Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Darcie Green made her romance with Rick Green a public spectacle. From the onstage proposal at the San Jose Jazz Festival to the story they shopped about him taking her surname—because feminism!—to the incessant social media updates professing their undying devotion, the two courted an audience for their infatuation. They even branded it, tagging selfies and smitten soliloquies under variations of the hashtag #EastSideStory.
That made it more than a little awkward when in the first week of 2016 San Jose Inside/Metro discovered a more practical reason for Mr. Green to take his wife’s name.
The one his parents gave him, Ricardo Alejandro Monzon, came with a paper trail documenting his near-two-decade history of battering women. We questioned the optics, not to mention the judgment, of a locally prominent feminist and then-state Assembly candidate overlooking that past. Mrs. Green, a past president of Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN), responded by lashing out at the messenger and tweaking her husband’s half of the overwrought East Side Love Story into a tale of redemption.
Fast-forward to the present, and the anticipated train wreck. In early September, the once-rising star in Silicon Valley Democratic politics reportedly wound up in the clink for a night after being accused of running over her husband. In her hubby’s telling, she tried to ram him with her car for reasons he declines to divulge. He says he called police, filed a stay-away order and worked out a joint custody arrangement for their 2-year-old son. The Santa Clara County District Attorney declined to file charges.
Because Mr. Green, 38, took the first legal action and has been pretty vocal about the incident—posting photos of his injuries on social media along with uplifting quotes about #DadLife and never giving up—his version of events has become the public record.
Mr. Green even spoke at length with Fly about his newfound calling teaching kids at local charter schools about the dangers of intergenerational violence, and his evolution from being a victim of abuse a child to a perpetrator as an adult and now, “full circle back to victim again.” He adds: “I prefer to call myself a survivor.”
When he’s not busy running a personal training business called Force Fitness, Mr. Green says he leads workshops on how to break cycles of domestic violence as part of a fellowship through the Blue Shield Foundation of California. He credits San Jose Inside/Metro’s exposé of his past for giving him no choice but to be transparent about it, something he’s learned to leverage to market an inspirational personal brand.
“I’ve made poor choices and want to dedicate myself to be the change for my family and the community I now serve,” he says. “And you know, I might not have the opportunity to be a voice if it weren’t for my partner, who championed that for me publicly very much.”
A number of Darcie Green’s erstwhile political allies tell Fly they aren’t sold on her husband’s claim to victimhood. “He’s a master manipulator,” a source says.
Meanwhile, as Mr. Green elevates his profile, Mrs. Green—who works as CEO of the nonprofit Latinas Contra Cancer—has mostly kept to herself. The 36-year-old newly single mom decided against running for re-election, which means she steps down from the county school board at the end of the month. She didn’t return Fly’s call for comment, has yet to file a response in court and hasn’t disclosed much on social media except for an initial Facebook post after the car collision.
“Thank you for all of the support for everyone who has not handed down the big ole ‘I told you so,’” she wrote in a moment of self-awareness that concluded with a note of defiant optimism. “I love believing in people and always will. It’s what makes me, me. I still believe most people can be better than their worst moments. … This is another opportunity for me to grow and learn.”