How many times have you heard the phrase “separation of powers” or “separation of church and state” or “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof?” If you haven’t heard it before, maybe study up on the laws and rules of this country they didn’t teach you in public school. In short, it means the church is a separate body, not to be governed by any state or government entity.
In particular, the Catholic Church has been bleeding members for quite some time; basically, in a given year, about 30 members would join the Catholic faith at our church. On average, we lost at least that many due to death in an average month. The numbers do not add up. When the shutdowns started, the church (via the bishop, the controlling entity for the Diocese) said it was ok simply watching Mass on TV or the Internet or listening on the radio, and not participating in the Eucharist (Holy Communion) was ok. Even though the Catholic faith says you must participate in the Eucharist weekly, the church bowed to the State.
While the church did eventually open up outdoor services, it was very limited, and sparsely attended. We started a live stream, but again folks didn’t attend. The church made it comfy for folks to watch Mass in their pajamas while sipping coffee. A few weeks turned into months, which turned into a year plus now. While churches have re-opened, it was to smaller crowds; 100 folks max. They made it easy to opt out as the bishop continued the “you don’t have to attend in person, it still counts” decree.
My point here is a habit is formed over time, and it takes discipline to really form a habit. You have to hold yourself accountable. In the case of the church, folks broke habit. After missing for a couple weeks, it became months, then a year plus. These folks are not likely to return. This is similar to a workout regime at the gym. It takes a while to form a habit, but it can be broken, and once broken, it’s hard to get started again. It’s easy for folks to wake up and turn on the TV. Lord knows, as Americans, we consume enough of that already!
A new habit has been formed, and not a good one for the local parish.
Speaking of the local parishes, let me again use my parish as an example. We have 5 masses each weekend, and weekly collection (AKA the offering) ran about $17K a week prior to Covid. Now it runs about 5K, and I feel that is drastically overstated. Our priest gave a long diatribe about how we are required to give 10% of our annual income to the church. Keep in mind, I have never heard that amount before, and in the Catholic faith, the word “tithing” was always used to describe the Mormon religion, one the Catholics view as a cult. Our priest used his entire sermon to speak about money and finances, lacking any self-awareness that the church shut down for about a year. During that time, many folks hearing his words were out of work or otherwise adversely impacted.
My father remarked that he was surprised that most of the congregation “regulars” at the early Mass had yet to return, speculating they may not have been vaccinated yet. While this thinking is all well and good, the demographics at that Mass are almost exclusively 70 plus in age. These folks have had about 6 months of time to get the shot, and by now, its likely most have received it; however, they just aren’t going to attend service anymore. Think about it, the excuse was “the church is closed” “I will return when I get the shot,” now it’s, “I will return when the numbers go down.” These folks ain’t coming back in large numbers.
The church bent over for the Governor and the state government. It, like any other organization, showed its true colors. They talk a good game, but … The consequence of their action is that most watch EWTN or some other form of online church and have no intention of returning. They are spinless and they showed it. The folks holding out hope for a mass return to the church will be vastly disappointed, its hollow words as far as I am concerned. Nowadays, there is no separation of Church and State and the bishop here proved it to be true. Now the church is concerned about money…yeah that’s rich.
We will be putting a bow on this series next week barring any late breaking news. This blog will be tough to read if you are an enabler of Dominic’s or an elected official in the Sonoma/Windsor area, I even land a clean blow on Windsor City Manager Ken McNab. Reader warning for triggering is advised.
Sonoma Sheriff Mark Essick: Essick is the top law enforcement official in the county, while he denies being “bros” with Dominic, hearsay says he helped squash 2 investigations into his past behavior in Windsor, more on that later. Essick rose through the ranks and when he was a captain in the department, he ran for the top job, winning in 2018. Prior to being elected, he oversaw the contract town of Windsor. (This means Windsor has no formal police department, they pay the county to provide it for them, this is quite common.) Essick and Foppoli overlapped quite a bit in Windsor, as Dominic was appointed to the planning commission in 2013, prior to getting elected to the town council in 2014. My understanding is while the Sheriff may not be good friends with Dominic, they collaborated a lot. Essick recently has come under fire for bullying and harassing Sonoma Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. Back in August, during fire season, sounds like the phone call got heated and the Sheriff threatened the supervisor. An investigation took place and the Sheriff has sued to block the release of the results of the probe…seems kind of like Dominic’s behavior, right? Deny, deny, and blame others. Sheriff Essick, according to a couple sources of mine, is a bully and is known for making disparaging comments about women; even those on his own staff. Essick’s office is leading the probe into the allegations against Dominic, we here at the blog believe he is stifling this or putting his thumb on the scale to delay justice from occurring.
Windsor Police Chief Ruben Martinez: The “chief” can best be described as a real-life Barney Fife or Colonel Klink. While Windsor has no formal police department, he heads up the group of detectives and deputies in charge of the town. Martinez has been described by 3 sources as “not the brightest bulb on the tree” and “seems like more of a political appointee then chief material.” Interim town manager Ken McNab could not be more ecstatic during the press release: check this out!
“Ruben’s background and experience in law enforcement and knowledge of the Windsor community are a perfect fit for us. We are excited to have Ruben serve as our Police Chief and I look forward to his leadership and contributions as he engages with the community. Ruben’s appointment continues the tradition of law enforcement excellence and service that we have come to know and rely on through our relationship with the Sheriff’s Office.”
Think he may regret that statement just a little? But it gets better folks, look at Martinez’s qualifications and past work in the Sheriff Department. Law enforcement assignments during Martinez’s career with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office included service with the City of Sonoma Police Department, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault unit, Special Operations and SWAT units, the Henry 1 unit, and his current assignment as a Watch Commander for Northern Sonoma County. Pay attention to the bolded statement please.
Martinez made an appearance on the special Windsor council meeting to address Mayor Foppoli’s sexual assault and rape allegations. When asked to comment about 2 letters, one sent in 2017 and another in 2020. Martinez, while never speaking to the author of either email or bothering to follow-up, said the comments amounted to political hearsay and the author did not want to press charges. The author of one email categorically denies not wanting to press charges. Let me again remind you, Martinez worked in the sexual assault and domestic violence unit for several years. Coincidentally, Martinez decided the other day to step down for “health reasons” [health of his pension maybe?]. We wish you best on luck in retirement “chief”, but we here think you stifled an investigation.
Oh, by the way, here is that Essick guy again on Martinez getting the job as Police Chief. Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick stated, “I am very happy that Lt. Martinez has been selected as the next Windsor Police Chief. The Sheriff’s Office is proud to be a partner with the Town of Windsor in providing top quality law enforcement services to the community.” That didn’t age well Sheriff.
Council Member Debora Fudge: Deb you will get my sharpest criticism so far. You have always referred to Dominic as “your protégé”, or saying “you were like a mother for him.” Well time to face the music for your transgressions. First the letter in 2017 was addressed to you, as you were the “rotating mayor” at the time. Fudge brushed it under the table and instead decided the best move was to “handle it internally.” The email detailed Foppoli sexually assaulting a group of ladies who had rented the guesthouse at his winery, as well as forcing his 2 tasting room employees to join in and “strip off your underwear and don a bed sheet toga.” The allegation happened 4 years prior, but you decided this was not material since it would have blocked your protégé from climbing the ladder. Fudge threw her weight around and persuaded the other council members that a measured response to these allegation of rape was to put of Dominic’s turn as mayor off for a year and proclaim that justice was served. Seems like a fitting punishment, right?……NOT. Dominic served as Mayor and then got a second one-year term with Fudge voting for him! In 2020 another email made its way into the City Hall, it went to City manager Ken McNab (Ken you may want to stop reading now) the email was sent to the town council, who predictably did not act. Fudge not only didn’t act, but according to my source she told those looking to investigate and I quote “it may hurt Dominic’s political career, he paid for his actions already.” Ouch. Keep in mind this email detailed how Dominic has a reputation of sexual harassment and allegedly raping a few girls around town. Deb Fudge you are the good ole boy network, nice job sticking up for your buddy Foppoli.
Fudge, being the political operative she is, gave in essence a “no comment” answer when the Chronicle reached out to her after the story on Dominic raping and assaulting 4 different girls came out. She claimed she “was out of the country for surgery and hadn’t read the article yet.” She then wound herself up and decided she, and only she, could fight for the rights of women in Windsor! She railed on Dominic at the special council meeting, saying she hated him, adding she was brought to tears by his actions, and he needed to resign. Deb Fudge is a woman who wears many faces. When Dominic turned into a political liability, she cast him aside. She objected to Dominic leaving the meeting early and voted for him to resign. No one on the Zoom meeting was fooled, #firefudge was trended on Twitter. Everyone knows you are full of crap Debora; your eyes were solid brown. Your political career is over as well.
So, you asked Dominic if he ever raped or sexually assaulted anyone, and he denied it? Oh my God, it’s a miracle! What great investigating Ken. Holy crap, just give this guy the Pulitzer for investigative journalism! CNN could single handedly save their ratings if they put you on during the prime-time hours. My God you are dumb, or are you just that tone deaf that you thought he would spill the beans to you?
McNab was on the council meeting Zoom call, custom background and all. Even though this was a serious matter, he hee hawed like a donkey about how he works for the council, not the other way around, and he couldn’t fire or prevent Dominic from emceeing the meeting. You made a bunch of other dumb statements, but I was far to fixated on your custom Zoom background to hear what you said. Oh, it’s nice to see that you spent more time on picking a Zoom background than actually … I don’t know, investigating Dominic! Maybe make a statement or two about the allegations, mention the email in 2017. Thanks to your background, Debora Fudge was only the second biggest clown of the night! Maybe you found you’re next calling if the car sales job, or pyramid scheme hocking jobs fall through! However, I’ll give McNab a little credit, he did make a statement that Dominic agreed to not enter the city hall unless Ken gave him permission and that the rank-and-file workers didn’t want his presence virtually or physically. Ken thank you for your service on this, such a gentleman, protecting the workers from an accused serial sexual assaulter and rapist! Ken you should be in the infomercials about why we no longer allow lead-based paint in this country.
On a more serious note, the connection between McNab and Foppoli runs quite deep. I have spoken to 3 very reliable sources and all agree that McNab and Foppoli are drinking buddies and are known to enjoy cigars together. McNab was a regular at The Christopher Creek Winery and was out with Dominic and Esther et al. the night Esther was “allegedly” (we use allegedly as he hasn’t been charged or convicted yet) raped. We are not saying McNab had anything to do with the events of that night, we are merely pointing out that he had a chance to be an adult and instead he passed. Deferring yet again and enabling bad behavior. McNab according to Transparent California made about $280k last year for his incompetence. But focus on the positive, the man had a custom zoom background for a serious meeting about Dominic!
The Press Democrat (minus Andrew Graham) this paper is a colossal failure, it’s very sad. The former editor spiked the story about Dominic, which ironically the larger SF Chronicle picked up and ran above the fold. I am not sure to this day why the story was deemed not fit for print, but I have a sneaky suspicion Dominic and company made a phone call or two. We do think Andrew Graham is a good one, (full disclosure I spoke to him and he is doing the best he can digging, not an easy job when your paper has the bad reputation it got). The new editor dropped an opinion/editorial piece apologizing and saying they needed to do better in the future; sorry buddy you need to do better now, Windsor looks like Hicksville, USA.
Robert Styrk: This guy is a certified piece of work. He is a lobbyist for Bahrain and Somalia, great human rights records those countries have! He has been running around doing interviews from Washington D.C. or London attacking the victims. He made an ill-fated appearance on the “Drive, with Steve Jaxon” where he called Esther a bunch of names, attacked the victim’s lawyers, and kept repeating a line of attacks when asked about the multiple women accusing Dominic. He did neither himself nor Dominic any favors. He is a friend of Dominic and calls Dominic a son to him…for the record Styrk is 7 years older than Dominic…weird! For the record Styrk has gone radio silent since Dominic stepped down as Mayor.
Dominic’s former campaign manager for Assembly: I do not know how you can possibly sleep at night. You figured the best place for an 18-year-old female volunteer was the personal assistant to a 21-year-old male candidate. Apparently, you have no ability to think, or your moral elevator has no bottom floor. Just to re-summarize: the 18-year-old intern was raped twice in one night by Dominic, stopping only for her to turn her head and vomit. I really hope you take some time to reflect and ponder making adult decisions in the future. Your ignorance set up a 16-year spree of rape and assault, whose victims included a fellow city councilmember, a former Mayor, and a former reality TV star. Not the best legacy.
Fellow readers, not a single person in his inner circle, from any walk of life, tried to stop this guy. My advice if you are a female, avoid Windsor as no one is safe while Dominic is free to move about, and you are even less safe with his enablers around. I truly hope the next mayor is Esther Lemus. She will clean this thing up. We have no dog in the hunt, but she is an inspiration for all survivors! Deb Fudge needs to be run out on a rail, her crocodile tears better not fool you, she is just an opportunist. Ken McNab should put his talents to work selling used cars, or at a local meet-up to recruit unsuspecting folks to join a pyramid scheme. Ruben Martinez is retiring, Sheriff Essick is in dire straits. Is there a single adult in Windsor right now outside of the survivors, their attorneys, or those pushing for Dominic’s now unnecessary recall? Please speak up!
Again, this did not happen in Hicksville, USA, this happened in deep blue Sonoma county.