Calls for Santa Clara’s Watanabe Censure Continue After Apology

The public comment portion of this week's Santa Clara City Council meeting turned into almost an hour of community members and council members publicly airing personal grievances against Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe for the first time on Tuesday.

Watanabe has lost some local support since her March 31 “Stop Asian Hate” event’s fallout; more than 70 Bay Area leaders and residents submitted a letter to the city requesting the two-term representative apologize and be censured for denying Councilmember Kevin Park—the city’s only elected Korean American—a chance to speak during the event.

For just shy of an hour, the seven-member council rehashed the March 31 event in minute detail, offering their perspectives and opinions about the incident that turned a “Stop Asian Hate” event organized by Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Watanabe into a magnifying glass on council divisions.

While the councilors did discuss those larger divides—and years of shunning perceived political foes by Watanabe—much of the conversation devolved into quarrels about who showed up to the event when, which names were on the speakers list, how Park RSVP’d for the event and both parties’ culpability.

“It’s unfortunate that this event that highlighted how our community came together to support AAPI residents has become a controversy about Councilmember Park not speaking,” Watanabe read from a prepared statement, which she previously provided reporters. “There was no ill will on my part. I am sorry that I could not accommodate him. If possible, I would have done so.”

Watanabe ultimately offered the apology Silicon Valley leaders demanded. “I’m sorry that you were offended and I’ll apologize to all of you, if that's what it takes, because this has not been easy for me in a lot of ways,” Watanabe said.

But that apology, it seems, has not smoothed things over with the Silicon Valley leaders demanding the mea culpa. The groups who signed onto the letter—including the Asian Law Alliance, The Health Trust, Korean American Community Services, Silicon Valley NAACP, Working Partnerships and others—are still pushing for Watanabe’s colleagues to censure, or formally reprimand, the councilwoman.

“The underlying problem is that the Mayor and Councilmember Watanabe don't get it,” Richard Konda, executive director for the Asian Law Alliance said in an interview Thursday. “They don't understand what that refusal really meant and what it signaled. I think that her denial of Kevin Park’s request to speak was just outrageous and I think it calls for a censure by the council.”

Likewise, Park said Watanabe’s apology hasn’t cut it with many Asian American residents, a fact that has become abundantly clear this week as his phone has buzzed incessantly with people asking about his next move.

“The AAPI community—all minority communities—we need to take the cause back,” he said. “We need to make sure that it is not Caucasian politicians that are speaking for us. Here we have a City Council person basically saying ‘this is my event,’ trying to gate-keep a national and a global movement for an Asian community that I think she does know about, but I question if she actually understands.”

Park said he hasn’t settled on a position when it comes to censure because he’s trying to balance the desire for closure and recognition of the hurt Watanabe’s actions caused, while avoiding further politicizing and deepening the already gaping council divides.

Gillmor, meanwhile, is pushing for the council members to forgive and forget.

“Council member Watanabe apologized, and I think it's time for us to work together and try on a positive approach, as opposed to the negative with lessons learned from everyone here,”  Gillmor said during the meeting Tuesday. “There's always going to be people out there to point it out, and this is a good example of that—a very good deed that ended up going sour. The question is how do we make it better, work together, spread inclusion and love and everything else instead of divisiveness and hatred?”

Whether censure comes up again may depend on the residents, Park said, and specifically whether any will request the topic be put on a future meeting agenda.

“We need to make sure that Asians and the minorities in our community feel safe and supported, and a lot of them were not happy, and for good reason with what they heard at the city council meeting,” Park said Thursday reflecting on the meeting. “Censure is not about punishing anyone, but it's about sending a message to all of Santa Clara that this is what we stand for. I feel that we need to do something meaningful to record when we do things that are wrong.”


  1. Watanabe had one defender. Kirk “city subsidies” Vartan, a white guy with no sympathy for local Asian American leaders who vigorously attacked Konda and Park whenever possible. WATANABE THE PLANTATI9N LADY who demands free tickets for sporting events whose husband attacked minority football and soccer fans. It is always the same, the plantation lady patronizes whenever possible sipping gin and tonics snapping her fingers.

  2. you have a race hate problem and it can’t be paying any dividends in your life

    we are all God’s Children

  3. One side effect of the vigorous and foolish campaign to eradicate sex differences is that it’s left open and available for social use the role of the hypersensitive, quick to tear, anxious and in need of comfort neurotic. The absence of the conniving, crying-on-command female has created an opening ripe for exploitation, and given the irresistible allure of the vacuum and the tactic’s proven track record it’s no wonder so many are vying for its rewards. Nevertheless, it is a shame to see the public image of proud, accomplished groups of Americans, many of them new to this country, stained by the effeminate strategies of the kind generated in this much-ado-about-nothing campaign against Ms. Watanabe. The message they are signalling to their young is the message of weakness, otherness, despair. It is the message of the un-weaned welfare caste; the message that creates fatherless children, entitled parasites, and street thugs (like the kind mugging elder Asians).

    Allow the Asian Law Alliance to play politics with your children’s self-image and you invite them to mature into indolent political units and not self-reliant individuals.

  4. Anyone who understands science knows nothing is proven in science. Actually science is defined by its falsifiability, read Popper. Anyone who worships science as a way to understand the world is an adherent of Scientism. The limits of science are legion and come with a series of qualification and disclaimers for good reason. Any real scientist is loath to make conclusive statements other than when those conclusions have been shown to be false with experimental evidence, and even then they hedge in their language.

    There is no proving anything true without faith.

    It does not surprise anyone that a unemployed, nihilistic free-loader who thinks its fair to game to personally profit from societal protections designed to help poor people would make such a statements and believe in such religions.

    However, the survival of the species requires more faith than science, and that faith must be one that offers optimism not skepticism. The challenges to life are enormous and without an optimistic faith, unshakable biological imperative or some profit motive, no one would have children. Children have not been profitable for some time and our rationalizing mind has a way of loosening biological imperatives. So, thanks to the inherent selfishness of the current progressive culture and its lack of faith in optimistic religions, those genetically predisposed to self-select out of the gene pool have cultural protections to do so. Thus the free-loading nihilists are aging out and not replacing. Oddly enough conservative mindsets have been shown to be somewhat genetic and they are the ones having children and populating the future. Thus passing on more conservative outlooks than progressive.

    We can hope for the nihilistic free-loader, we can pray for the nihilistic free-loader, but we are likely at peak nihilistic free-loader.


  5. It is difficult to comprehend how you are a functioning person.

    Observing natural phenomenon and giving it a name is not proving anything, its arbitrarily creating conventions. Science is repleat with inevitably disproven theories and hypotheses. There is no proving anything in science, it is a process of hypothsis, experimentation, analysis, and refinement. The heros of science are the people who were able to show conventional thought was wrong.

    Math is provable as it exists only in Platonic Forms. Once you prove something in math, it is not longer required to check if the next one is true.

    Science is not so lucky, even if it profits from its adjacency with math. Newton was shown to be wrong, as has Einstein, there are whole classes on the subject. Darwins own criteria of falsifiability of natural selection has already been met, now they hand wave chunkyness and AI solving the alpha folding problem. Settled science, proven science, “the science” are all tells for the small brained, nothing about any of them is science.

    You fail even basic logic and knowledge tests over and over, yet you continue to word salad nonsense. Go make some money and give your too generous landlord a break.

  6. If we believe in science, and it sounds like we here all do, then we should pay particular attention to Charles Darwin who showed that species evolve so as to emphasize traits that allow them to thrive in their particular environment.
    By wielding the powers of government we have the ability to change and control the societal environment in which we live. That means our government policies dictate the “species” which will flourish.
    By enacting policies and laws that reward complaining and protesting and delusions of victimhood we are quickly creating an environment in which the resentment gene dominates and our noble and self sufficient species Homo erectus will soon be overwhelmed and subsumed by the better adapted subspecies Homo gimmemorus.

  7. I’m thankful that from John Galt’s comment I came away appreciative of the witty creation, Homo gimmemorus, he used to better make his point and describe his alarm. And I’m relieved that my reaction to his comment was not to zero in on a minor factual error (easy to make when focused on creativity), and even more so that I didn’t correct him incorrectly, by capitalizing the first “s” in Homo sapiens.

  8. Appreciate the response from both of you.
    I don’t think it’s necessary to show a genetic distinction. The process of Natural Selection can happen not just through genetic mutation but also within a social environment in which people can make the choice to alter their behavior in response to variations in risk and reward.

  9. It is not ok for a white person to hate an asian, black, hispanic, mexican.


    No double-standard there, is there?
    Hate to burst their bubble, but WHITE people built this country. Fought and died for this county. So, they could come here from their screwed up countries they refuse to fight for. Yet, come here, enjoy their freedoms and bitch about this country.

    How about going back home and fixing your country or origin, instead of coming here and screwing up what used to be the greatest country on the planet. Don’t bring your stupid culture here and screwup this country.

    Hate is hate, no mater if it’s white hating others, or OTHERS hating whites.

    How about we all shutup, get to work, and those that just want freebees, get out of this country. Those that want to work hard and give back to America, stay here and become Americans. Who o this great country. Quit being a bunch of crying bitches just taking from this country and destroying it.

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