STORY AND PHOTO BY GIL RUBINSTEIN
The Los Altos City Council on Tuesday voted 3–2 in favor of a resolution acknowledging that local activist Kenan Moos did not, among other things, physically threaten Councilwoman Lynette Lee Eng or her family.
The resolution, brought forward by Mayor Neysa Fligor and Councilman Jonathan Weinberg, follows six months of contention between Lee Eng and Moos and essentially lends credence to arguments that Moos and his supporters have made in the months of tension, although the resolution states that it is not meant to take sides or punish any individual or group.
Lee Eng and Councilwoman Anita Enander dissented in the vote.
The months-long saga first started when Lee Eng abstained from a police reform vote in November 2020, after which she claimed to have received messages calling her racist from the social justice group Justice Vanguard, which Moos founded.
“Your name will be all over the papers,” Moos wrote to Lee Eng. “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 voted the way I did, I am representing my concerns due to the lack of information,” Lee Eng said at the November meeting after reading the texts. “That said, I just want to protect myself and protect my family.”
After the meeting, Moos sent a message clarifying his position.
“I just want to be clear,” Moos wrote. “This is no way a threat of any kind. This is me expressing my disappointment.”
Since then, Moos’s supporters have accused Lee Eng of falsely and racistly insinuating that Moos, who is Black, threatened her and her family; Moos has even asserted that Lee Eng has painted a target on his back, and put him at risk of abuse from police officers, and his supporters have called for Lee Eng’s apology and resignation at almost every council meeting.
At one point, Lee Eng and Moos had agreed to participate in a mediation, although that was ultimately terminated by the mediator.
In this latest development, the council’s resolution seeks to bring closure to the matter by creating a timeline of events, acknowledging the content of the text messages sent by Moos to Lee Eng during that meeting — which were not read into the record prior — as well as an acknowledgement that Lee Eng read those messages, which violated official procedure although she said she was waiting for news of a sick family member.
It also contains an acknowledgement of a public perception that Lee Eng felt threatened by said messages.
“This resolution does not ask anyone to apologize or resign, and it is not defending anyone or any group’s actions or statements,” said Fligor at Tuesday’s meeting. “It does not seek to discipline, punish or embarrass anyone or take sides.”
After Fligor and Weinberg both made statements, the council heard nearly 100 oral and written public comments about the resolution.
Among those who gave comments were members of Moos’s family, pastors from the Los Altos United Methodist Church, members of Justice Vanguard and members of the group Every Black Life Matters. Moos described Every Black Life Matters as “right wing extremists.”
The abnormally lengthy public comment was in part attributable to articles published in the Daily Mail and Fox News about the conflict between Lee Eng and Moos, claiming Lee Eng was the latest victim of cancel culture.
Moos said that neither news organization reached out to him for comment; the Daily Mail article said that Moos did not respond to a request for comment, while the Fox News article did not indicate that the organization made an attempt to contact Moos.
Beyond engendering the epic public comment saga, the national media attention also brought malicious threats to Moos, which the Post independently verified were sent to Moos through Justice Vanguard’s website.
Some of the threats include “Hey big mouth, where do you live? Remember, Black Lives Splatter!”; “You’re a snowflake b*tch Kenan, see u around.”; “Coming to see you to take care of your stupidity. You’re a thug!”
After Moos shared the messages during the public comment portion of the meeting, Lee Eng made it clear that she did not condone the threats.
“I do want to make it clear that if anyone is being threatened or intimidated, that is unacceptable,” Lee Eng said at the meeting. “I do not condone this kind of conduct. We should all stand in opposition to threats of all kind.”
Since the November 24 meeting, Lee Eng has remained largely silent, and attributed this both to her own cultural behaviors and a stroke she had suffered prior to running for council in 2016.
“If everyone could be a little bit more courteous with me it would be a big help,” Lee Eng said at the Tuesday meeting. “Being Asian, I did not speak out, which is normal in my culture. When I didn’t vote with the majority I was chastised. Were other members? No. The only difference I can see is that I am an Asian female minority. I am surprised that [Mayor Fligor], who says she stands against racism only stands against racism against [her] own race.”
“I agree with you 100%, we have had different lived experiences,” Fligor said in response. “I dispute any notion that I care only about one race. I will stand by you if you feel like you are being threatened, so I am not going to give some speech, because I think deep down you know that I care.”
During the meeting, Lee Eng expressed interest in participating in a second mediation facilitated by Every Black Life Matters. Moos told the Post he was not interested.
“I’m tired. I’m ready to move on,” Moos said. “For me, the resolution is the end. There are bigger issues that we need to get to. I would like this to be left in the past.”
Lee Eng did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Sunday, May 30: This article has been updated to include additional quotes that better reflect the interactions at the Tuesday council meeting.
Monday, May 31: This wording in the article has been updated to more accurately reflect the circumstances of the failed mediation between Moos and Lee Eng.