Mayor Krupa grants one grieving parent speaking privileges before denying another hers
■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
You guessed it. The Ramirez family once again darkened the City Council’s doorstep for a FIFTH consecutive time at the Feb. 28 meeting, to ask for their help in the case of murder victim Daniel Ramirez, who was shot and killed last November. After Daniel’s mother, Corinna Moreno-Ramirez, used all of her three minutes of public comment, the woman next in line to speak behind her tried to donate her three minutes back to Moreno-Ramirez, however Mayor Linda Krupa did not allow it. In any standard setting, this instance would be understandable, had Krupa not granted a gentleman that very privilege just moments prior.
Joe Males, father of 28-year-old Nicholas “Nick” Males who was stabbed to death last Father’s Day near the Elite Bar on Harvard Street, made his second appearance before the City Council Tuesday. This time, he brought large framed photographs of his son, one with one of his three granddaughters. Nick spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps before he was killed, leaving three children behind.
“This is his daughter,” said Males, as he showed a large photograph of Nick with his daughter to the Council and the audience. “She always asks where her daddy is, and we say ‘he’s in Heaven.’ She always says ‘I want to go to Heaven with my daddy.’”
Males admitted that he was frustrated with the lack of response he received after his last visit, where he asked the Council to use their resources to help find his son’s murderer. At the previous meeting, he also revealed that his son’s case was “put on the back-burner” due to the overwhelming number of homicide cases flooding into the Hemet Police Department.
“I was hoping I would’ve gotten a response from someone on behalf of my son,” stated Males. “I didn’t hear from anyone.” After promising to remain “presentable” for the rest of his time, he spoke about how his son went on to get his associate’s degree, and later a bachelor’s in communications after the Marine Corps, before Joe handed him over his business, JM Consulting. Since Nick was killed, Joe let go of the business because he “just couldn’t do it anymore.”
“I ask myself all the time, ‘why me? Why my beautiful son, who worked so hard in life?’” wept Males. “He was a good person, and a good citizen of this country, who would go out and give his life for this country, and then come back and get murdered. And then I have a city that doesn’t call me, give me a phone call, or anything. What I want is to honor my son. I want to honor him. I can’t do anything because he’s gone already. If we find his killer, I would probably forgive him, knowing me, because I just want to love people. I don’t want to hate.
“I thought this city was conservative. I thought this city was a place you can go and raise your kids….”
Just before the four-minute-mark, Joe made notice of his time, and nearly walked away from the podium before the woman behind him, Tammy Radomsky, offered to add her three minutes onto Joe’s expired time instead.
“I really wanted to hear more about your son,” Radomsky later told Males.
Gratefully, Males continued to speak, and begged the Council to give him a call. Afterward, Daniel Ramirez’ family were next to speak; both Daniel’s aunt, Eileen Valle, and Nicole Otto respectively expressed their frustration with the City in each of their three minutes. But this time, Daniel’s mother, Corinna Moreno-Ramirez, known for her strong spirit, seemed more broken than ever.
“I ended up with suicidal thoughts because I’m overwhelmed,” sobbed Moreno-Ramirez. “I ended up in mental health because this is breaking me!”
Moreno-Ramirez is no stranger to the City Council. She and her family have been attending meetings since January, and her son’s murder investigation hasn’t come any closer to being solved. Since Daniel’s murder, she has been very vocal about her disappointment in HPD’s detective bureau.
“What good are you people on this panel when you guys aren’t helping us? What good are you? We’re not here to discuss grass, flowers, plants, and all that! You guys are here to make a difference…Help us!”
“Stop making false promises,” she continued. “You guys are in charge of these detectives…”, but before she could finish, her time was up. As Moreno-Ramirez walked back to her seat, a voice from the audience proclaimed “she can have my three minutes!” It was the woman who was slated to speak after Corinna, willing to give up her speaking privileges as Radomsky had for Males.
Except this time, before she could make it back to the podium, Moreno-Ramirez faced the audience and asked “Can I just say something?” Before she could get another word out, Mayor Krupa asserted “No! Sit down.” Moreno-Ramirez obeyed, and her distraught family exited the building shortly afterward.
As if that display of apparent favoritism weren’t shocking enough, as evidenced by the gasps from the audience, it seems as though the 10-million-pound elephant in the room finally became too heavy to ignore. Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful finally addressed the issue during the Council’s “future agenda items” discussion at the end of the meeting.
“At the last three or four Council meetings, some folks from the public have come and talked about crime,” began Perciful. “Specifically, the mother of the victim of a crime, and she has made some statements about a video. So I don’t know if it’s maybe appropriate for the [police] chief to give an update on that, and address the comment that they’ve made several times about a video.” Perciful was of course talking about the video Moreno-Ramirez had spoken about at several meetings, which allegedly included the confession of her son’s murderer. “…if that video doesn’t have any evidentiary value, that [should be addressed].”
We’ll see what happens at the next meeting.