Her father is David Debape. Her mother is naked. She is now an activist

Last year, while her father was making national news for allegedly beating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer, Inti Gonzalez was sleeping in a drafty garage. Her mother, a prominent Bay Area nudist activist, was in prison on charges of attempted child kidnapping.

At 21 years old, after an unconventional and sometimes troubled upbringing, Gonzalez was between jobs without a high school diploma and limited job opportunities.

But even when faced with an overwhelming barrage of challenges, Gonzalez’s grit, street smarts, and unwavering determination enabled her to break the streak of bad vacations she received growing up.

Today, Gonzalez co-directs a million-dollar project to build tiny homes for homeless youth in Richmond. She also makes money selling paintings and murals and lives in a thriving art colony in Oakland, all while studying for her real estate license.

“Anti is the most powerful person on the planet,” said Sally Hindman, a longtime homeless advocate who co-runs the Richmond Tiny House Village, Farm and Garden with Gonzalez. “While she was dealing with all the things going on around her, she was working to create justice in the community, providing housing for young people.

“There are a lot of things you can learn by doing, and that’s what Inti does.”

Intee Gonzalez, shown inside her Auckland apartment, is studying for a real estate license.

Intee Gonzalez, shown inside her Auckland apartment, is studying for a real estate license.

Yalounda m. James/The Chronicle

On a recent afternoon, Gonzalez sat quietly in the middle of the empty field in downtown Richmond where the village is expected to open by July 2024, and smiled slowly as Hindman spoke. She pointed to stacks of brightly colored boards and wooden frames lined up around a construction trailer.

“It will take some work, but we will get it done,” Gonzalez said. She paused to look around at the weedy field that will be transformed into 12 tiny houses and a working garden where young residents will grow food.

“I was raised differently from most people,” she said. “I’ve learned… to do what you think is smart, not just what people say you should do. And now? I’m really myself. I have a great place to live; I got this great job.”

“I think I have things figured out.”

She needed as much resilience as Hindman and others admired last year, when international media came looking for her and anyone else connected to David Debape, the 43-year-old Richmond man accused of breaking into Pelosi’s San Francisco home in October. /October. After being accused of beating the then Speaker of Parliament’s husband, Paul, Debab pleaded not guilty and is in prison facing federal and state charges including attempted murder and robbery.

In the few statements Gonzalez made during the media brouhaha, she said that Debab — a pro-nudity activist fascinated by conspiracy theories — abused her and her two brothers when she was a child. Her mother, Gypsy Taub, 54, a well-known nudist activist and alternative healing shaman, got more attention when she gave interviews about Debab in which she said she believed he was mentally ill.

Taub spoke from California State Prison, where she was serving a three-year sentence for stalking and attempted kidnapping of a 14-year-old boy in Berkeley. She has been estranged from DePape for years.

At the time of Pelosi’s attack, Gonzalez was a live-in caregiver for a 96-year-old woman in Richmond. But when that job ended, Gonzalez ran out of money and became homeless before a relative took her in and allowed her to live in a cold spare garage in El Sobrante.

Gonzalez then got a job at Richmond Small Houses. She had already worked for small salaries as an artist and leader for five years with Youth Spirit Artworks, Hindman’s Berkeley homeless-help nonprofit that she led until recently, and when Hindman hired her to be co-director, she got the job.

The new job enabled her to move to Vulcan Studios, a 200-person area of ​​studios and art apartments in Auckland where jugglers, circus performers, dancers, painters and other artists live and practice their crafts. The walls of Gonzalez’s studio are covered with her own paintings of landscapes, portraits, musical instruments and books including “Birds of North America” ​​and “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Wood panels and planters adorn a million-dollar boutique created by Inti Gonzalez and Sally Hyndman in Richmond.

Wood panels and planters adorn a million-dollar boutique created by Inti Gonzalez and Sally Hyndman in Richmond.

Yalounda m. James/The Chronicle

“When I was in the garage, the only thing on my mind was getting real housing — it was hard to focus on anything else,” Gonzalez said as he walked into the Vulcan and greeted neighbors. “It made me realize, like never before, how important it is to have a place to live.”

Growing up in Berkeley with Taub meant attending a variety of protests, eating organic foods, traveling to Mexico on a bus to help street children, and homeschooling.

“There were definitely good times in my life, we traveled a lot to Ecuador, France and Mexico,” Gonzalez said. “It was always an adventure. But there were definitely bad times, too.

She spent a year and a half at Berkeley High School before returning to homeschooling.

“My mom didn’t want me to go to school because she thought I would get bullied,” Gonzalez said. The thing is, I really loved learning. She still does.

Gonzalez never earned a diploma, although as an adult she went to Berkeley City College to study web design, where she created a website featuring her poetry, photographs, and paintings.

Taub — who was paroled last April and is appealing her conviction, calling the charges false — said she raised her children on her income as a photographer for “adult websites” and taught them to be broad-minded and artistic.

“I was always taking them to music festivals, making sure they had art supplies, and letting them draw on the walls,” said Taub, who lives on a bus in Berkeley. “But even though I was home all the time with my kids, I wasn’t as emotionally present as I wish I had been. I spent a lot of time in front of my computer.” She blames this in part on the abuse she says she suffered as a child.

Wooden panels painted with prayers and blessings adorn the site of a million-dollar bungalow that Enti Gonzalez and Sally Hindman are working on in Richmond.

Wooden panels painted with prayers and blessings adorn the site of a million-dollar bungalow that Enti Gonzalez and Sally Hindman are working on in Richmond.

Yalounda m. James/The Chronicle

Taub kicked Debab out of the house when Gonzalez was 13 because he was “toxic,” Gonzalez said. She said he was at times a good father, taking her to parks and the beach, but “he definitely has mental issues, and it would be good for him to get treatment.”

Gonzalez’s biological father is a Peruvian man whom Taub met when she went to Peru to take ayahuasca, a psychedelic drug, Taub said.

“We never planned to have a permanent relationship,” she said. She invented the name Inti because she met another man with that name who told her that Inti was the sun god.

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