Below is a letter I am submitting to Brentwood Coty Council. It is something residents should be concerned with.
I am writing in concern to the amount of time Councilwomen Rarey and Mendoza spoke about their work with Las Hijas del Campo.
As much as I appreciate the hard work Las Hijas are putting in, it is important to recognize that Councilwoman Mendoza has a conflict of interest allocating so much time and accolades to her sister’s organization. In fact, since I wrote my initial comment, it has come to my attention that Councilwoman Mendoza is a founder of the organization.
The simple fact Councilwoman Mendoza has given public space and allocated her work as a public servant to a non-profit she has founded is a horrible use of her time as an elected official and a clear red flag. She is using her status as a public servant to highlight and provide accolades to an organization that she not only founded, but she is still doing a ton of work with.
Had Councilwoman Mendoza even taken the time to disclose her relationship to the organization, her capacity to make fair, unbiased decisions would not be in question.
Yet – it is clear she is using her position as a public servant to benefit personally. At first, I was questioning her stance due to the immediate family relationship – yet the simple fact she is a founder and active shows there is a direct conflict of interest in her touting the organization and her position as a public servant.
It is a clear conflict of interest and unethical for her to dedicate most of the weekly reports (from the City Council meeting on Feb 9, 2021, at approximately the 30-minute mark of the meeting) to her contributions to the community to her sister. In fact, Las Hijas del Campo is not yet a formalized, legal non-profit 501(C)3 entity. Currently, they have no federal or state documentation. They do nice local work – however, it reflects poorly on the council, specifically Councilwoman Mendoza and the non-profit. In fact, it looks poorly on the entire council when there is time allocated to an organization that has not taken the correct legal steps to work as a nonprofit. And an organization in which Mendoza is a founder and has not taken the time to state her relationship with the organization as a founder.
There are dozens of certified, legal non-profit organizations in Brentwood. It would be wonderful if our elected officials would dedicate their time to actual organizations that are not directly associated with a family member — and the organizations that will not directly benefit from the free support of the local, elected officials because they are family.
I am the founder of a non-profit that has worked tediously with the local homeless population, including the same “campesino” population that Las Hijas de Campo works with. Not only do I work with an overlooked population, but I have also sat down with Brentwood City leadership to seek support and partnership, including the City Manager, Chief of Police, and officers dedicated to the homeless. I partner regularly with the City of Brentwood Parks and Recreation to provide food for feeding programs in the city and was able to work with the local fire department to provide Christmas trees to local families in need. My nonprofit also works with the students at Los Medanos in their weekly food distribution program.
It is a direct conflict of interest that Councilwoman Mendoza is using her platform as an elected official to support and give accolades to her organization.
Las Hijas can benefit directly from the support of Councilwoman Mendoza, in terms of financial gain, status, and increased opportunities for more support and access to resources. Councilwoman Mendoza is not disclosing the family relationship or the simple fact she is a founder. Why is she hiding this fact?
Her negligence in non-disclosure has shown she is untrustworthy and using her role as a public servant for personal gain.
Please reach out to me with more questions. My non-profit was founded in 2013 and is in good standing with both federal and state government entities and serving the Brentwood community in collaboration with leadership. Ms. Mendoza should be mindful of using her power for the personal gain and benefit of her family. It is unethical, makes Brentwood’s leadership look undesirable, and makes me question the other ways Ms. Mendoza will use her power to answer to her personal agenda and personal gain.
George A. Guevara
Founder of My Angel’s Inc