Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: A teen’s take on a divided community

"While I'm sure our city council has done much to help the community, there are some things that you simply can not forgive and forget," writes local high school student Jody Gibbs.

This column was contributed by high school student Jody Gibbs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

As a senior student at the local high school, we are required to attend three government meetings for our government class. However, on December 16th, I came to better understand a situation I was exposed to by my family and community. I came, I observed, I listened, and I was appalled. While I’m sure our city council has done much to help the community, there are some things that you simply can not forgive and forget.

While I was attending this meeting, multiple people spoke up about the comments that Councilmember Resendiz made to both loyal members of the community and his fellow council members. Referring to Mayor Pro Tempore Marty Richman as the “pimp” and “daddy” of council members Honor Spencer and Carol Lenoir, as well as (when it all boils down) referring to the two women as the “prostitutes” who are “wined and dined” to the ______ (I don’t remember the company name). This behavior is childish, unruly, and deserving of severe correction. You are a group of individuals who were put together to make this community a better and stronger one, not to tear it apart with foolhardy name-calling and lewd references.

On another note, many of the people who spoke during the meeting mentioned a certain Spanish word that was used, by one Mr. Rolan Resendiz, to degrade a woman. I choose not to repeat it, as I want to avoid offending anyone, but I will say that the word used is similar to a word that means “female genitalia.” As a person who has studied the Spanish language for over three years now, and continues to practice it, I could not believe what I heard. Spanish cuss words are extremely severe in their culture, even a word such as “idiota” (translates to “idiot”) is very offensive and is not taken lightly.

Finally, after one woman spoke, Mayor Velazquez felt the need to reply to the public comment and state that what the prior people had stated was “untrue” (despite there being screenshots of the post) and that he had no idea what she was talking about. While he was making this comment, many people proclaimed that he was not allowed to make a response to the comment. In return, the mayor said: “You don’t know the rules, I do” and continued on with his comment. Whether he was allowed to or not, this was a very rude way to speak, and I would personally expect better of him.

I’m aware that everything I say may not be 100% true, as words get misinterpreted, people blow things out of proportion, and events get denied of existence. But let’s just ponder a question for a moment: how long should we allow these people to influence the community and act in such a way? These members are old enough to know what is right and what is wrong. How can future generations expect to learn from them, when most of the members can not operate in even the simplest form of professionalism. My generation will one day be the future of this council. So, will we learn from these mistakes or be influenced by them? That is for the people of Hollister to decide.


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Jody Gibbs