Friday, April 20, 2018

• Press Enterprise Is Seeing Things

It's not uncommon for two people to witness the same thing and come away with two entirely different accounts. That seems to be what happened over the topic of SB 54 (the Sanctuary State Bill enacted January 1, 2018) and the city of Wildomar's take on it.

The last city council meeting started with city attorney Thomas Jex addressing the council's position on the matter.

In short, Jex said that though the city council does not support a sanctuary state, Huntington Beach is a charter city,  and Wildomar is not. Wildomar contracts for police services with the county who has an independently elected Sheriff who implements law enforcement procedures. Instead, the city council authorized the Mayor to write a letter regarding SB 54. (Please watch the short video above to get the full reading by the city attorney, and read the letter issued by the Mayor).
Click this link to read the letter at the city's website.
This was my take away on the topic after having watched it first hand. (found in the blog at this link)
"In short, though the members of the council are against SB 54 (the Sanctuary State bill), they unanimously voted not to join any existing lawsuits (Huntington Beach) regarding it. "  —Wildomar Rap, April 12, 2018
The Press Enterprise then lead off their April 20th, 2018 article with the following:
The list of Southern California cities opposed to California’s sanctuary state law just got longer. Wildomar has joined other cities in Riverside and Orange counties, including Beaumont, Los Alamitos and Newport Beach, to come out against SB 54, the California Values Act, that took effect Jan. 1.

Ok, I'm glad to hear it, but talk about a reach. 

I sat in the audience, and I was pretty sure that the council basically abstained from taking a real stance on the issue. If you read the letter, it's clear that the city didn't join anything.

It's real easy to read the reporters bent here, especially when he wrote the following:
"The federal lawsuit aims to give California police the ability to tell federal agents when immigrants are released and transfer them without a warrant into federal custody."

My wife is an immigrant (now naturalized) and I've never met an actual IMMIGRANT that likes being lumped in with people that did not follow the immigration laws that they did. When you hear, or read, "immigrant" when they should have said either "illegal" or "undocumented" first, you know that person is trying to muddy the waters.

Then the article later quotes "some attorneys specializing in open government and free speech" as to their views over the council covering this topic in closed session, instead of open session with it being another item on the agenda.

From the article:
"David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, said it’s hard to know what was discussed and whether the council talked about potential litigation.

“It looks to me like they may have decided to go into closed session to avoid having to deal with the kinds of crowds that these other cities have encountered,” Snyder said. “Wanting to avoid a messy political discussion is not a reason to go into closed session. In fact, it’s just those kinds of discussions that should be public.”" —Press Enterprise, April 20, 2018
It "looks" to him... huh? 

Was he there? Did he talk to anyone on the ground? Is he just pulling garbage out of his backside because a reporter called him?

Another part of the article that I got a kick out of was this line:
"The city received several inquiries from the public over the past few weeks asking whether Wildomar would join lawsuits challenging SB 54, Nordquist said." —Press Enterprise, April 20, 2018
Pardon my pedantry for a moment, but how many is "several"? 

Is it five? How about thirteen? Perhaps twenty-seven? Usually "several" is a little more than a handful... and that was, according to city manager Gary Nordquist, "over the past few weeks."

I don't read that as anything noteworthy, no groundswell that would have triggered a special meeting to go over it. though I did use part of my public comment time at the last city council meeting mentioning the very topic. 

Since the item had been addressed at the top of the meeting (see video above), I truncated my comment which was written out as this: 
As I'm sure you're all very well aware, our state is playing chicken with the federal government when it comes to having declared ourselves a Sanctuary State. You are also aware that many local governments have chosen to weigh in on the matter one way or the other.

Santa Ana has made it clear that they are a Sanctuary City, whereas Los Alimitos, Escondido, Newport Beach, Orange and others have come out against Sanctuary status in one form or another.

I know that this really is beyond the scope of Wildomar. We don't have our own police force or a jail in town, but this is an issue that people are very interested in, and lucky you as elected officials, the people want to know where you stand on such a thing.

So, after the meeting, I'll be approaching you, with microphone in hand, looking for your thoughts on the matter. You don't have to participate, but when I write the blog, I'll be making that notation. Thank you for your time, and I'll be looking for you after the meeting.
Instead of reading that, I realized that I had gotten my answer, so I didn't bother with it. 

Not always will the answer given be the answer we wanted to hear... and though I would have been pleased as punch had Wildomar joined the effort (assuming it was going to cost us NO MONEY), I wasn't going to be upset that the council chose to take another path.

Funny thing is, though the council joined nothing, which is the opposite of what the Press Enterprise implied, they still are getting it from both sides. 

They didn't do enough for one group (which would only have been symbolism anyway), and they went too far in the eyes of the other group.
Gotta love that awesome profile pic I have.
This comment can be found at the bottom of the Press Enterprise article in question.
Link below.
It's easy for all of us to play Monday morning quarterback here, but I'd have liked to have seen this on the agenda and discussed like any other matter. 

But, as city manager Gary Nordquist was paraphrased in the PE article, the city attorney recommended a closed session because of litigation would be discussed.

What is your opinion? Leave your comments below.

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
— Cato the Elder

Wildomar Rap would rather have people ask all their questions while I'm still alive... making it a bit easier to give them an answer.
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