STORY AND PHOTO BY GIL RUBINSTEIN
Calls persist for Los Altos Council Member Lynette Lee Eng to resign over comments made at a Nov. 24 meeting, where she falsely accused Keenan Moos, a Black Los Altos resident, of threatening her and her family.
During that November meeting, the previous council voted on findings from the police task force, which recommended eliminating school resource officers from the Los Altos High School campus and adding a third party intake portal to the police complaint process.
The council voted unanimously to remove SROs, also approving the intake portal and creation of an online feedback form.
After being the sole vote abstaining over the third party intake portal, Lee Eng claimed to have received threatening text messages from Keenan Moos, a Los Altos High School graduate and founder of Justice Vanguard, which organized Black Lives Matter marches this summer.
“Your name will be all over the papers,” wrote Keenan Moos to Lee Eng, in a text, during the November meeting. “We know there are racists that supported you. You are trying to delay this. It has nothing to do with budget and you know this. You lied to me in our discussions that you were going to support racial matters. You said you were the only one in favor and it looks like you are the only one against them. I just want to be clear, this is no way a threat of any kind. This is me expressing my disappointment.”
Lee Eng then interrupted the meeting to tell the council about the allegedly threatening messages from Keenan Moos, defending her actions.
“I voted the way I did, I am representing my concerns due to the lack of information,” Lee Eng said at the November meeting. “That said, I just want to protect myself and protect my family.”
Those text messages, the wording of which was unknown to the council at the time, drew quick censure from the rest of the council — however, it was later discovered that Lee Eng’s implication that she was threatened was baseless.
After Keenan Moos posted the text messages online, residents began calling for Lee Eng to apologize for her misleading statements regarding the nature of the text messages, with over 25 calling for her resignation at the most recent council meeting.
“She may not have used the word ‘threatened,’ but that was the implication,” said Toni Moos, mother of Keenan Moos, at the Feb. 23 council meeting. “Words have consequence. In this case the words that Lynette Lee Eng used, gave the impression that Kenan called her racist and threatened her. I want to be clear, Lynette Lee Eng, it is time for you to retract your statements, apologize to Keenan, and step down from your office.”
After residents delivered public comments asking for Lee Eng to apologize or resign, many were disappointed in the results.
“The first thing I felt is that she doesn’t care,” Toni Moos said in an interview with the Post. “She never looked up, she never reacted, there was no eye contact made. It was almost as if it didn’t matter to her, which is very sad.”
After the public comment at the most recent council meeting, Council Members Sally Meadows, Jonathan Weinberg and Mayor Neysa Fligor all gave Lee Eng the opportunity to make a statement, but she remained silent.
“As a council, we are all accountable,” Meadows said. “The only one who can fix this is Council Member Lee Eng, she has a story to tell. This council needs to move forward, and as it is we will not be able to. I ask that Lee Eng be accountable to the community, and especially to Keenan and Justice Vanguard.”
In an interview following the meeting, Toni Moos detailed her experiences as a Black woman, one of only roughly 150 Black residents in a town of over 30,000 according to the most recent census data.
“Walking downtown, heads turn towards you,” Toni Moos said. “You feel people are watching you. I have seen people assume my husband is white, they’d ask if I was the nanny.”
After Lee Eng’s comments at the most recent city council meeting, Toni Moos said she felt lonely.
“Given how [Lee Eng] has behaved, she truly doesn’t [view us as her constituents],” she said. “Maybe she doesn’t view us as important, but we are people, and we are voters, and we are residents. The way she is portraying us, begs the question of whether or not she really views us as equally important.”
During the November meeting when Lee Eng accused Keenan Moos of threatening her, the Moos family stood in their kitchen watching the vote with apprehension. After having had many conversations with Lee Eng prior to the November meeting, Kenan Moos claimed to have been assured by Lee Eng that she would support changes.
“Lee Eng expressed her support and commitment to social and racial justice,” Keenan Moos said during the public comment section of last week’s meeting. “She went as far as to say that she was the only council member who’s an advocate for seeing change, so when [at] the Nov. 24 meeting, she was not voting for recommendations that would support racial and social justice, I was disappointed.”
After the events of that November meeting, Toni Moos spoke about how her fear for her son’s safety has grown.
“I feel like my stomach is always in knots, when Keenan leaves the house now, I say, ‘I only have one of you, so when you leave the house, you do whatever you can to stay safe,’” Toni Moos said. “Hopefully that will never come to pass, that he has interactions with the police here, I feel we are constantly living on edge.”
Toni Moos, however, has said the recent outcry of public support has been a source of hope for her family.
“We did not think that so many people would stand up with us, and that gives me hope, that people are willing to stand up with us,” she said. “When you remain silent, it feels to us as though you are condoning that behavior. Speaking up, speaking out to those who you may not have confronted before, really has an impact.”
Lee Eng declined multiple requests for comment.