As a regular contributor to 209 Times, I had a front row seat to watching Motec Sánchez, a former Marine, use Art of War like strategies to help unseat multiple local elected officials and influence public policy decisions by using an extremely controversial and rarely utilized tool: THE TRUTH.
The first time I worked with Motec was exposing former Sheriff Steve Moore, who made his predecessor, Baxter Dunn, look like a choir boy. While other media was busy trying to justify the unjustifiable, 209 Times was repeatedly kicking Steve Moore in the balls without apology. Once the truth was revealed, Moore was stripped of his coroner duties, then his Sheriff badge and finally his shot at being the president of the California Sheriff’s Association.
Michael Tubbs, an incumbent “rising star”, with an HBO “documentary”, major endorsements by big names, and $800,000 spent on his local mayor race, lost by double digits. Instead of taking responsibility for his own actions or correcting course, he blames us for being a “misinformation blog”. The mainstream media bought into his erroneous claim because it fit into their own false narrative.
Corporate media refuses to admit that a rag-tag team of dedicated volunteers that make up the 209 Times Crew could do a better job at reporting than the “professionals”. Now they’re worried about it.
209 Times has changed things. It is an equalizer. A voice for the voiceless. A big brother for the kid who used to get bullied. It also is a direct reflection of the community.
The below interview between Patricia and Motec unveils the raw, unapologetic truth about 209 Times, how it came to be, why it exists, and what’s coming next. Thanks in advance for everyone’s input. Our democracy is messy, but it’s still a system worth defending. God Bless America and the 209.
209 Times Senior Investigative Contributor,
Patricia Alvarez: So Motec, let me be the first to congratulate you officially and on the record for legitimately and unapologetically upsetting the system! If knowledge is power you have definitely become one of the most powerful people in the region. You and the team now regularly influence over 225,000 people and growing in just a short amount of time of being in operation.
It’s a pleasure to sit with you and revisit what has transpired not just in 2020, but from inception in 2016 through the ushering in of 2021! Today I will be asking you several questions pertaining to some major political and community shifts in the 209 and how you, and what is now truly the machine that is 209 Times, managed to get to where it is today.
So to start off .. how does it feel to be seen as a national nightmare to some, yet a community champion and beacon of hard truths to the actual region 209 Times represents? Supporters love you and what you do and see you as a watchdog. Opponents and enemies with political positions and ambitions see you as a major threat and even call you the devil. The LA Times calls you both a “king maker” and “king slayer”. Many would say despite not serving in any office, you’ve actually become more powerful and influential than any local elected official. What’s your take?
Motecuzoma Sanchez: Well first let me say thank you for all of your hard work and tireless efforts. While I get most of the credit and flak, what people don’t realize is there’s many people involved in this movement. And it is a movement. It’s definitely not just “a blog” as some detractors have said to try to minimize our legitimacy and presence in the community as well as the impact we’ve had. And that impact is undeniable.
We have changed the game. We have changed the landscape of the local region especially when it comes to politics, holding elected officials and agencies accountable, changing and influencing public policy, and now more people are paying more attention to both. It’s a major game changer, and responsibility. That’s what the media is supposed to be doing.
Patricia: We sure have and well thank you for trusting me to be a part of this movement. It’s truly been an experience and I’m excited about the next chapter for 209 Times. So on that note, I want to get some insight from you directly for our valued subscribers, share with us how and why 209 Times came to be? It’s real roots…grassroots to be exact as the phrase says, “209’s grass roots news cast”.
Motecuzoma: Well it really came about as an extension of what I had already been doing for years on my social media. As an activist I was already known for publishing information and holding elected officials accountable very publicly, putting them on blast if they were failing or exploiting the community. People recognize what I did with Tubbs, but forget I was already doing that since Ann Johnston was mayor in 2011 and failing to address the rampant violence plaguing Stockton in back to back years with record homicides.
I was already working with reporters from the Record to TV stations and providing them with information and leads on stories. People were encouraging me to start a blog, which I was resistant to until I realized how my reach was limited by my own Facebook network of friends; half of whom didn’t even live in my city. So I created 209 Times. It was the most generic name I could think of.
I called it 209 to encompass the region, instead of just Stockton, because my original intent was to bring a voice to other communities in the Central Valley that I know must also be getting taken advantage of by those in positions of power just like in Stockton. We also have a lot of cultural similarities living in the Valley as opposed to more up north towards Sac or the Bay. So I created 209 Times in February of 2016. The first post was about a shoot-out in broad daylight at the outlet store on Country Club. It was titled “The Wild West”.
Patricia: Sadly enough “the wild west” is still very much an accurate description from what it seems. I sometimes see people complain about 209 Times highlighting such issues as homelessness, homicides, fires, and even hit and runs on a daily basis- the total opposite of the local news outlets that seem to only cover bubble gum stories. Why is it that those stories that are often overlooked are so important for the 209 to be aware of and was it a part of the original 209 equation?
Motecuzoma: I truly believe that if you want to solve a problem you have to first acknowledge that there is a problem. Part of the fabric of 209 Times is being a voice for the community. To empower it. So when a community like Stockton is dealing with high rates of violence and a homicide rate that has increased 75% this year, those aren’t just numbers. Those are communities being impacted. Traumatized. Neglected. Those are real lives. And with such challenges, it requires immediate attention and competent leadership that controls and allocates the resources. Stockton leadership has raised taxes and over the last 6 years over $200,000,000 in ADDITIONAL funding has gone to crime and violence prevention. Where’s the results? Where’s the accountability?
Being a voice for the community requires having to force the issue. So it’s addressed. And that may make people uncomfortable to confront that reality, but it has to be done. Imagine those areas of the cities having to live it. Everyday. I made sure they now have a voice. We forced the issue.
209 Times is real. It’s raw. Because our reality is. If people can’t deal with that or it’s an inconvenience to them and they just want rainbows and butterflies then that’s what the Disney channel is for.
Patricia: Obviously, the rapid growth and immense reach 209 Times has accomplished since 2016, that rawness some openly criticize is exactly what the region was lacking and needing. I know this isn’t talked about much out in the open, but I want you to share or brag a bit on how the 209 Times unique format has directly influenced the way all the local news/media sources deliver their news that is often harvested from 209 Times itself. By the way, the interaction from readers subscribers, and “Haters” alike is nothing I have ever seen on any other news source. Can you also share with us the difference in engagements and what that tells you about 209 Times and its relationship with its readers?
Motecuzoma: 209 Times is unique and the most impactful, engaging media news source in the region other than TV news outlets. We average millions of engagements and accounts reached in a monthly basis. Obviously they have actual budgets and a lot of resources. But what I’ve created is a new style that has really connected and represented the region in a way that is unrivaled locally. So much so that those mainstream media outlets come to us for content on several occasions or follow our lead on certain stories and what we cover.
We’ve had several videos and posts go viral and even TV shows like The View and Daily Mail request to use our content. But that’s where it stops because they’re not going to cover all the issues we do. Especially the political ones. They tend to get nervous or can be controlled by sponsors and funders who also fund many of these same corrupt politicians we expose. We don’t have that problem of someone else controlling us through funding or other means. We are truly independent.
They also don’t have the impetus to report on many stories that we do or the logistics to do so. It would cost millions of dollars for so called mainstream media to match us with staff for what we produce organically. Like I said I know reporters and have had many conversations about how stories are selected or not. What topics, what areas are given a priority or passed over are the result of people in positions making those decisions.
One thing this endeavor has taught me is exactly how biased the media really is by nature and practice. And it’s so funny and ironic how that’s the first thing we’re accused of. Being biased. We are biased. Towards the truth. If it’s raining outside we’re going to let you know the same way we let you know when an elected official or government a agency is not acting in the best interest of the public they serve. That’s the whole purpose of the media and why it’s the very First Amendment in the Constitution. An independent, vigilant media is required as part of democracy, not counter to it.
Patricia: I’m seeing a lot of Tubbs and friends‘ propaganda against 209 Times. And you specifically. There is a lot of outside press such as NPR, LA Times and Politico who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of Stockton and are sharing their hurt feelings over his embarrassing landslide loss and trying to provide him cover for his failure.
Tubbs claims that 209 Times is making up baseless conspiracies of corruption and “misinformation”. And they all also seem to be pushing his narrative following his script that 209 Times is racist, “right wing”, and biased against Progressives, etc. Can you speak on that? Can you also elaborate on some of the other elected officials 209 Times has exposed besides Tubbs as well as the impact it’s had in the community?
Motecuzoma: The mainstream media wasn’t doing their job. The Record specifically was putting their thumb on the scale for certain political forces and looking the other way for the ones connected to the power brokers of the city we call the Stockton Cabal. They were protecting these bad actors by omission. Refusing to cover them in a light that wasn’t positive to them despite it being the truth- with documentation.
People get the misimpression that somehow Tubbs was special or that 209 Times was all about a personal vendetta, but they forget I had been putting politicians and agencies like the Stockton Police Department on blast since 2009 and we already had a long and growing list of greatest hits.
Anyhow, I eventually created my blog in 2016. Before Tubbs was ever elected mayor. I chose a generic name because I wanted to create a brand focused on the issues instead it be just me and my perspectives or the Motec show. I finally gave in to the calls to create 209 Times after I got a lot of media attention getting a Stockton police officer fired over giving me an illegal ticket in the middle of the night on Christmas as an attempt to penalize and intimidate me for my activism.
I’ve been what is considered an activist since I was 17 years old. This is just an extension of that. But, more people started coming to me asking for help with exposing their issues to the media like I was some expert. I guess in many ways I already was. But their issues were very serious and involved powerful people like former Sheriff Steve Moore.
Everywhere they went to mainstream media they were turned away. So they came to me. As a last resort. That contributed to my creating 209 Times because I realized how many more people and entire communities out there in our Central Valley have no voice, are disenfranchised and disregarded because they’re not connected to power or poor or Mexican. You name it. I decide to give them a voice and not only give them an outlet to tell their stories, but also celebrate so many things in our communities that often go overlooked. That became my mission.
In regards to Tubbs, he’s not our first and won’t be our last. The first major target we took down as a corrupt politician was Steve Moore as I mentioned. At the time in 2018 he was not only a 12 year incumbent, but he was the President of the California Sheriff Association. He lost his re-election as a direct result of the reporting we did on him with the indisputable facts. That’s what we’re known for. Getting information no one else does or refuses to put out. That’s why it’s so funny to me when Tubbs makes excuses and accuses us of “misinformation” as if we didn’t consistently hit him with documents. Photos. Videos. That he himself was responsible for. His own signatures.
Like the receipt from Long Beach at a bar where he used tax payer money to buy his friends $50 steaks and alcoholic drinks. He and his assistant Cameron Burns lied and signed a reimbursement document stating the business didn’t provide itemized receipts because he knew what would happen based on the alcohol. We acquired and published that receipt. The Record refused to despite an article Michael Fitzgerald wrote exonerating him of using any tax payer money for “Scotch tastings”.
To this day not a single complaint, cease and desist, request for retraction, or lawsuit has ever been filed by Tubbs against us for libel or slander despite having had a lawyer on his unnecessary staff. Because he knows what’s what and what’s not. He can cry all day about “lies”, but he knows what time it is. Being the pathological liar that he is. In fact I was the one who sued Tubbs in federal court for illegally violating the First Amendment by blocking people from questioning him on social media like Trump.
As far as the “right wing” conspiracy and racism charges by Tubbs and his cronies, first of all I’m a registered Democrat. Since I was 18. I’m also an elected Assembly Delegate for my second term to the California Democratic Party. Although, I will make it clear I am not loyal to any party. I am loyal to the people. In 2016 I was an elected delegate for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. I’m Progressive so for Tubbs to try to hide behind that excuse is hilarious. He’s a fake progressive. Or fauxgressive as I say. His whole “universal basic income” bullshit not only wasn’t his idea, but it’s the brain child of and being funded by Silicon Valley millionaires. Despite my personal political orientation, 209 Times is actually made of a variety of political perspectives from me and other Progressives to Conservatives, Libertarians, a couple of Anarchists. What we all have in common are local issues. I make sure we don’t get partisan because it turns into a circus and the reality is most people have more in common than they realize. So I don’t push my perspective. It’s a collaborative team effort.
In regards to racism, that’s yet another crutch Tubbs tries to hide behind. It may work in his liberal Bay Area and out of state circles where rich white people with no real connections to Brown and Black communities trip over themselves trying to be “connected” to so called Black or Brown leaders even if they’re fake like Tubbs, but the truth is Tubbs is a verified sellout.
I was there those nights when he used 50 riots cops to brutalize Black and Mexican women speaking out at city hall over their relatives who had been killed by Stockton Police.
I led the fight for two years to get Fair Oaks Library re-opened in a primarily Mexican and immigrant, poor white area of Stockton. Tubbs was the main obstacle and voted five times against its opening. Never did he support it as a city Councilmember. Yet he showed up to the Grand Re-Opening as mayor and tried take credit. I have no mercy for Sellouts. Look at his top funders. Spanos. Grupe. Pinche Bloomberg. That’ll tell you exactly who he really is.
No one who supports and literally worked for racist billionaire Michael Bloomberg like Tubbs did, gets to call anyone racist. At all.
Patricia: Very true and as always follow the money, for such a well funded and nationally organized campaign it is truly comical that Micheal Tubbs and the majority of his slate lost so much ground in 2020 and by several landslides. Speaking of friends and money can we look an actual racist tie a little closer? Micheal Tubbs and some local democrats make several claims attempting to sound very grass roots but where does their money come from?
Motecuzoma: So again, it’s hilarious to hear Tubbs say in interviews that we were funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of some grand right wing conspiracy, when in reality it was he and his cronies who were being funded by racists like New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg who was responsible for an actual racist policy called Stop n Frisk that literally targeted Brown and Black men by police specifically for being Brown and Black. And when Bloomberg was confronted about it, he told the press that too many Whites were stopped. He not only funded Tubbs with gifts like a trip to Paris, France, but he was funding the attempted takeover of Stockton Unified School District with $300,000 dollars for Tubbs’ candidates of choice. All of whom lost thanks in great part to us, including his best friend Lange Luntao who was defeated so bad he came in third place as the incumbent despite their years of positive mainstream media coverage.
Anyone living in Stockton who is Chicano knows the racist legacy of Spanos and how he made his billions off the backs of Mexican Braceros. He was the top funder for the Republican Party re-electing that devil George Bush in the whole nation. Fritz Grupe has attended Bohemian Grove according to documents leaked by Wikileaks and helped run Stockton in the ground by controlling the political leadership for decades. What people think is an attack on Tubbs, etc is really a war being waged on those powerful interests that have destroyed our community. It’s a new day. It’s not going down like that anymore on my watch. They were way too comfortable and now they gotta deal with me and the machine we’ve built. They gotta deal with it now. Tubbs was just the latest one. We took out all of their candidates this last round, except for two.
Patricia: Yes his Tour of Tears seems to still be going strong two months after his embarrassing loss. One thing I have personally seen in his tweets and countless interviews is the call for action against news sites and community that actively spoke out against him. We saw how he was blatant with his dismissal of those that shed a non flattering light on him. The removal of BLM and grieving mothers from city hall when they rose up to challenge his lack of response to their pleas for justice, his blocking of his constituency from his multiple social media platforms which you sued him for in federal court to name a few; all ways he has tried to silence voices. Now I see him speaking about policy to stifle free press that does not follow his script. How do you see the news outlets responding to this new mission inspired by his hurt feelings and major loss? How do you think The Record, Sac and Modesto Bee, The Tracy Press, Lodi News Sentinel, and Manteca Bulletin feel about being residents of this “news desert” a term, he seems to be using more and more often?
Motecuzoma: “News desert”. That’s a joke. A new term invented by media outlets trying to make excuses not only for him, but also for themselves and how they were so wrong about him. I’ve done interviews with several of these national media outlets and I tell them all, the Michael Tubbs they thought he was was really a pre fabricated narrative that was crafted by Tubbs himself and fed to them. They didn’t do their own research. They just ran with it because they could use it to sell headlines to pull on heart strings. The whole father in jail and born to a teenage mother on the south side routine. I fell for it to when I first met Mike. That’s why I included him in my documentary about Stockton, “Mudville Harvest” about how the city got the way it did. People think this was a matter of not liking him or funniest of all “being jealous” of him and his “success”. That’s my favorite theory hahahaha. The truth is Tubbs and I were once friends. While he spreads lies now trying to slander my name and why he was targeted , the truth is he reached out to me because of who I was way back in 2011. The same activism he now tries to make people believe is “racist” or “misinformation” because it exposed him, is the same activism that he used to praise me for and I was one of the first people he asked advice from in considering to run for city council in 2012. I helped him get elected. I introduced him to stake holders and helped him get endorsements etc. I promoted him to my network.
After you get past his sob story elevator speech, what is there? Zero substance and a lot of his talking points he got from me like calling Stockton “ground zero”, which was the original name of my documentary-Ground Zero to Dysfunction: The Untold Story of Stockton. I changed it to a more simpler artistic title. I too came from the gutter of Mudville, raised in poverty by a single mother having never even met my father as a youth. And I’ve also preserved and risen above those challenges. I also have a Masters degree from one of the top universities in the entire nation. And I’ve been out in g in actual work since I was a teenager, more than half my life. So his background story didn’t impress me after it was time to produce actual results and vote on agenda items. And it was after seeing those results and lack thereof that he was targeted. He might have meant something to someone, but he wasn’t shit to me. Not after your actions speak counter to your words.
The truth is he wasn’t who he said he was. He was always in it for himself. For his own sense of fame and celebrity. And that’s how he ran afoul of me. His actions as a Councilmember spoke for themselves regardless of what he was selling to the public. And that’s how all these major media outlets got It wrong. They were all shocked he lost. We weren’t. We knew our efforts of exposing him were working in 2018 when not only did we take down Sheriff Moore, but every single candidate Tubbs endorsed for city council so he could maintain control- lost.
It’s even in his fake propaganda documentary on HBO. They show him bemoaning all them losing. What the audience wasn’t being shown in the film was that we were the reason. For the first time the public got to see who these people really are because we showed them. Like the video of councilmember Susan Lofthus having a mental breakdown and incoherent ramble during a city council meeting in defense of his Cash for Criminals program. It got over 40,000 views in like two days. We didn’t make it up. It wasn’t “misinformation”. It was the publicly available video of a public city council meeting. We brought it to the masses and they responded in kind. She won in 2014 with 70% of the vote like Tubbs in 2016, all because of her last name. She openly admitted she knew nothing about the city or city council. And she won in a landslide. By the time we were done with her she lost by double digits. Like Tubbs in 2020. The difference was now the public knew who these people really were. We showed them. So we weren’t surprised when Tubbs lost in a similar fashion. We had already done it before.
As far as him trying to stifle the public’s voice and facts about him being made public or any opposition, it reflects the kind of leader he was and another reason why he had to go. There is no “news desert” in Stockton. The Record is still quite functional and publishing everyday. They have social media and a website the same way we do. They ran nothing but positive press for Tubbs and his cronies and suppressed negative stories like Tubbs being investigated by the State of California for violating campaign laws and hiding a consultancy business based out of his home. The thing is we eclipsed them.
The Record was targeted as the communications tool of the Stockton Cabal and publicists for its candidates. We destroyed that. With no budget. I undercut them for free and we out performed them at their own game using their own tactics. We’re just better at it. There’s no desert they just got out maneuvered and outplayed. While Tubbs was running around across the country playing checkers, I was playing chess and took away his home base. That’s what happened. With the truth. The public wanted the truth. We gave it to them.
While Tubbs was running around across the country playing checkers, I was playing chess.
That’s what Operation Icarus was predicated on- show the public who Tubbs really is. Not who he pretends to be. Who he really is. And it worked. He was our greatest asset. We couldn’t have done it without him. In his arrogance he never once thought to change course. To change his ways. So like Icarus the closer he got to the sun on artificial wings the closer he got to his own downfall. We were the sun shining the light that melted those wings. And like the Emperor Has No Clothes, no one around him bothered to talk sense into him. They were all yes men. And now they’re all paying for it.
Patricia: Yes I am definitely seeing the clenched fists shaking at you, other team members and even against some of the readers that dare travel on to Tubbs’ page and ask him valid questions. I have to say there was a huge wave of relief and satisfaction throughout the whole 209 and not just Stockton after the election results. How was that for you, to see the end result of this campaign season and to garner national attention for 209 Times as a force to be reckoned with?
Motecuzoma: Yes I still have strangers and people in the community thank me ecstatically when they see me in public as do other members of the team like Frank. So many people were so happy and relieved. People outside of Stockton who don’t live here and didn’t have to deal with his failed leadership will never understand. As far as the national recognition, that was a bit surprising. These so called journalists who have interviewed me are genuinely curious how we pulled it off as well as how we operate. We already knew what we had was unique, which is confirmed by their fascination with us. As well as their disdain. They’re all worried “could something like 209 Times spread to other places”? They’re scared it can.
It’s also a bit of professional snubbing because they see themselves as “legitimate” and don’t approve of us because none of us are professional journalists. Nor do we try to be or care to be. If anything I make a mockery of their entire profession. Out performing them with zero training other than learning and observing how they operate and how they unfairly targeted myself and others like Frank Gayaldo in the past for doing the right thing because it went against their interests. They say we’re biased. Which we openly admit and celebrate. But we’re biased towards the truth. Towards the disenfranchised community. Towards the previously voiceless. I make no apologies about any of that. Fuck ‘em. Bottomline I, we, changed the game. We changed the local landscape. And that was my original intent.
Patricia: What do you say of the claim by those you’ve taken down saying your main goal and motivation is to be a politician and this is all about sour grapes for losing previous elections?
Motecuzoma: That’s another one of those hilarious claims that tickles me. Anyone who knows me or has been paying attention knows I couldn’t care less about being a politician. If I did, do they really think I’d be wrecking the establishment that has been the gatekeepers for political success in my city? Negative. I’d be kissing their ass, not kicking it. Everytime I have run for office it has always been because there was a specific mission or goal I wanted accomplished and being one of the people voting on them is a quicker way to get it accomplished. Cuts out the middle man. Like when I ran for city council, it was because I wanted to use the position to re-open the Fair Oaks Library. I didn’t win, but I still accomplished getting that library re-opened anyway.
I’m not a politician. I’m an activist. In fact I’m not really even an activist, I’m a warrior engaging in war for my people and the community. These avenues including politics are just the means to the end and arenas I’ve had to master operating in to accomplish those goals. I’ve seen elected officials and people who thought they were important come and go. I’m still here. Still fighting. Still winning even if it’s not obvious to them how. None of my heroes are politicians.
A small example is Tubbs losing. I ran for mayor, for starters because I truly believe I would have been best for the job, but I also knew the odds were stacked against me. If you know my history then you know the odds have never stopped me. In life. Me running for mayor, as the only other Democrat and Progressive, took away votes from Mike. He and his cronies scoffed that I only got 11% of the vote. Hahaha that 11% is what he needed to win the primary though. Lincoln was new so the majority of people didn’t really know him.
By stopping Tubbs in the primary that bought Lincoln more time to get his message out and garner support. And as expected, Tubbs lost bad. From the 40% he got in the primary he only gained a few points. Despite spending $800,000 on his campaign. An unheard of number for a local office with no real power. He is the epitome of losing and falling from the top because of hubris a la Operation Icarus.
I used his own arrogance against him by relying on it in the overall strategy. I embargoed his allies. I took out his bishops and rooks. If I couldn’t get to the Queen, I’d obliterate his pawns. Until he fell. He was too arrogant to even realize it was a possibility. He wasn’t the only one that underestimated our team and the value of the public knowing the truth of what they were doing and not doing.
Patricia: We’ll now in many ways people are recognizing that you in many ways are more powerful than these local elected officials. And now that the local Landscape is indeed changed what is in the works that you can share with the faithful readers and equally faithful haters? What can we expect for the local community, political coverage, and beyond?
Motecuzoma: We have a lot of plans going forward. We launched our YouTube channel and will have more content there as well as get our studio back up with more in depth shows and showcases of the local community. We want to not only attack and root out the corruption that has plagued our region for generations, but we want to celebrate the triumphs and success stories. Promote local businesses. Get more in depth into the cultures of The Valley. We’re also going to give Modesto more air time and focus as we penetrate further south into the 209.
We’ve also launched 916 Times for the Sacramento region. I can imagine what we’ll turn up in our state’s Capitol. It’s also a region I love and where I went to college and worked. I hear they have similar issues as well and there’s a lot more going on. The Sacramento Bee has some issues and needs to be checked just like the garbage Record was.
For the corrupt left in power. All I’ll say is Operation Hydra is now under way.
Overall I’m looking forward to new horizons. The whole team is.