More On My City Council Excellent Adventure

How interesting.

Over the last few days, since the City Council’s May 8 open meeting at which they voted to oppose “sanctuary state” status, I’ve read a couple of letters published in The Signal, as well as the staff’s own editorial, characterizing the meeting as being pretty much an out-of-control near-riot.

Having been there myself, and addressed the Council, I have to wonder if those people are talking about the same meeting I attended.

As I discussed in my last column (“Mission Accomplished”, May 10), though emotions ran high I thought Mayor Weste did a pretty good job of keeping things under control and moving forward.

I was in the back of the room and could see pretty much everything that was happening. Contrary to Roselva Ungar’s assertions that it was the “red hats” causing all the commotion (“Shocked at behavior,” May 15), both sides had their adherents periodically misbehaving by waving their signs and placards, and shouting or speaking loudly against speakers who represented the opposing view.

The Signal’s own editorial (“A dark hour for discussion,” May 15) took the position that the deputies should have ejected the boisterous, or the entire meeting should have been cancelled and adjourned. Well, all I can say is, welcome to the modern era.

Maybe ejecting some of the misbehavers would have quieted down those who remained. We’ll never know, but it also could have led to a much nastier scene. Our modern political zeitgeist would encompass either outcome. Mayor Weste clearly decided to play it safe.

But adjourning the meeting would have been the wrong move to make. It would have been a de facto capitulation to “sanctuary state” supporters if the city failed to address the issue one way or the other once it was on the agenda. This is a favored tactic of, primarily, the left, as we see on campuses regularly when they stage raucous “protests’ and effectively shut down scheduled events and prevent conservative speakers from making their speeches and presentations.

Are we to allow our own City Council meetings to be victimized the same way?

There are those who say we shouldn’t have been involved in this issue at all, but why would that be true (unless, of course, you didn’t like the outcome)? This state is a part of the Union yet felt free to declare its own immigration policy. By that same logic we’re a part of this state and are perfectly free to declare our opposition to that policy. In fact, if we had our own police force instead of contracting with the county sheriff, I think it would have been interesting to instruct our cops to disregard the state’s edict altogether.

As to any “expense” incurred, as I mentioned in my last column it will be pretty minimal, since all we’re doing is filing an amicus brief in support of the suit against the state that’s already been filed by the federal Justice Department. The staff attorneys can do that, and they’re on salary.

Ultimately, it boils down to this: Why on earth should we be laying out a “welcome mat” (per Alan Blake in “Legal immigrant’s response”, May 15) for illegal aliens? What part of “illegal” do people not understand?

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

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After-Action Report: Mission Accomplished

As promised in my last column, Tuesday night (May 8) I attended our City Council meeting at which the topic of joining the federal law suit against Commiefornia’s “Sanctuary State” legislation was the main item on the agenda.

Our Council meetings start at 6 PM, but there was a lot of noise from both sides of the issue (thanks for the heads up, Facebook) that there were going to be activists brought in to flood the meeting, so I decided to get there early, arriving at 4 PM. True enough, by the time I arrived there was already quite a crowd, which continued to grow, representing both sides of the debate.

The doors opened at 5:15 and the mass flooded in. It was definitely SRO (standing room only) in the main chamber, and an overflow room with live video feed was opened across the hall, which was also filled to capacity. In fact, the main chamber where I sat was doubtless in violation of fire safety codes by exceeding legal capacity.

There were a couple of hundred speakers who’d filled out the cards needed to address the Council, according to Mayor Weste’s estimate, and statements went on for several hours. I’ve been to, and spoken at, many Council meetings over the years, and I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Emotions ran high, as was to be expected, but overall the over-capacity crowd behaved itself, and Mayor Weste did a great job of keeping things running in an orderly fashion. My turn to speak came at about 8:30, and if you’re interested, you can see it here:

http://santaclaritacityca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1921&Format=Agenda

I show up at the 1:58:45 mark.

The Council ended up voting unanimously to join the Federal lawsuit against the state by filing an amicus brief, as well as sending a position paper to other elected representatives at the state and federal levels.

I know there are many – primarily, if not exclusively, on the left – who will denigrate this action as a meaningless gesture and in some respects that’s true. Will last night’s Council vote change one single thing about what takes place in this city? Not even a smidgen.

But its symbolic importance is huge, and symbols have meaning. After all, what is our flag but a symbol that stands for a country and its set of values? Or a crucifix, or Star of David, or Red Cross? They’re all symbols that convey some meaning.

The same holds true for last night’s Council vote. It’s a clear signal that not all of hard-left-blue Los Angeles County is on board the socialist train that is this state. That’s a very strong statement to make at a very nominal cost, a few hours of the legal staff’s time.

For me personally, it was also hugely symbolic. It means that this community, in which I chose to make my home after having spent what’s now the first half of my life as a nomad living quite literally all over the globe, is still the one I fell in love with, and still represents the values I hold dear.

The Council vote was very gratifying. My thanks to all of them.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)