On Monday evening, the Merced City Council deafened its audience with silence after mayoral candidate Necola Adams, an African-American, finished denouncing the escalating racial violence against her campaign.
Before Adams spoke, staff had reminded the councilmen that "they could not speak freely on any item not on the agenda." This is the sort of advice from staff, however, that councilmen ignore whenever it suits them.
After Adams finished, it suited them to say nothing until staff interrupted it to announce the consent agenda.
Adams spoke against the racism and discrimination that has dogged her campaign from its inception early this year. She focused on the damage and defacement of her campaign signs. She filed two police reports against vandals who had torn down her signs. Later, vandals tore down another sign, stomped on it, and smeared it with feces. After that they drew male genetalia in her mouth on another sign. Then someone shot up a sign with BB's. Adams said that her family was now fearful of an attack on her or them. Yet, she said she did not wish to go to the media and make the city look bad.
(She needn't have worried. There hasn't been a word of her comments in the McClatchy local outlet all week.)
Adams is supported by some formidable Americans. Her first campaign contributor received the Silver Star for his service in Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army in World War II and her brother, a Marine, has served three tours of duty in Iraq, two in Afghanistan.
"I m not going to be terrorized, bullied, threatened or shamed out of this race," she told Mayor Stan Thurston, councilmen Mike Murphy and Josh Pedroza, both mayoral candidates; Tony Dossetti, a former police chief; Kevin Blake, a deputy sheriff; retired urban planner Michael Belluomini; the city manager and city attorney. Absent was Councilman Noah Lor, also a mayoral candidate.
Two property owners who had posted her signs have asked her to take them down for fear of property damage or worse, she said.
She concluded her report to the council by reading a post she had just received, which said things should have been kept as they were in the 19th century, "when you would have been tied in chains in the barn with the pigs."
Adams' final comment was: "We need to figure out how to make people feel safe in this community."
The Merced County Times outlined Adams' background and qualifications for the job. She was born and raised in Merced.
The mother of five children, from 23 to 35 years of age, Adams and her husband of 25 years, Stephen, have nine grandchildren.
She is a 4-H leader and was a member of the city's Charter Review Committee and a parks and recreation commissioner for four years.
Adams has served on the downtown planning task force and is a past president of the League of Women Voters of Merced County. She also has been the second vice president of the Merced chapter of the National Council of Negro Women. -- Doane Yawger, Merced County Times, April 28, 2016.
Thurston praised her in a recent meeting for her strong advocacy for street repair in South Merced against a city staff recommendation for a project in a far northern corner of town. But Monday night the entire council of white men said nothing after her report of racism, discrimination and increasingly violent threats. Two sworn officers and an ex-Marine could not be moved to tell the current police chief to meet with Adams. The thought of writing an open letter to the racist vandals in the local press never occurred to them.
The silence of the Merced City Council was a collective act of political and moral cowardice. There is not one man on the council with enough class to raise his voice to defend a citizen and political candidate under racist attack or the guts to raise his voice against the neo-Johnny Rebs. Merced would be well rid of all of these craven fellows.
The next day, Necola Adams broke her ankle.