Dear Mayor Jung,
As you may have noticed, I left the room during the State of the City address last Wednesday. I am writing to make clear that I did not leave due to any other commitments or appointments. Rather, I was deeply disappointed in the treatment of Councilman Zahra in the speech. As Fullerton’s elected official chosen by a Council majority to represent our city and thereby give this speech, you had a responsibility to represent all of Fullerton. It was shocking and embarrassing to our city those personal vendettas were aired in this way.
The disrespect shown to Councilman Zahra not only insults his five years of public service, during which he has uplifted our most underserved communities, led the effort to clean up water PFAS contamination in District 5, and promoted economic growth in our Harbor corridor, but also was a direct rebuke to all those he represents. Councilman Zahra is not only the first representative to specifically serve District 5, he is also the first Muslim and the first LGBTQ+ person to serve on the Fullerton City Council. For his public service and his commitment to his constituents, he deserved to be shown the same respect shown to other members of the Council.
Fullerton is an inclusive, multicultural, forward-looking city that is united in our common goal of building the city of our future while respecting our historic past. Our Mayor must promote those values for the common good. If you wish to continue as Mayor of Fullerton, it is your responsibility in that position to represent our city well and to put aside your own interests when you are acting as our Mayor. I urge you to immediately and publicly apologize to Councilman Zahra.
Dr. Shana Charles, Council member, Fullerton, D3
The event was live-streamed and is available on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-lIEjgJI_8 (Mayor’s speech begins around 1:20)