Opinion - Saratoga Springs Politics

The below blog posts are written by John Kaufmann.
These opinions do not reflect the views of Saratoga TODAY newspaper.

Monday, 01 May 2023 09:25

A Cynical Alliance Between Lex Figuereo (BLM) and Mayor Ron Kim?

By John Kaufmann | Saratoga Springs Politics
A Cynical Alliance Between Lex Figuereo (BLM) and Mayor Ron Kim?
When Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino pursued charges against Black Lives Matter activists for disrupting City Council meetings, Mayor Ron Kim and the other City Council members accused him of racism and sexism. Now according to area media, Mayor Kim has instructed Assistant City Attorney Michael Phillips to seek an order from a judge banning one of those activists, Bridgette Barr (sometimes referred to as Bridgette Parisi), from City Council meetings. Curiously Kim has not been the subject of a similar attack from either his colleagues on the Council or BLM.
It is interesting that at the April 18 meeting of the Council, the BLM people attacked Commissioner Montagnino for charging Figuereo for disrupting the previous meeting but made no objection to the same charges brought against Barr, a white woman.
In a related development, Lex Figuereo told the media that Barr is not a member of Black Lives Matter, and the media reported this as though it were a fact.
So I texted Figuereo to try to determine why Ms. Barr was excluded from being a member of BLM. I asked him, "What are the requirements to be a Saratoga BLM member?"
Figuereo responded to my text by asking who I was. After I responded with my name, he at first didn't answer and then texted me this:
Figuereo: Just be anti racist why you trying to join if u wanna be a man to man conversation that's great.
BloggerTexting works for me. How do people become members of Saratoga BLM?
FiguereoWell, Texting doesn't work for me. You also didn't greet me when you sent me questions. Insulting, I would say. When you learn to speak with respect, maybe, just maybe, you can talk to me. If not, you can continue running with your false narrative when you don't even know us. Good day sir.
Saratoga BLM has no formal membership. There are no BLM dues, membership cards, or lists. Apparently, Lex Figuereo is the czar of the local BLM activists, deciding on his own who gets to enjoy the status of membership.
At the April 4, 2023, City Council meeting, Barr actively participated with Figuereo and other BLM activists in disrupting the meeting. It was impossible to distinguish her role from Figuereo's and the other BLM people.
In fact, Barr, along with Figuereo, both breached the cordon that separated the Council from the public. Both continually shouted at the Council. Barr grabbed the microphone used by Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino, and Figuereo grabbed the microphone from Mayoral candidate Chris Mathiesen. So why was Figuereo so insistent that Bridgette Barr was not a member of BLM?
Judge Skeptical In Response To City
Both City Court Judges Vero and Wait recused themselves in both the Figuereo case and the Barr case. Judge Constantine F. DeStefano was brought in to preside.
Mayor Kim sent the new Assistant City Attorney Michael Phillips to pursue an order of some kind to block Barr, but not Figuereo, from attending future Council meetings. It did not go well for Mr. Phillips.
Judge DeStefano first questioned why Phillips thought he had standing to bring this motion before the court. Phillips tried to ignore the judge's question at first but finally acknowledged that it was indeed the prosecutor's sole prerogative to ask for the court's action not his.
Judge DeStefno next wondered why the city was only pursuing charges against Barr when Figuereo was alleged to have exhibited the same behavior.
Phillips responded that Barr represented a greater danger of violence and that the city was pursuing this case to try to help Barr.
The judge then expressed concern that Phillips had spoken to the press concerning Barr's mental health history without having a HIPPA release (the federal requirement that protects the release of patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge) and that it looked like a violation. Judge DeStefano told Phillips he planned to consider the matter further.
Throwing Bridgette Barr Under The Bus
So how to explain Figuereo's sudden interest in creating a BLM membership list that didn't include Barr. As Figuereo's narrative is that charges brought against BLM are racist and about suppressing their free speech, Kim, given his earlier attack on Montagnino's actions, was in a bind when he wanted to pursue a similar court order against Barr. Figuereo seems to have conveniently given Kim a pass by simply pronouncing that Barr was not a member of BLM.
Apparently, for Mayor Kim, if you're not a member of BLM, court orders against you don't represent an infringement on your free speech. Consistency has never been a priority for either Kim or Figuereo.
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