If you’ve ever regretted sending an e-mail, you’ve got a good idea about how Watsonville Councilman Manuel Bersamin feels about now.
Bersamin probably didn’t think that the e-mail would become public. He admits to not completely thinking through the content. Thursday, two days after a story about what’s been called a “racially divisive” e-mail appeared in the Sentinel, Bersamin delivered a letter to the editor via e-mail.
The letter apologizes to his colleagues on the council, to the city staff and to the community for the e-mail sent in hopes of disuading a band from playing at a rival berry festival in August. ( Click on the “Playing the race card” link at the right under Recent Posts to read Bersamin’s original e-mail.)
“Mainly my reason for writing (the letter to the Sentinel) was that I wanted to say to the people of Watsonville I’m sorry if it came off like I’m just pro-Latino, which I am not,” Bersamin said.
Here is the letter to the editor, dated July 23:
Everyone has, at one time or another, sent an email they regret. My email to Dr. Gonzalez, Malo’s manager, is one that I wrote with passion and love for my community, but it is also one that I regret sending because it does not reflect my compassion for the community as a whole.
In retrospect, the language used does not accurately reflect my true feelings about the diverse Watsonville community and the complex history of the Pajaro Valley, nor does it reflect how I feel about the Watsonville community with its great diversity of culture.
I apologize that my email has cause the City Council, City staff and the Watsonville community to be distracted from what should be our top priorities. With the worst economic situation in California history happening right now, we really need to focus on the ramifications of the just approved State budget and its resulting terrible impact on our local community. We need to focus on the priority of finding creative ways for the community to survive the economic downturn affecting our city, state and country.
Again I apologize for any of the negative effects that my email may have caused, and I wish both Strawberry Festivals much success.
Manuel Quintero Bersamin
City Council, District 1