo in an attempt to distort the truth and gain political favor for herself.
The deception started with Bill Hutto, a close friend of Fugazi, and now retired SPD Officer who during the 2014 election season was the SPOA PAC Chair. Usually when an individual has a conflict of interest like this they will disclose their relationship and either recuse themselves or at least let their peers know of the conflict so that there is full disclosure. Hutto did none of that and in fact led the charge in favor of a Fugazi endorsement by using the grainy photo as proof that Dyane was anti-police. Hutto took his bias one step further and refused to consider endorsing Dyane nor interview her so he could ask her face to face about the photo or her position on SPD. Instead, Dyane was unaware of the abuse of the photo until weeks later during the San Joaquin County Central Labor Council endorsement process. Hutto and others circulated the picture during the Council’s endorsement meeting; once again alleging that the photo was proof that Dyane was anti-police. This time though, allies of Dyane brought the photo to her attention which allowed her a chance to tell the truth about the photo and finally allowing her to dispel the false allegations. This time, with both candidates getting a fair and equitable opportunity to win support, Dyane won the Central Labor Council’s endorsement.
Now, the minute I got wind of the smear campaign by Fugazi and her people I publicly, via FB, called on Christina to publicly disown herself from the negative campaigning and acknowledge that her campaign coordinated the smear and that she personally benefited from it. She never once publicly addressed the situation and instead doubled down in the smear attacks on Dyane during the general election, resulting in her surprise election win.
Now you may ask yourself, once does not a pattern make but I know another incident where she threw a victim under the bus. This time, the lies were towards me. In the past, I’ve spoke about my experience being verbally assaulted by Motec Sanchez, a former staffer for Fugazi and still an advisor and supporter of hers. The incident occurred outside of the Charter Review Commission meeting that I was serving on at the time. For those who aren’t familiar with what happened, here’s a quick rundown: As I walked to Cesar Chavez Library for my meeting, Motec drove by me with Aaron Edwards as a passenger, rolled down his window and screamed at me to get a haircut. I responded with, “Nice, does Fugazi know this is how you act. I can tell her myself if you want.” For which he responded, “Fuck you, you fucking bitch!” I never felt threatened by Motec’s sexist and homophobic rant. However, my immediate concern was that someone in the community could have heard his declaration and feel empowered to act out against someone who was LGBT+ or felt motivated to harm me as an outspoken LGBT+ leader. That is why I became emotionally distressed over the matter and why I brought up the incident during public comments of the Charter Review Commission. BTW: Fugazi was present at the hearings and heard me recount my experience. I was so emotionally overwhelmed by what happened that a couple of my fellow commissioners approached me after to comfort me. What I didn’t know at that time was that to the incident, Motec made a public statement during the meeting and made unveiled threats towards fellow commissioner Max Vargas that coupled with my public comments led the Stockton PD to investigate the matter out of concern for both my safety and Mr. Vargas’. After stopping by my mom’s house and freaking her out, the officer in charge of the investigation got a hold of me via phone call. He left the decision to continue the investigation up to me but pointed out the weak nature of the case. I decided to drop the matter in hopes that the impact of the situation would die out and be forgotten.
Fugazi’s apathy towards what happened to me never set well with me. The fact that she continued to support Motec should be viewed as suspect by all. When Lt. Toby Will published his anti-LGBT open letter in The Record, I decided enough was enough and delivered a public statement during a Council meeting calling her out for inaction. Remember, Fugazi was present at the Charter Review meeting and heard what Motec had done to me and she continued to work with him and even gave him opportunities to deliver reports to the council. Shocker of all shockers, following my statement, during council public council, she accused me of making up the entire story. She actually had the nerve so say, “It didn’t happen”. There is a physiological term for Fugazi’s repeated behavior, it’s called D.A.R.V.O., penned by Jennifer J. Freyd in her essay, “Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness, and Betrayal Trauma Theory (1997), Feminism & Psychology. It stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. DARVO is all over my first blog entry. The family that lost their home, victims of fire. The bridesmaids who had their personal belongings stolen, victims of crime. And then myself, a victim of verbal assault. All of us attacked by Fugazi rather than her take accountability for her actions. Ask yourself, is this behavior worthy of one of our city’s highest positions? And to those who financially and personally support her campaign, does character and ethical behavior mean nothing to you? What happens when you’re on the receiving end of her DARVO? A person willing to mislead for their own personal/political game is a wildcard. Some actually give Fugazi credit for being a wildcard and I would concede that can sometimes be an asset but not when there are victims on the other end of those attacks and that’s the biggest item I hope people walk away while reading this. Victims should not be further victimized just for one’s own political advantage. DARVO is used by the rest of her inner circle too.
I’ve covered enough about Fugazi’s relationship with Mr. Sanchez so let me focus on the others in her inner circle. Some make it a habit of disrupting council meetings like Aaron Paradiso, who incidentally called Councilmember Susan Lofthus a bitch and Kathleen Gapusan, a person who physically assaulted Downtown Stockton advocate David Garcia’s father during a council meeting. These people, usually political outliers because of their dangerous behavior, have been embraced by Fugazi and can often be found in her office or driving with her to council meetings. Which brings me to her biggest grievance; embracing the biggest political outlier our city has ever had: one Anthony Silva. Every person who had political aspirations for the past ten years knew of Silva’s challenges as a politico. That’s why only a few risked their own political capital to stand in the same room as him. The investigations. The relationships with minors that made adults uncomfortable. One would think that Fugazi, as a teacher, would also have distanced herself. Instead she lied to the public and said they were not close allies, then she gets elected and shows up shoulder to shoulder in matching Christmas outfits. She supported his policies and political agenda. She lied to us!!! Not only that, while our city endured four years of being a laughing stock because of our then mayor’s behavior, please don’t forget youth, again, were found to be involved in actions with the adult Silva that were inappropriate. And Fugazi continues to work with him and hold public events with him. Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is not seeking re-election because she refused to hold her staff person accountable for his actions. Stockton deserves better too.
Stay tuned for my final blog piece on Fugazi, a look at her disastrous voting record and ineffectiveness as a leader. To be continued….
~Nicholas Hatten, District #5 Neighbor