Former City Councilman Andy Krotik, who also received some of Frago's e-mails, said he gets hundreds of e-mails a day and deletes most of them.
While he said he has "been receiving political e-mails from Frago for years," he hasn't seen any that are racial. "I have not seen any jokes from Gary Frago with racial slurs in them," said Krotik.
Atwater City Manager Greg Wellman, who received numerous e-mails from Frago, said he did recall receiving a couple. "The best method for dealing with objectionable material is the delete button," he said.
Another recipient, Assistant City Manager Stan Feathers, said much the same thing. "I get hundreds of e-mails a day and if I receive an e-mail that I'm not interested in, I delete it," he said. "They didn't come from me and I'm not sure what the original source of those were."
Many e-mail recipients not in government do not recall receiving the e-mails.
Normand Coultier, former president of the National Association for Uniformed Services, Merced chapter, a veterans group, said he did not recall receiving any such e-mails from Frago. "I don't recall what happened yesterday let alone what happened in February," he said. Reminded of the e-mails' content he said, "No, I wouldn't think that was appropriate."
Cecil Samples, of Atwater, who was forwarded several e-mails along with Frago, said he gets hundreds of e-mails and doesn't recall any of those mentioned.
John Riis-Christensen, Awater's police chief from 1995 to 1999, was also forwarded several of the e-mails that Frago then sent on. Riis-Christensen did not return messages left for him by the Sun-Star.
McIntyre, a Merced resident who received and sent some of the e-mails, said he doesn't read half the e-mails he forwards or receives. "I don't remember sending them," he said. "I wouldn't send them out if I was a City Council member. I'd send them to friends," he added. "So Gary's messed up again."
Aldridge, who sent an e-mail to McIntyre who then sent it to Frago, did not return repeated phone calls.
Another recipient of forwarded e-mails along with Frago, Don Cherf, a former grand knight in Merced's Knights of Columbus chapter, said he didn't recall seeing the e-mails either. But he said the e-mail about Michelle Obama posing for National Geographic was not derogatory. "It's just a joke, there's nothing slanderous meant," he said. "I feel you are reading it wrong. It's not meant (to be) derogatory."
Rieger, who sent two e-mails to Frago, one about Obama taxing Aspirin because "it's white and it works" and the otherl about Michelle Obama posing in National Geographic, said he had no regrets. "My question is what's wrong with them?" he said. "They are poking fun at somebody. If it makes somebody laugh I don't see anything wrong with it."
Rieger said the jokes he sent had no racial meaning. "As far as I'm concerned the e-mails need no explanation," he said. "I sent them out, I'm not concerned with it," he said.
Rieger also said he had no idea what Frago's constituents might think of the e-mails. "I'm sure if I was black I'd have a different idea of what was funny," he said. "I got black friends that I would tell these jokes to and they would roll on the floor in laughter."
Rieger said that he is not a racist.
City holds e-mails
The Sun-Star obtained the e-mails after they were denied to the newspaper by the city. The city stated that because the e-mails did not contain matters regarding city business, they were not public documents even if they were received on city e-mails.