Room on the Board?

The Nov. 19 Washington City Paper article “Blind Spot in a Business Suit,” written with a very condescending tone, exposed my troubled legal background and one still unresolved legal matter. The article was frankly embarrassing and hurtful.

Over the course of the last five years of living in D.C., I have worked hard as a contributing member in a broad spectrum of community organizations and causes. Currently, I am chair of the D.C. Latino Chamber of Commerce, president of the Recreation Wish List Committee, treasurer of the D.C. Latino Civil Rights Center, a member of the board of directors of the D.C. Rotary Club, and a member of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

While I regret my past, I must say I am enormously proud of my service to the Latino community and to D.C. in general.

I must say, I had certainly wondered how the City Paper article would read. I was shocked and staggered to find it so harsh and scathing.

One rendition I had imagined was more along the lines of “In a complex life, here is a man with a somewhat checkered background, now throwing so much of himself into the pursuit of goodness.” A second version I’d imagined was a more mixed one, more of a “wanting to do the right thing” aspect. I had hopefully expected a commentary on how an original sense of poverty often builds a sense of rage to strike out against mistreatment of all people, with a strong, compelling drive to contribute to making things better.

But the article represented the complete opposite. I was understandably devastated by what I read. Some of the facts represented were true. The slanted tone and the configuration were cruel, destructive, and unfair.

I am writing this letter in recognition of the fact that there is little I can do to reverse the damage this article has succeeded in doing to me and the organizations mentioned. While I detest the fact that the editor of this paper allowed it to be written unchecked, I realize the harm it has done, the consequences to the community service positions I hold and the organizations I am involved in.

I hold most dear and feel good about being a citizen who devotes and has the energy to work for these organizations and their causes. I believe in the missions and objectives of each of them. And I am truly proud of this.

The City Paper article has clearly brought about a problem because of its negative slant. I recognize that my continued visibility can be problematic or troublesome. I regret this and personally hope that the consequences of this article do not hinder or hurt any of the organizations that I represent or their goals. I hope that my efforts are to be considered positive. Contributing in this process of service is not a quest for personal status.

This letter intends to inform you that I stand very flexible in terms of the decisions the organizations I represent make. If and when there is a strong consensus for me to leave, I will, for the good of the organization. If there is a consensus for me to stay, I will happily do just that.

I face a daily struggle as to the best decision to make regarding this situation. I do not wish to quit, but I do not want to hurt the organizations I serve.

I want to close by expressing my regrets that this article may have compromised the integrity of the organizations I represent. My goal was to simply contribute to various community service organizations. I appreciate the willingness, support, and strength of those in the community who are supporting me as I resolve this matter.

Dupont Circle