“Freedom of speech,” Carmel Pine Cone – May 5, 2023
In the spring of 2020, a Pacific Grove City Council member, Jenny McAdams, saw some decals on a truck. These decals didn’t fit her political agenda. She took her complaints to Police Chief Cathy Madalone and demanded she find the person who owned the truck. I find it outrageous that Madalone even considered this demand. The police chief is paid by the taxpayers. Is it her job to track down an individual for a city councilwoman? But she did, only to find the truck belonged to Michael Gonazles, a young police officer who had been awarded Police Officer of the Year in 2017. He obviously was an outstanding officer.
The chief gave this information to McAdams, who then proceeded to dig into the young man’s social media account. McAdams didn’t like what she found and demanded Gonazles be fired. Madalone, with the approval of the city manager, Ben Harvey, fired Gonzales. This is very troubling. Two people in public office violated Gonzales’s First Amendment rights. It is also unfortunate that Madalone didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to defend her outstanding officer.
But it didn’t end there. A resident Randy Fairgarden, created a flyer and sent it to various California police departments warning them not to hire this young man. This action is slanderous. Fairgarden and Adams have never been held accountable for the damage they did to this young man.
Gonzales was denied his freedom of speech. If this could happen to an upstanding young man at the hands of a few people, don’t think it can’t happen to you. If you want to keep your freedom, you need to take action and stand up and be heard.
Lorree Hampton, Pacific Grove