Mill Valley Mayor Holds Listening Session Following Controversial Comments

Megan Goldsby
June 04, 2020 - 4:20 pm
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Related: Four Officers Charged in George Floyd’s Death

An angry group of Mill Valley residents gathered Thursday night in the town's Depot Plaza for a chance to meet with the mayor who has come under fire for controversial comments about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now, Mayor Sashi McEntee said she's encouraging conversation about race as she faces criticism for how she handled a racially-sensitive question at city council meeting Monday. When the mayor arrived Thursday, she took a knee in solidarity with the ongoing national conversation surrounding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Monica Morant, a black woman who lives in Mill Valley, asked her to do so.

"We have got to all be better and have the tough conversations," Morant told the crowd Thursday. "We are not immune to it in MIll Valley and we must take action and we must know that we are of local importance."

Mill Valley's mayor apologizes for insensitive comments about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Megan Goldsby/KCBS Radio

At Monday's city council meeting, Mill Valley resident Bryce Goodman had offered in public comment that he was upset that a sign he posted reading "White Silence Is Violence" was taken down and asked what Mill Valley was doing as a community "to show that Black Lives Matter."

The answer from McEntee has stirred controversy.

"Okay, so thank you very much. It is a council policy that we do not take actions on issues that are not of immediate local importance," McEntee replied.

The response prompted an outcry on social media.

"I'm really sorry about the poor choice of words that has caused pain in this community," McEntee told the community gathering Thursday. "It didn't rise to the moment of the pain and the hurt that we have in this community and I want to apologize for that."

McEntee, who is a woman of color herself, has directed staff to set up a public forum on the city website to address systemic inequities.

"I will be adding to our agenda a review of existing racial inequities and injustice in our city and county so we can develop a plan to address them, including the feedback from the portal and suggestions we have already received," Mayor McEntee said in a statement released Wednesday. "I believe our shared humanity is stronger than our differences. I stand with you ready to find the solutions to heal our community."

"I appreciate (what she said)," Morant told KCBS Radio's Megan Goldsby. "I'm not calling for her resignation. I just wanted to open an opportunity to course correct."

Earlier in Monday's city council meeting, Floyd’s violent and untimely death was addressed by Mill Valley's police chief.

"As the Mill Valley Chief of Police, I want to assure our community, that those actions are not consistent with our training policies or practices," Chief Alan Piombo, Jr. said.

Watch Monday's entire Mill Valley City Council meeting here.