By Robert Haugh
At last night’s City Council meeting, Santa Clara City Councilman Kevin Park was forced to apologize for comparing former City Manager Deanna Santana to a “dog.”
Earlier in the day, a group of six local organizations led by the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley held a press conference at City Hall to condemn Park.
Some called for him to apologize. Others said that he should be censured.
Last night, during public comment one resident, “Carol” wrote in to complain that Park’s treatment of Santana reminded her of the multiple domestic violence calls to his home.
Park said he wanted to address the groups and Carol. He then read a written statement.
“I am sorry and embarrassed for the statements that I made to local media regarding the situation around our city management,’’ said Park.
“I fully accept faults for my poorly thought out analogy. My comment was thoughtless and I regret making the statement.”
Park said that he would publish his full apology on his website and the City’s website if possible.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor asked Park if he had contacted Santana to apologize. Park said no.
“I personally am completely offended by what you said,” said Gillmor. “And your comments were not the first time you made these types of comments. And they probably won’t be the last time you make these types of comments about women. I think it’s reprehensible what you have said.”
Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe was also unimpressed by Park’s statement.
Watanabe made a motion to place on a future Council agenda an item to discuss taking action against Park.
She said it was “based on the statements heard at the press conference today and a call to demand a public apology and censure.”
The vote failed 2-2 with three abstentions.
Gillmor and Watanabe voted yes. Councilmembers Suds Jain and Karen Hardy voted no. Councilmembers Antony Becker, Raj Chahal and Park abstained.
With Park’s history, this is likely to be a developing story.