Local woman files complaint with city about councilmember's behavior at local Starbucks

By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore Councilmember Holly Blair at a recent council meeting.
Lemoore Councilmember Holly Blair at a recent council meeting.
Gary Feinstein/Feinsteinfotos

A Lemoore woman said last week that she had filed a formal complaint with the City of Lemoore against Lemoore Councilmember Holly Blair, stating she was “appalled” by Blair’s behavior during what she says was an unpleasant Oct. 13 encounter at the Lemoore Starbucks on Lemoore Avenue.

Lemoore Mayor Ray Madrigal read a letter written by Ashley Terrell  – about the encounter – at Tuesday’s (Oct. 16) regular council meeting. Madrigal said that Terrell asked that he read it into the council record, which he did at the beginning of the session.

Blair, sitting at the far end of the council dais as Madrigal read the letter, did not respond. Nor did she respond to an email sent by The Leader asking her for a comment.

The letter highlighted what Terrell said was an ugly incident involving Blair and her husband, Paul, at a local coffee shop. Terrell and Tammy Alaniz had stopped at the Lemoore Starbucks after collecting signatures for Blair’s recall. The two were wearing shirts promoting the recall effort.

It was at about 9:45 a.m. when the incident began, said Terrell. “I was walking door to door for the recall, and then we went into Starbucks to get a drink. It was extremely crowded.”

While waiting for their drinks, they were approached by a male, who Terrell said stood uncomfortably close to her and stared at her shirt.  “He was right on my shoulder” by the condiment bar, remembered Terrell, who used to work at the Lemoore Starbucks. “I didn’t know who Holly’s husband was. He was extremely close. He was just looking at my shirt. I thought it was extremely odd.”

The man left, walked out the door and got into a car. Alaniz told Terrell that the man was Holly Blair’s husband, Paul Blair.

As they waited for their drinks, with their backs to the door, they heard Holly Blair’s voice: “They’re not even looking,” said Blair, according to Terrell. Holly Blair and her husband had entered the store, she said. According to Terrell’s letter, Paul Blair was holding a phone and was either taking video or taking photographs of Terrell and Alaniz.

Then, according to the complaint, Holly Blair referred to Alaniz as a “racist f**k” as her husband stood next to her. According to Terrell, there may have been 20 to 25 persons in the store at this point.

Alaniz countered. “I am not a racist f**k.”

Again, Blair used offensive language as customers looked on. “I did not say you were a racist f**k, I said you were racist as f**k but if you would like to call yourself a f**k, by all means, go right ahead.”

In her letter, Terrell stated she was “mortified and appalled” by the encounter with Blair and her husband. She referred to Starbucks as a family -oriented business where customers came for coffee, and not to be “subjected to vile language and inappropriate behavior. I believe  that Councilwoman Blair and her husband’s sole purpose was to attempt to intimidate us to stop participating in the recall effort.”

Terrell noted that the age of the customers in the store at this point included ages ranging from young children to senior citizens. “Her behavior and foul language were an embarrassment to the city of Lemoore and brought discredit upon the council.”

Terrell told The Leader that in all her years of working at Starbucks she had never seen that kind of behavior from a customer. She said she was appalled.

 “I felt harassed, honestly. It was very disturbing. It was a public place. When it comes down to it, she (Blair) has no class,” said Terrell. “She doesn’t care how she treats people. She has no respect for people. This whole thing is alarming how she talks to people and how she treats people.

“Especially as a councilmember, you should have more respect for yourself.”

Terrell also criticized Blair’s husband. “He was right there, all engaged in it, taking videos, whatever. It was almost like he was mocking us if that makes sense.”

Alaniz was equally appalled. “She’s vile, classless, and inappropriate. Class is something you’re born with. She has none.”

Blair’s tenure on the Lemoore City Council has been turbulent. In August, her fellow councilmembers voted 4-1 to censure the controversial first-term councilmembers for what they referred to as conduct unbecoming a Lemoore councilmember. She is the first Lemoore councilmember earn a censure.

That August vote, while not removing her from the council, effectively removed her from any committee or board she sits on in the capacity as a councilmember and bans her from representing the City and the Council at public functions in any official role.

Blair is currently under a recall threat as supporters have been working recently to collect signatures needed to force a special election and remove her from office.


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