Mariluz Garcia Washoe County Commissioner

Playing the victim

and enlarging the victim circle

At the Board of County Commissioner’s meeting on July 11, 2023, Commissioner Mariluz Garcia scolded public commenters, those present and not present, for daring to exercise their free speech rights by commenting on various agenda items. At the beginning and ending of the meeting, she spent over 9 total minutes speaking about herself and accusing public commenters of wrongdoing over the past 6 months. She complained that their comments did not follow the commission’s rules and did not show “respect and decorum” during the meetings. Her comments, designed to portray herself as a victim of disrespect, also attempted to enlarge the “victim” group. She claimed that public commenters “demoralized and deflated” county staff when criticisms were delivered to board members, and that public commenters were responsible for county employees being “nervous” when presenting to the board.

The Real Point of the Scoldings

Her comments are nothing but a strategic move to portray herself and all county staff as victims in order to deny the public’s right to criticize individual commissioners and the board as whole. It’s curious that Garcia doesn’t recognize these victims:

• The children who are victims of the child pornography being placed in libraries across the county. Images of children in sexual activity with adults are in some of these books! Garcia supports the library board trustees and Library Director Jeff Scott who push the pornographic books into libraries under the stated goal of making libraries representative of all constituent groups. It appears that library trustees and the director believe that pedophiles and groomers need recognition in public libraries.

• County taxpayers who are bilked of their tax dollars by funding Garcia’s pet political agenda nonprofits. She has already given many thousands of taxpayer dollars to several extreme left groups to fund their activities (and buy their votes in the upcoming election).

• Citizens’ rights to fair elections when Garcia supported contracting with “The Elections The Elections Group business card backGroup” to overhaul Washoe’s Election Department. This outside organization is aligned with Zuckerberg money and other questionable organizations. She supported the group even after other cities where The Election Group had previously worked warned Washoe County, “avoid the group at all costs and don’t let them anywhere near your elections.”
• Senior citizens who are victims of Garcia’s votes to spend multiple times more on the homeless industrial complex than on services for seniors.

Instead, she proclaims that the well-paid county employees in comfortable offices are victims because public commenters dare to criticize commissioners’ actions and votes.

Devon Reese Mariluz Garcia attend drag story hour at Downtown Library

Photo credit S. Tibbits

Garcia’s many accusations against commenters were exaggerated or outright lies. Having attended many County Commission meetings myself, I have not seen nor heard any “regular commenters’” words or actions that even approach her accusations. Additionally, she complained about a 75 year-old woman asking a harmless conversational question while Garcia was waiting in line with her children to attend a recent Drag Story Hour. She also complained that her picture was taken at the same time. As a reminder to Garcia, it is fully legal to film or photograph public figures in public locations.

Based on Garcia’s comments at this Commission meeting, she expects public commenters to only deliver accolades and obsequious pleas for assistance in county matters. She need only look to the behavior of Commissioners Jeanne Herman and Mike Clark to learn proper and respectful interaction with constituents. As a reminder, the commissioner role is not as a leader, but as a public servant. Garcia and Chair Alexis Hill might begin to demonstrate respect by reinstating the initial public comment period on the agenda, an item that Chair Hill unilaterally removed from the agenda several meetings ago. Commissioners Clark and Herman have repeatedly requested that initial public comment be returned to meeting agendas. They also have asked for the issue to be placed on a future agenda to discuss and vote on a motion to return it, so constituents may know which commissioners prefer to not hear from constituents. Returning initial public comment might convince constituents that Garcia “really does want to hear” from constituents.

At the conclusion of the meeting, one attendee said, “Basically Commissioner Garcia used the points right out of Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ playbook. There were several people in the audience who felt bullied. There were some new attendees, who had never attended or spoke at a commission meeting before who ended up being discouraged from even speaking out and exercising their First Amendment right.”

Most disturbing, Garcia’s comments highlight her ignorance of the US Constitution. She conveniently disregards all constituent rights by infringing on the public’s First Amendment rights. Per the 1964 US Supreme Court case New York Times versus Sullivan in which the Court asserted,

“[We] consider this case against the background of profound national commitment to the principal that debate on public issues shall be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

That’s US Supreme Court Constitutional case law in this nation.

Respect is earned. Respect will be given to individual commissioners when they respect the rights and wishes of constituents and not a moment before. Respect will be given when both Commissioner Garcia and Chair Alexis Hill begin to acknowledge that county policies and regulations do not supersede citizens’ First Amendment rights.

Call to Action

It’s time to stand up for your rights before they are taken from us by individuals who believe they are our leaders, not our servants. Show up at future County Commission meetings and speak up.

V. White

(The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Nevada Signal.)