Richard Freeman is the Vallejo Times-Herald Community Editor. In the following leaked email exchange he expounds on his his self-described "Conspiracy Theory" regarding District 3 council candidate Louis Michael. He's floating this garbage to the City's Communications and Public Information Officer. We will let the eloquent Vessels response speak to the outrageous characterizations of Mr. Michael and citizens exercising their right to demonstrate for police reform.
We have to call out the insulting label he applies to the other District 3 candidate, Mina Diaz. Freedman says Louis Michael is running against "Sunday," a pop culture reference that may not be familiar to everyone. Google the question "What is a Sunday girlfriend?" and you see the following from Definition-of.com:
"Definition - Sunday girl -rate (Adult / Slang) - A weekend mistress. See mistress for synonyms."
Or this from the Urban Dictionary site:
This so-called theory sounds very much like a racist and misogynist VPOA line of attack pushed by someone who has been cozy with that organization for years. So much for unbiased journalism. This is an unqualified disgrace and illustrative of the kind of talk that circulates among defenders of the status quo in our town. Time to expose the lot of them and root them out.
Vessels of Vallejo Response to Leaked Correspondence Between Richard Freedman and Christina Lee
The email by Rich Freedman of the Vallejo Times-Herald to the City’s Public Information Officer, Christina Lee, is a perfect example of the exact system of power in Vallejo we are trying to deconstruct. Why did Freedman feel comfortable sharing his racist—and completely incorrect theory—with the City’s Public Information Officer? Likely because this conversation is not out of the norm for them at all. As always, the government and the press work in tandem to undermine movements that seek to enact change via disruption of the status quo.
The status quo, in Vallejo’s case, being a town where police are free to murder members of our community without repercussion for frivolous things such as riding a bike without a headlamp (Rest in Power Ronell “Catdaddy” Foster), falling asleep in their cars (Rest in Power Willie McCoy), or arguing over a parking spot (Rest in Power Eric Reason). The status quo, in Vallejo’s case, being a town where out of 45 officers whose misconduct led to monetary payouts in the last decade, all but 15 have since been promoted. The status quo, in Vallejo’s case, being a town where a group of murderers in the Vallejo Police Department celebrate killing members of our community with barbecues, beers, and bent badges, and they are protected from any and all consequences for their disgusting behavior by City Manager Greg Nyhoff.
In a town where the above is the status quo, how can you expect the community to remain silent when the city continues to ignore these issues? Members of our community, and especially the families of those affected by police violence in Vallejo, want their voices to be heard by our elected officials. Instead, City Council silenced public comment. Vessels of Vallejo is proud to have given our community a chance to address Council directly via our caravan protest. Was anyone hurt? No. Were any threats made? No. Was any property damaged? No. Did anyone so much as set foot on any Council Member’s property? No.
In stark contrast, those with whom we stand in solidarity are fighting for their voices to be heard. They have had loved ones stolen from them by murderers on Vallejo PD’s payroll as a result of Council’s decisions and the City’s inaction. Freedman, Lee, and City Council are free to propagate whatever lies they feel they must in order to maintain their facade of victimhood. But that will not change the reality that a community that is tired of their leadership continuously failing to protect them is uniting together and making their voices heard. Not only was it beautiful, it is the type of community solidarity that Vallejo needs. It is sad—and frankly abhorrent—that our City Council and local press would propagate lies and racist “conspiracy theories” to undermine the raw emotions and sentiment that were expressed.
Everything in Freedman’s conspiracy theory is false. (1) No member of Vessels of Vallejo “insulted” Council Member Dew’s daughter. In fact, a member of Vessels (Louis Michael) got on speaker and asked the crowd to please refrain from using vulgar language as Dew’s daughter was present. Council Member Dew even said, “Thank you” yet she continues to lie and say we actively promoted harassment of her family. (2) Vessels had absolutely nothing to do with “vandalizing” Vice Mayor Sunga’s driveway with chalk. However, we do stand in solidarity with those who chose to protest his poor record on Council this way; also that’s not vandalism... it’s chalk.
Points (3) and (4) of Freedman’s theory suggest that Louis Michael orchestrated (1) and (2)—which again, neither he nor any other member of Vessels did—in order to clear the field for his Council run. Not only is this completely false, but also insulting, and with the clear intention of undermining all that was done for our community by framing it as a selfish act. Vessels of Vallejo has maintained a degree of separation from Michael’s campaign for City Council, and we will continue to do so. We have not and will not endorse him nor any other candidate and we will hold him to account just as we would any other candidate or elected official. To conflate the two and refer to Vessels as Michael’s “gang” is belittling and racist.
Again, Rich Freedman’s leaked comments are only a portion of the greater issue of racism in and around Vallejo’s systems and operations. If this is only one leaked email, perhaps the focus should also be on the comfortability with which Vallejo’s people in power correspond with such racism, as it points to more corruption under the surface. What’s still out there that hasn’t been leaked?
Vessels of Vallejo is a community organization made up of individuals who see Vallejo as their home. We are tired of all of the bullshit that our local leaders and local press put us through. Change is coming to Vallejo whether the powers that be like it or not. Best of luck trying to maintain your status quo.