I'm writing this article for all those who have been a victim of bullying. This is part of how to solve the problem.
In our lifetime, we all face off against that guy who wants to show us that he can control our lives. Part of the solution is that you have to hold them to answer to a higher power. My dealings with the bullying and dirty City Attorney Robert Tafoya will show you how you can do this too. Though, even I admit: It's not easy.
Bullies thrive on abusing others in the dark. That means that bullies don't want other people to know what they're really doing behind closed doors. It could be the husband that appears kind to others but punches his wife when he comes home. Or, maybe it's that boss that yells at you when nobody else is there. But everyone likes that boss because he produces good numbers.
Baldwin Park and Robert Tafoya have attempted to bully me to the point where I had to stop it. If it wasn't enough that the City and him arrested and jailed me and then filed a temporary restraining order, they just had to do more. That more was that the City of Baldwin Park, under Tafoya's orders, made me appear at criminal court the same day that I had court with him on Julian's suit.
I told him if we could sign an agreement to change the date. But he didn't want to. He didn't want to because he wanted me to miss court on his matter, and then he could tell the judge, "Let's dismiss this." It's kind of not fair when the powers at be could change your schedule. Then, they tell you they're not going to follow the rules that says they have to let you be at both your court appearances. I told Tafoya over and over again the law says we have to change the date. And even after I showed him where this was in the law, he just had to be stubborn and jerk me around.
He started agreeing to the date change. Then, he'd disagree to it to purposely aggravate me. I thought: Forget it. I filed an emergency hearing with the judge.
See; for the bully you got to expose his abuse to the higher power. In my case, this higher power was the judge. For an abusive husband, it might be the church, and if you're not religious then the police. And if the City Manager and Council Members can't control him, I'd push him in front of someone who could.
At which point, he started freaking out. He asked me to sign his agreement. I wrote to him, "I refuse to sign your agreement."
So - guess what he did? I couldn't believe it. He removed my signature block from the agreement and filed it in court and had the Judge sign off on the new date. He did this so we couldn't have our emergency hearing, and so, I wouldn't tell the judge about all of his abusive behavior.
It was a difficult decision for me to make. I could've ruined my reputation in front of the judge if he didn't agree with me. Judges hate emergency hearings because it messes up their whole day and calendar because you're filing an emergency meeting that takes priority over everything else.
But, I also realized, if I didn't take care of this now, the city attorney would do it over and over again. I had enough. I thought, I'm not putting up with this anymore.
Tofu told me not to go to court because there was no more issue because the court's already taken care of the date change. Then, he said, "If you go to court, I'll force the judge to make you pay me close to a $1,000." See; what a bully he is? Isn't that what bullies do? Try to intimidate and freak you out.
Listen, if that happens, you need to call on your courage to do the right thing. Maybe the threat may come true. But nine times out of ten it won't.
When we appeared in court, the judge started by saying that the issue was dead. It made the city attorney really gleeful.
I said, "No, your honor. The issue is not dead because these issues keep continuing and repeating and escape accountability." (I'm paraphrasing a little because I spoke in much more technical legal jargon.)
The Judge let me go on.
I explained how the City Attorney has been misrepresenting my agreements in this court and other courts with documents I have not signed. Then I pointed out that the judge's order was therefore invalid because it was based on a forged document. The Judge not catching the mistake was embarrassed .
When the Judge figured out what the truth was, he looked at Tafoya.
Tafoya stated, "I did it because Mr. Cook refused to sign it."
The Judge snapped at him, "Then it's not an agreement! Don't you ever do that in this court again."
I made my point clear. I told the Judge the background behind what was happening with this simple date change.The Judge looked bothered.
The Judge stopped me from stating the rest of the facts. He suggested I file a bar complaint against the city attorney.
The Judge said since the date change I wanted was the one he signed off on, he'd still declare the issue dead. The hearing was over.
I watched the City Attorney walk slowly and quietly to the elevator with his shoulders slouched and his head hung low. In less than 30 minutes he walked to the office and wrote to his bosses and me that he had basically won in court because the judge declared the issue dead. He didn't mention any of other facts I just stated. (Remember, the point about the bully needing to keep everyone else in the dark.)
Then he stated he was going back to court to file a motion where I'd have to pay him thousands of dollars in his attorney's fees because of my "unethical and improper behavior," unless I gave him a phone call.
I replied, "You may file it. . ."
After the hearing, Julian and I walked down to downtown Los Angeles's Grand Central Market. There, we ate some bagels and cream cheese and smoked salmon. I liked the taste of smokey salmon on toasted and crunchy bagels with that rich, fatty taste of cream cheese.
I felt relieved and at peace. I showed the bullying attorney, I wasn't afraid to make him answer for his misconduct. And I'll do it again, if I have to.
To end this article, I'd like to state, "Take a good look at the face representing Baldwin Park in the courts."