Atwater Racist Emails

July 18, 2009 12:17:31 AM PDT
An Atwater city council member is apologizing tonight for forwarding several racist e-mails to other city leaders. Action News obtained copies of those e-mails from the Merced Sun Star. The emails were sent out by Councilman Gary Frago. Frago said they were meant to be a joke, but many people aren't laughing, calling them offensive and racist. "They weren't sent as a racist, viscous act. They were sent as a very stupid act, and I don't know how many times I can say tell you I'm sorry."

Atwater city councilman Gary Frago is defending himself after e-mails he sent out surfaced in Friday's Merced-Sun Star newspaper. "If I could retract them all, knowing what I know now, I would retract all of them."

The paper obtained 7 different e-mails sent from Frago's personal account between October 2008 and February 2009.

The "n" word was used in one of those emails. Another said, Sarah Palin received an offer from Playboy, while Michelle Obama got an offer from National Geographic.

Frago did not write the original e-mails. But he did forward them to several city leaders, including assistant city manager, Stan Feathers. Feathers said he deleted the e-mails after receiving them on his Atwater city business account.

"I think certainly we know that the councilmember is sincerely apologizes for what happened. I think where we go are we become more sensitive to these kinds of issues."

Although city leaders say they don't condone Frago's behavior, at this point, they have no plans to punish him. Atwater resident Al Mayfield feels differently. "I'd like to see his resignation immediately."

Mayfield said no apology will make up for the damage Frago has caused."He hasn't hurt just me. He's hurt the future. Those kids that heard their dad yell out and read to the mom what he sent. That's who he's hurt. He can't apologize to me, and be done."

Mayfield plans to speak at the next Atwater city council meeting on July 27th. There, he'll ask for Frago's resignation.

Meanwhile, Frago said he has no plans to resign. Atwater officials are in the process of implementing an e-mail policy for city workers.

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