Teen center surfaces again

Last month City Hall decided to walk away from nonprofit group Fathers and Families of San Joaquin – who the City Council had previously endorsed to run the Gary and Janice Podesto Impact Teen Center downtown – over concerns about infighting within the group.

During public comments at this week’s City Council meeting, Motecuzoma Patrick Sanchez, a former mayoral candidate and local activist who joined the Fathers and Families board in 2008 and has claimed to be its rightful leader, told council members he worried that Sammy Nunez – who co-founded Fathers and Families – was still claiming to be the head of the organization.

Sanchez read an e-mail he sent back in April and whose recipients included the mayor, city manager, city attorney and council members. In it, he stated the Fathers and Families board (the makeup of that board has been part of the dispute) fired Nunez and that Nunez did not represent the organization.

Sanchez also read aloud an e-mailed response from Councilwoman Susan Eggman, a social worker:

I would suggest we not respond to this. As a mental health professional I would suggest we have no further contact with Mr Sanchez.

Sanchez has questioned how much Eggman, who served on the teen center contract selection committee, knew about the group’s inner turmoil. Eggman has said she did not know until after the council vote and that she had been repeatedly assured by Nunez that everything was being worked out.

Asked Thursday about her e-mail reply to Sanchez, Eggman said: “When he sent that e-mail, the decision (to walk away from Fathers and Families) had already been made. … It had already blown up. I thought we probably shouldn’t be responding to him. If I were a plumber on the council, and if I could see the sewer backing up, I would still feel obligated to offer a professional opinion.”

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