Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why we fight - letter to my boxers.

To my readers - especially to my boxers - this letter explains why we're fighting back against the corrupt city of Baldwin Park.  The battle we're engaged in now goes beyond the boxing club, the current situation of corruption, and the City of Baldwin Park.  We're fighting for the current and future right to tell the truth.

A friend asked me why I'm doing all this.  He couldn't understand my motivation.  What he didn't understand was what was really at stake.

What's at stake is whether we can express the truth, whether it be in writing, speaking, or other forms.  We're fighting for a future in Baldwin Park where people won't be afraid to tell their city council members that what they're doing is wrong.
But currently, the City Council and Mayor are telling us we have no rights to speak the truth.  And to prove it, they fired our boxing coach who worked there for fourteen years just because we said it wasn't right they gave him a forty cent raise after fourteen years, while the director got a $40,000 one in a year.

When I booed the director of parks and recreation for getting an $180,000 pay and passed out articles at the park, the Mayor and the police arrested and jailed me.  Then, the Mayor filed a restraining order against me, characterizing me as a stalker.  Then if beating him at the hearing wasn't enough, the City Attorney sent me an email to cease and desist sending criticizing emails to city administrators.  If I didn't shut up, he would take me back to court.  This is supposed to be America, where we have a Constitution and the right to tell the truth.

And so the battle isn't for this particular truth to be told.  It's not whether I can tell people that Manny Carrillo is a money launderer, which he is.  The battle is for everyone's right to speak freely, now and in the future.

What the City is trying to do is stamp out all our rights to hold our public officials to answer for their misconduct.  They've tried to ruin my reputation and career by falsely accusing me.  They fired Julian on false accusations.  The Mayor and his goons thought they would win.  Guess what?  I'm still here, writing, and telling you the truth.  So, who's winning?

I'm a lawyer.  I know Constitutional Law.  I know my rights.  I have a good family.  I'm not poor.  And, I have the training to discover several of the City's illegal schemes.  I often wonder: What would happen if I caved into their terrorizing?  I think it'd be a long time before someone else would come and try again.  Furthermore, if I give up, what kind of message does it send to my boxers and to others?  What kind of message does it send to the people here?  

It sends this one: If you challenge Baldwin Park, Baldwin Park will crush you.  And maybe, they will crush me.  (God knows, the Mayor desperately and illegally tries to.)  But we all need to keep trying, so we give hope to others.  If we keep persisting, one of two things will happen.  Either, we are victorious and people know that a corrupt regime can be brought down by the very few who care.  Or, if we fail, the world will know how cruel these public officials were to their own people.  In either case, we win; they lose.

Someone asked me if being jailed was bad.  Not really.  Because while I was in there, I thought a lot about Sophie Scholl.  Scholl, like myself, got locked up at the age of 22, for distributing flyers.  Except, her articles exposed the Nazis for killing Jews in the Eastern Front.  During this time, the general public didn't know this was happening.  She stood trial in front Judge Freisler, who condemned her to death for high treason at a hearing closed to the public.  Her father pounded on the court door to see his daughter's trial.  The Nazis never let him in.  So, he waited outside and sobbed.  Sentenced to death in the morning, the executioner chopped off Scholl's head the same afternoon.  In her and her father's lifetime, her death achieved nothing.

So, when I thought about this girl who knew she would die for telling the truth, I realized being jailed for three hours was nothing to complain about.  I tell the City, just as she confronted the judge who sentenced her to death, "I am, now as before, of the opinion that I did the best that I could do for my nation. I therefore do not regret my conduct and will bear the consequences that result from my conduct.”

(Note, picture above is reprinted with permission from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.  It's a picture of my boxers supporting me after I defeated the evil City Attorney, Robert Tafoya, at court.  Behind me from left to right: Erik Garcia, Alejandro Vera, Julian Casas, Lyle Ybarra.  Thanks to the Tribune and all those who supported me that day; I'll never forget it.)

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