Monday night, April 19, I got to speak to the Keizer City Council about a lovely community garden I’ve had the honor of helping build. 

As the council meeting went on, public testimony mostly focused on some very good points regarding the double standard in the attacks on Councilor Roland Herrera. Most of the council members were respectful as they heard opposing views. Except for Councilor Ross Day. 

He dodged answering any direct questions and instead tried to make the conversation about himself. That’s where I started seeing similarities between him and my stepfather. My stepfather would constantly gaslight my mother in his verbal attacks on her and would make any conversation about himself to not have to hear what others are saying. Then to prove his fictional points he would cut her off as she was speaking. That’s exactly the same abuse seen in Councilor Day at that City Council meeting. 

It got so bad that I shouted, “Let her talk!” before I had to leave the room due to the intrusive memories of the domestic violence my cousins suffered through with their abusive boyfriends, my friends through with their abusive fathers and the vision of abuse I hope my daughters never have to go through. Keizer City Council meetings should be inclusive and welcoming for all. That cannot happen with a councilor who has shown a pattern of gaslighting and bullying Keizer citizens with tactics commonly used in domestic violence cases. What does that say to Keizer residents living here at the Simonka Place Domestic Violence Shelter? What does that say to our largest demographic of individuals who live here? What does that say to our newest Keizer resident that the city council only five minutes earlier tried to recruit for volunteering with the Girl Scouts? 

It says that Keizer does not respect women. I want to call for Mayor Cathy Clark to ask Councilor Ross Day to make a public apology for his abusive tactics towards women. If he cannot bring himself to be genuinely sorry for his ways, then I call for him to resign. That abuse towards women is not the Keizer Way and has no place in Keizer leadership. Lastly, I want to commend Michele Roland-Schwartz for staying cool and collected. How she managed to stay so calm after the barrage of verbal abuse gave me empathy for what women must go through everyday in private, in public and at work. She is the beacon of hope we need in Keizer.

RJ and Lucy Navarro

Keizer