Letters to the Editor
ON BEHALF of the Santa Cruz County Women's Commission, we would like to commend Officer Bill Clayton for reporting Councilman Madrigal's inappropriate and degrading behavior (DeCinzo, May 23, print edition). The councilman's remarks about the women of Santa Cruz are neither respectful of the population he represents nor are they acceptable sentiments concerning the gender that compromises more than half the county's population. It is reassuring to us that important members of our community, such as Officer Clayton, are aware of and sensitive to the issues of sexual harassment and discrimination. We offer our sincerest gratitude for his taking the correct action and commend him for fulfilling his duties as an officer to serve and protect all members of our community.
We rely on our elected officials to be reflections of our best selves and to serve as role models in our community. It is appalling that a public official would express such flippant, demeaning comments about women, and to pass such remarks off as commonplace, left uncorrected, contributes to a host of social issues that many local organizations and individuals crusade against. Mislaid respect for women continues to be a critical issue for many communities, including our own. Behavior such as that exhibited by Councilman Madrigal is inconsistent with the values held dear by the progressive and educated people of Santa Cruz County. We strongly feel that the councilman owes a public apology to each and every woman, in fact to every resident, of this community. It is in Mr. Madrigal's best interest as a public official to apologize sincerely to the community and to reflect on his speech and behavior since they impact the community's impression of him as a City Councilman and of his abilities to serve us in that capacity.
In closing, we again would like to convey our support and appreciation of Officer Clayton's decision to report this egregious behavior. His actions are the only bright spot in this episode.
Laurel Keefe, Co-Chair, Santa Cruz County Women's Commission
THESE DAYS apologies have become linguistic acts that may, intentionally or not, sound weak. I will not engage in that conduct.
I believe that an effective apology not only acknowledges the hurt of the victim but also clearly demonstrates an understanding of one's own responsibility for bringing about the harm, authentically expresses one's intention to avoid such actions in the future, and offers a sincere regret for having done it in the first place.
The complainant's in this matter are the Santa Cruz Police Department. Deputy Police Chief Patty Sapone stated as follows in the local newspaper:
"An apology to the officers is an important first step, but he [Mr. Madrigal] also needs to apologize to all the women in the community," Deputy Police Chief Patty Sapone said Wednesday. "This is a significant insult to those in the community who dedicate their lives to protecting women."
Without excuses or hedging, here is my unqualified statement of apology to the victims:
First, to the Police Officers who dedicate their lives to protecting women and who believe that this was a "significant insult." I acknowledge the significance of the insult and sincerely apologize for making the comments in front of the officer and for making him uncomfortable and for hurting his and/or her feelings.
To each and every woman in this community: Please accept my unqualified, sincere apology for the comments I made. As a public official I need to be more circumspect in the comments I make particularly if they have the effect of causing anyone to feel uncomfortable. I fully intend to avoid making any such comments in the future and will diligently and proactively learn from my mistakes by completing the appropriate sensitivity training. I can offer no excuse for my conduct nor will I.
Tony Madrigal, Santa Cruz City Council
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