Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Der Manouel defends Borba: an overreaction to one bad word

West-side grower Mark Borba was ousted from the Community Medical Centers board after referring to President Barack Obama as “Blackie” in an email exchange with Westlands Water District General Manager Tom Birmingham.

But at least one prominent local businessman says Borba got a raw deal.
Michael Der Manouel Jr., a Republican and chair of the Lincoln Club of Fresno County, devoted his daily KMJ (AM 580) radio commentary to the controversy, saying the Borba has a long record of helping the poor and shouldn’t have been removed for a single slip up.

Mark Borba

“While there’s no question Mr. Borba’s choice of words are regrettable, there’s also no question that his ouster by the board was an overreaction,” Der Manouel said in the commentary.

Der Manouel also said Borba apologized for his remarks, “expressing sincere regret for using that word and other words in the email.” The remark was part of a long email debate over water for the Valley’s west side.

“I’ve known Mark Borba for years and he’s given decades of time, talent and treasure to the local health care effort, largely to provide services for indigent and predominantly Hispanic Valley residents,” Der Manouel said. “He’s no racist.”

In a follow-up interview, Der Manouel said Borba has “raised and given hundreds of thousands of dollars for (Community Regional), whose primary mission downtown is to provide indigent, unreimbursed health care.”

Michael Der Manouel Jr.

Der Manouel said in an interview that Borba “made an off-handed remark in a private email. There is no evidence that this sort of thing has ever happened before or will happen again. So what does the hospital board gain by removing him as chair? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

What it is, Der Manouel said, is political correctness run amok.

“The enforcement of politically correct speech in this country is a disease of the gutless,” he said in the KMJ commentary. “You don’t throw 30 years of service away over an incident like this because nobody goes through life without an errant word now and then.”

If Borba was African American, Der Manouel said, “I doubt if this would be a story.”

Der Manouel, who owns an insurance company, said if it was his employee who made such a remark, “it depends on the situation, but for a one time situation, I seriously doubt if I would terminate someone over a mistake that was made and genuine remorse professed.”


sieg heil says:

figures….one racist defending another……..

1qazZAQ says:

Reasonable, very reasonable.

S. Bardock says:

Why would someone defend this behavior? One racist defending another racist can be the only reason.

Stephen says:

I get that Der Manouel is the speaker of all things local Republican politics, but had a Democrat written such a scathing email and used, say, the word “retard” to describe a prominent Republican, I daresay Mr. Der Manouel would be up-in-arms calling for resignations, dismissals, etc.

And if Borba was an African American, due to his prominent position, I’m quite certain this would still be a story. Respect for the office overpowers any hatred of the man. “Blackie” used by anyone of prominence, especially in a letter to a politician, would be just as substantial a story.

The man shall be regarded as President Obama. Even Mr. Der Manouel would have to concede to that.

Mr. Reasonable says:

Reasonable, very reasonable. Second reasonable posting.

mdub420 says:

should we be surprised? Using the word blackie is wrong. This isn’t a one time deal. This is how this racist feels and it makes me sick to my stomach!

joan levie says:

Mr. Der Manouel, have you no shame. If you think that an insult to our president of this magnitude is not completely disrespectful, then you are as guilty as Mr. Borba. It is really unfortunate that your conservative political stance causes you to defend the remarks of an otherwise intelligent person who shares your political agenda and will stoop so low as to choose racist words for internet use, knowing or should be knowing that once on-line it is there for the world to see. You and your ilk may have obtained some modicum of education but you talk like a moron.

Dr Loraine Goodwin says:

We need to end the centuries-old hatred and racism in the central valley. As a board member, Mark Borba knows and knew better. No, Mark Borba has to go. He is not fit to lead the valley. There is too much racism in medicine. I am working to open the valley up to celebrate diversity. Bye-bye Mark. If Michael Der Manouel, Jr. is not African American, he can not define the African American central valley experience. I want many more African Americans and Hispanics to move to the central valley…a place for success tomorrow.

Ricardo says:

Michael Der Manouel Jr should step down as Chair of the Lincoln Club of Fresno County, as it is apparent that Mr. Der Manouel supports and sees nothing wrong with calling our President a racial slur! Please step down Michael.

B.P. says:

And it matters what Der Manouel thinks about anything because . . . ?

He didn’t make the racist comment, he didn’t oust Borba from the CMC Board, he has no appreciable intellectual or moral authority, and his comments here are not especially respectable in themselves.

He’s just a local businessman and club president with a penchant for ideological agitation (when it suits his business positions).

Stop feeding the trolls.

TGFH says:

Is Mr. Mark “Blackie” Borba a Central Valley leader or just another west-side plantation owner with an agenda? His comments should not be described as being “just insensitive”, they are very distrubing and show a state of mind that clearly is divisive and smacks of the days of Jim Crow Law.
It is against such thoughts sounded by Mr. Borba that figures such as Cesar Chavez, Dolores Heurta, Robert F. Kennedy, Reverend Ralph Abernathy and thousands of unknown names resisted and prevailed. The struggle was not just for benefits and pay but also for human rights, such as dignity and quality before the law and society.
Sadly, as our country crosses one racial barrier with the elections of our current President ,but there remains a legacy of ignorance and prejudice that flickers but has not been extinguished.

Sam Rivers says:

There’s more to Borba’s inexcusable rantings than the use of “Blackie”. Read those emails carefully and it’s clear that Borba is complaining that a politician he thought he and his colleagues had “bought” was not sufficiently delivering in return. It’s doubtful that Borba will get a Christmas card from Senator Feinstein this year.

Rosco Richards says:

Maybe Borba should repay his debt to the U.S. Treasury as a member of Westlands (the 50 plus year old interest free loan for building Shasta Dam and the Delta pumps etc.). Westlands’ share is in the hundred of millions – would be in the billions if interest was being charged at anything close to a market rate.

Then, free of any fealty to the federal government, he can say what he really thinks.

Steve says:

“Genuine remorse”? “An errant word”? I doubt it. This sort of true, base racism and racial hatred is accidentally revealed once in awhile — and gives us a hint of the true colors of the uber-conservatives. It’s part of why this country’s Congress is at a stalemate. Yet, Borba is just another of the Westlands Welfare Hippies on Tractors, soaking up the federal hand-outs.

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