Diverse communities throughout Gilroy have unified in support of the recall of Councilmember Rebeca Armendariz. She demonstrated extremely poor judgment when she participated and assisted in the planning of a large-scale party where there was underage drinking. At this party, there was a shooting that resulted in the death of two young men, 18-year-old Michael Zuniga Macias and 19-year-old Jesse Sanchez, who was left a quadriplegic after the shooting and died from his injuries on May 27. The shooting also left two others injured.
After the party that took place at Councilmember Armendariz’s residence, where the shooting occurred, the City ordered an independent investigation, which was conducted by Hanson Bridgett, LLP. The investigator found Councilmember Armendariz uncooperative with the investigation and on numerous occasions in the report referred to Councilmember Armendariz as being less than credible.
Below are excerpts from the report, which can be found on the City’s website:
• Page 10: “Ms. Armendariz did not fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter as she refused to answer questions concerning the incident on the advice of her counsel.”
• Page 11: “The Investigator found that the inconsistencies and inherent implausibility of Ms. Armendariz’s recollection of the party on October 29, 2021 at the Las Animas residence were significant and severely detracted from her credibility as a witness. As a result, the Investigator did not credit much of the information she provided and found her to lack credibility.”
• Page 17: “The Investigator did not credit Ms. Armendariz’s statements that she was unaware of the scale of the party or that underage people were present and drinking during the party.”
• Page 18: The Investigator did not credit Ms. Armendariz’s statements that she had no knowledge of the presence and placement of the barricades during the party at her residence that evening.”
• Page 19: “The Investigator concluded that Ms. Armendariz permitted the unauthorized use of the barricades, which constitutes City property, during the October 29, 2021, party at the Armendariz residence.”
In addition to these statements that find Councilmember Armendariz uncredible, the Investigator repeatedly referred to Councilmember Armendariz as lacking credibility (refer to pages 17, 18, 19 and 21).
The irresponsible decision by Councilmember Armendariz cost the City and taxpayers $47,000 for the independent investigation. The City has a $15 million lawsuit filed against it on behalf of Jesse Sanchez’s family. The cost to defend this lawsuit, the payouts and increase of insurance rates could cost the taxpayers over hundreds of thousands of dollars.
By not taking accountability of her actions, how is Councilmember Armendariz setting an example to the youth of our community? And, how does this leadership represent the values and interests of all of us, especially when we think of the families of the victims who will no longer be able to hug, kiss or smile at their children?
Most importantly, the irresponsible decision to allow for, assist in planning and executing the party, left two young men dead. Councilmember Armendariz had ample opportunity to shut down the party as it became out of hand, long before the shooting occurred. On page 20 of the independent investigation, it states, “The large-scale party was within view and earshot of Ms. Armendariz’s residence, which is where she claimed she remained for the duration of the party until gunshots rang out.”
It has been our hope that Councilmember Armendariz does right by the community of Gilroy and voluntarily steps down. Given that she has not done so, we are moving forward with the recall. It remains our goal to gather the required number of verified signatures so that we can show her that the community wants better representation and encourage Councilmember Armendariz to resign.
We ask—is this who we want to represent our community? If not, we urge you to act now! Go to rebecarecall.com and download, sign and mail in the petition and let your voice be heard.
Remember to sign the petition in both places and use black ink. Mail back to Rebeca Recall, P.O. Box 1622, Gilroy, CA 95021.
This column was submitted by Kelly Ramirez and Cat Tucker on behalf of the Committee to Recall Rebeca Armendariz.