San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club Response to falsehoods made by previous executive board

Dear San Francisco Community At Large,

This letter is to address the statement released on November 9th, 2022 on social media channels and to the San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club membership list without the consent and approval of the membership. It is unfortunate and saddens us that this issue continues to be so public, when these attacks only harm the Latino community. We were hoping to avoid such a public rebuke of former disgruntled board members but since misinformation is so common in this day and age, used for self promoting agendas, we believe that facts matter, and we are happy to address the facts in this letter below:

Fact #1:Toxic environment was led from the top down, and could have easily been remedied by those in power.

Board members claimed toxicity from a few individuals on the board, when all 9 resigning board members (Alondra Esquivel, Joshua Rudy Ochoa, Imelda Carrasco, Robert Sandoval, Venecia Margarita, Anabel Ibanez, Mario Flores, Pepe Rodriguez, and Vanessa Tapia) were all in the majority to be able to vote on internal policies to create and foster a safe space for healthy political discussion.


Multiple board members in the minority raised concerns early on the lack of procedure and process exhibited by this voting block majority of the board. This included:

  • Refusing to follow the by-laws consistently, holding secret meetings and subcommittee meetings without informing the rest of the board and membership
  • Making unilateral appointments to the board. In fact, 5 of the board members were appointed in this process, without being vetted by the membership or the appointment process being opened up to our membership to apply. 
  • If disagreements happened, there was retaliation against those dissenting. The majority board members refused multiple opportunities and requests for mediation from the 4 board members (all of whom identify as queer) trying to find harmony and shared understanding with the board. There was no reciprocation, despite multiple efforts to engage in a healthy healing process.


Fact #2: Poor financial decisions by the former presidents (Venecia Margarita and Anabel Ibanez). The presidents made poor financial decisions by buying t-shirts in bulk for $3,000, which had to be paid back to her, putting the club in more debt than previously before. This last poorly attended fundraiser in November 2022 only netted $6,000, and $2,000 was spent on venue + food, and the rest went back to paying back this president, truly netting $1000. The organizing of engaging new members into the club by the People’s Slate actually raised a little over $1000 from dues alone. In addition, the former presidents used club finances for personal expenses, including for a $130 dinner on September 16th at Chao Pescao for Ms. Ibanez’s birthday. This expense was not approved by the full executive board, nor can be reflected in the minutes anywhere, and 3 executive board members were not invited.


Fact #3: Board members were not performing their duties outlined in the bylaws.

It was disappointing how the board was run, given that multiple board members were not completing their elected or appointed duties. One of the LDC Co-Presidents (Anabel Ibanez) missed half of the board meetings and general membership meetings over their two year terms, and were late by hours to the rest of the meetings. The other president sent agendas 10 minutes before the executive board meetings were conducted, did not allow for executive board members to submit items unless it was approved by the president, and poorly facilitated meetings where the Co-Chairs would consistently take personal attacks against members and board members, as well as allow the meetings to consistently go 4+ hours with items of contention as way of disengaging membership participation.


The other board members:

Chicano Latino Caucus Reps (Imelda Carrasco and Vanessa Tapia) - Never once attended a meeting in the year they were appointed. Our current CLC rep has been attending the meetings all year, despite not being in the official role. There was never outreach to step into this role from the previous members. On the contrary, one of these board members (Vanessa Tapia) missed 6 board meetings from the time they were appointed, while not even being a resident of San Francisco. The other (Imelda Carrasco) tried to do fundraisers, events, and political actions outside of their scope of work as a board member, consistently attempting to undermine the Political Action chairs. Additionally, this board member was advised multiple times that they must recuse themselves from the Political Action committee due to their status as a paid campaign manager for the Prop G campaign, according to the bylaws. She refused and continuously would be an obstructionist to procedure and process.

Parliamentarians (Alondra Esquivel and Joshua Ochoa)- Did not update any of the by-laws in the time they served, and held one parliamentary committee meeting at the end of the year in October. The parliamentarians routinely ignored the by-laws as a way of supporting the presidents, despite pushback from members calling for the by-laws to be followed to a tee. One of these parliamentarians was appointed in May unilaterally by the president, missed half of the eboard meetings till September, and advocated and voted against the reinstating an undocumented board member (referenced later). 

Communications (Mario Flores) - The Co-VP of communications refused to give access to the social media accounts to his Co-Vice President, and was inconsistent on his social media activity. This came after resigning two years prior from the SFLDC board after not doing his elected role as treasurer, despite being trained numerous times.


Fact #4: Use of names without consent, as well as lack of honesty around club finances. The letter mentions former Treasurer Karla Garcia without her consent, as well as gravely misrepresents the transparency the debt the club had accrued from the 2018 LDC leadership. Members were informed multiple times after the debt was incurred through various membership meetings, and there are multiple members serving on the executive board. In fact, both former presidents attended a club function at the 2019 CADEM convention that they are now criticizing the leadership for hosting.This information has been publicly available for years now.


Fact 5#: Lack of operational competency. The club presidents of the 2021-2022 Executive board did not attempt to get access to the club bank accounts until the month of June 2021, halfway through their first term, after the current PAC chair at the time discovered that the website was down, during a club panel. After calling for an emergency meeting, both PAC chairs were retaliated against and access to the bank accounts wasn’t obtained until the month of September 2021. To date -  the former presidents have refused to give the current club leadership access to the Facebook account. 


Fact #6: Lack of expediency or effort to engage on issues impacting the Latinx community. The club leadership failed to meet the moment on pressing issues that impacted the Latino community, whether it was a poorly written statement a month later about Mayor London Breed’s racist remarks about Hondurans, or lack of executive board participation on organizing around racist remarks from former Board of Education members, or on redistricting efforts. The organizing came from the Political Action Committee, as well as the Cultural Affairs, not the rest of the board.


Fact # 8: No illegal actions were ever taken, including a fundraiser

There was no fundraiser done representing the SFLDC. 


Fact #9: Resigning a week before an open election, just because the results were clear. The mass resignation by the board majority happened a week before the first contested LDC election in 10 years, due to the organizing done to engage members new and returning to save the club from a culture of incompetence. Quitting a week before the election and disparaging the club board members claim to care about speaks for itself. It’s also clear what the results were, with nearly 80% of the membership calling for the People’s Slate to be elected.


Fact #10:  REMOVAL OF AN UNDOCUMENTED INDIVIDUAL IN THE SAN FRANCISCO LATINX DEMOCRATIC CLUB. The discriminatory culture came from those in power, and was clearly shown when Luis Avalos (Co-VP of Communications) was targeted by affiliation by one of the Co-Presidents. This incident involved said president saying Luis was removed from the board, with no notification of this action with cause, and then claiming his dues were not up to date, despite having no way to check if his dues were current or waived due to his undocumented status, which the president could have done at any time. Despite this, the president engaged in anti-immigrant behavior by removing this board member from an executive board meeting he was entitled to attend, both as a general member and exec board member. Thankfully, our membership undid this wrong, and reinstated Luis with over 2/3 of the membership supporting him. However, multiple board members voted to keep him removed. This board also conveniently resigned before issuing an overdue apology to Mr. Avalos, that should have come from them, given they were the ones responsible for his removal. 

Fact #11: Toxic gossip culture of lies, mistruths and denial 

Blatantly lying is unethical, but also a common theme from the former board leadership, spreading rumors and deceit. Plainly speaking, this board did not perform the functions of the club as required to be a successful and thriving organization. However, they continue to spread mistruths as a way of covering their own faults. 

Change happens. The SFLDC  membership decided it was time for new leadership, resoundingly by their votes of 80% voting for the People’s Slate. Perhaps those same disgruntled board members who resigned by above saw it coming and instead of seeing the change through and transitioning diplomatically, seemed to care more about burning  the club down on their way out via mass resignation and a letter that not only added members names to it who did not give their permission, but also disparaged long standing members actually doing the work. Given the grave disregard for the truth mentioned by them in the former letter, we would advise anyone working with any of those individuals to exercise caution.

A final word

The work we do going forward as a club has spoken for itself, creating systems and moving our meetings back to in-person. The San Francisco Latinx Democratic Club is back to a community led and community focused club, majority women led. We have an action driven board whose values are progressive. We are moving forward with a leadership who won’t trade their values when the next endorsement season approaching, or bend rules to advance their personal agendas. There’s work ahead, but we’ll grow and continue to serve and uplift the community with a Latino led agenda.