Hollister Mayor Pro Tem Honor Spencer and Councilmember Marty Richman on Tuesday voted against censuring themselves for making threatening and obscene comments about colleague Rolan Resendiz in private and in public.
The Feb. 18 vote came four weeks after the pair voted to censure Resendiz for allegedly posting demeaning social media comments about women.
The 3-2 vote by the Hollister City Council, with Richman and Spencer joined by Councilmember Carol Lenoir in the majority and Mayor Ignacio Velázquez and Resendiz in the minority, rejected a censure motion against Spencer and Richman that had been brought by Mayor Ignacio Velázquez.
The same 3-2 council majority on Jan. 21 voted to censure Resendiz.
The censure motions carry no penalties.
The votes followed months of bickering and outbursts between the two council factions, resulting in legal complaints and sessions with a mediator.
Spencer, who is seeking to unseat four-term incumbent Velázquez in November, had proposed the action against Resendiz, an ally of the mayor, in December.
After the meeting, she declined to answer any questions about the vote.
Resendiz has not yet announced he is seeking re-election to his second term. Richman and Lenoir have said they would not be seeking re-election.
Spencer and Richman acknowledged last month that they had used the F-word in arguments with Resendiz—which Spencer also said into an open microphone after a December council meeting—and they apologized at the Jan. 21 council meeting.
During this week’s discussion of their possible censure, Richman and Spencer again admitted using foul language in those incidents, but said their actions did not justify a censure and had been ignited by unacceptable behavior by Resendiz.
Council members last month ignored 45 minutes of pleas from members of the public to drop all censure motions and learn to work together.
Those sentiments were echoed after the Tuesday meeting by Velázquez.
“Please, everybody, just knock it off,” he said in an interview. “Enough of this. I hope they have all learned their lessons—enough of this craziness.”
The mayor said the issue before the council this week was simply whether Richman and Spencer said the things cited in the x-rated council resolution, and whether they should be censured for it.
The council majority concluded that the actions of Richman and Spencer weren’t serious enough to warrant a censure vote. Last month, the same majority said the actions of Resendiz did merit a censure resolution.
Resendiz said last month that for months he has been the victim of threats of violence and homophobic attacks. He is the city’s first openly gay council member.
He and the mayor have said that their slow-growth advocacy and votes against real estate developers and the commercial plans for the 400 block of San Benito Street are at the heart of the split in the council. They say the majority favors real estate developers.
The Feb. 18 resolution that was defeated 3-2 would have censured council members Richman and Spencer “for the use of profanity, harassment, bullying and threatening of other council members.”
“The City of Hollister City Council has the authority to and must uphold the integrity of its government, City Council policies, good legislative practice, and policiesband procedures,” the resolution read. “Censure is one method by which the City Council may achieve the objectives.”
“The City of Hollister must promote the productive use of proper speech in all professional settings and especially during City Council meetings; and must take a stand and discourage use of profanity, bullying, harassment, and/or the use of threats at any time.” the resolution continued.
The resolution stated that “at the May 6, 2019 council meeting during a recess Councilmember
Spencer said to Councilmember Resendiz, ‘I’m going to kick your f***ing ass.’ “ and that “other
physical threats were made prior to this event.” The resolution said Spencer had said at a meeting in 2019 that ‘I did not threaten him, I said I was going to hit him, and that is not a threat.’ “At another meeting she stated she (worked with) ‘f***ing morons’.”
The resolution also stated that after a May 6 council meeting, “Council Member Richman said ‘F*** you and the horse you rode in on’ to Council Member Resendiz, and said to
Mayor Velázquez, ‘F*** you too’.”
The resolution concluded that “Council Member Richman and Council Member Spencer have repeatedly used profanity and abusive, and/or threatening language toward Council Member Rolan Resendiz and Mayor Ignacio Velázquez, and such language has included threats of
The council rejected the motions to: “1) censure Council members Marty Richman and Honor Spencer for all statements made during Council meetings and in private regarding Councilmember Resendiz and/or Mayor Velázquez that constituted threats of violence or used violent language; and 2) censure Council Members Marty Richman and Honor Spencer for all profanity and/or rude language used during City Council meetings, especially those statements directed at Councilmember Resendiz and/or Mayor Velázquez; and 3) reject and dissociate from all statements by Council Members Marty Richman and Honor Spencer that are profane, rude, bullying, harassing, and/or threatening.”
Velázquez said he used explicit language in this week’s resolution because “I wanted to make sure it was documented.”
On Jan. 21, the council voted 3-2 to censure Resendiz “for a gender-based slur and for suggesting there was a sexual and promiscuous relationship between council members.” Resendiz said his use of a Spanish diminutive for “cockroach” in referring to his political opponents was not vulgar.
That censure motion was proposed by Spencer and Richman.
Resendiz and the mayor had led the council in a unanimous vote last October to hire Paul Eckert as the new city manager. When revelations of past sexual harassment complaints unveiled by the Free Lance threatened to tank Eckert’s appointment, Velázquez and Resendiz at first defended the new hire.
Public outrage over the Eckert allegations led Spencer, Richman and Lenoir to force the new manager’s resignation after less than two weeks. They voted to give him a $25,000 severance package, which Velázquez and Resendiz opposed.