It was a dark and stormy night. Well, actually the weather was quite lovely that night, but inside the Escondido City Council Chambers at the April 5th meeting, it was overcast and thunderous. The two main items were item 11 City Response to AB 805, and item 12, the City Council Response to SB 54.
Abed open the discussion on AB 805, saying “me and Deputy Mayor Masson” had put the item on the agenda. Well, I know Abed speaks about five languages, which is four more than I do, so I really shouldn’t criticize, but it reminded me of my 9th grade English teacher. I can imagine her roaring at Abed, “Deputy Mayor Masson and I!!!” When you are admonished by a strict grammarian like Mrs. Carter, you do not easily forget.
Abed heatedly railed against AB 805, and its sponsor Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, referring to her only as Assembelymember Gonzales. This bill would disenfranchise many cities. It was overreach by the state. It was political grandstanding. It would eliminate the tally vote so San Diego and Chula Vista would decide everything. It was a power-grab by the unions. It would mean that SANDAG would spend every dollar on public transit. There’s been quite a bit written about this bill, but I found nothing in it even remotely indicating a power grab by the unions. Masson added that it was a classical overreach from Sacramento, and if passed would mean all the money for transportation would stay in the south. http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/the-fight-over-gonzalez-fletchers-sandag-reform-bill-is-taking-shape/ http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/the-fight-over-gonzalez-fletchers-sandag-reform-bill-is-taking-shape/
Councilwoman Olga Diaz pointed out that it was not Sacramento, but a local representative from the San Diego area who had introduced the measure. It would be nice, she chided Abed and Masson, if they would refer to her preferred name, Gonzalez Fletcher. She noted that the fiasco of SANDAG’s over its purposeful overstatement of the benefits of Measure A, showed that SANDAG needed better oversight. See http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/omg-wtf-sandag-knew-its-forecasts-were-wrong-went-to-voters-with-false-promise-anyway-emails-show/ for information about that fiasco. She did not like the proposed weighted voting called for in this overhaul of SANDAG, but felt it would be better to write a letter to amend the proposal rather than just opposing it. It was not a labor union power grab, the bill would make the mayor of San Diego the permanent chair of SANDAG, and that mayor was a Republican. She strongly favored the independent audit committee for SANDAG AB 805 proposed.
Abed insisted it was not giving power to Mayor Faulconer, but to the San Diego City Council, with their Democratic majority. Councilman Ed Gallo opined that Measure A had not failed because of the amount of money it was projected to raise, adding that the South County liked public transit more, and North County like cars more. Councilman Mike Morasco noted that Transnet I and II had underserved Escondido, and this change to SANDAG would make things worse for Escondido. The audit committee makes sense to Morasco, but the rest was malarkey and a power grab. Diaz pointed out that SANDAG had been formed by an action of the state legislature, and this was a push for accountability.
The measure was approved with “four yes votes, Diaz voting no.”
The discussion of item 12 was quite a bit more tempestuous than item 11. I wrote about State Senator Joel Anderson’s “coffee” where Anderson lambasted SB 54, https://ablueviewescondido.com/2017/03/13/fear-of-felons-or-fear-of-change/ Abed’s fellow in bringing this item before the council was Morasco, but it was Abed who led the charge. He belittled the bill’s title “California Values Act” as total BS, nothing of value here, he insisted. It was a very unprecedented overreach by the state into local government. In the last ten years, Abed bragged, Escondido had deported 2,000 criminals. Changing his usual theme of how the crime rate was increasing due to various new state laws, he insisted that Escondido’s cooperation with ICE was the reason there had been a 22% reduction in crime. He continued to parrot all of Anderson’s talking points (the Republican Party’s talking points,) with the false statements about how serious criminals would escape deportation when their time in jail was finished. He then insisted that the state’s action would result in the state losing millions in federal funding if the bill passed. The state was $500 billion in dept. It was the most overtaxed state. It has a pension crisis. To continue with these state policies was insanity. The far left ideology would take us over a cliff. AB 54 was insanity, “cowardness”, and violates the oath to uphold the constitution. (I may have left out a few of his pejoratives.) He ended by vowing that he would do what he could to ensure the sovereignty (of Escondido?), and would refuse to comply with the law if it were passed. Maybe they would deport him, and he would come back as an illegal alien, then he would have protection in California.
Morasco, a bit more calmly, said SB 54 was complete overreach by the state. Its name was asinine, as it had no value. Though he was philosophically opposed to big government, he did not want to have federal funding eliminated. SB 54 was an overreaction to the Trump’s positions on immigration. It would hamstring officers of the law, and prohibited effective communication with ICE.
Diaz asked if her colleagues had read the bill. She had. She pointed out that if California were a nation, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world. She read from the bill noting that the bill specifically did not prevent any state law enforcement agency from:
Participating in a joint law enforcement task force, so long as the primary purpose of the joint law enforcement task force is not immigration enforcement, as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 7284.4. 7284.4, and participation in the task force by the California law enforcement does not violate any local law or policy of the jurisdiction in which the agency is operating. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB54
Escondido could develop such a policy she explained.
Masson was having none of Diaz’s arguments. SB 54 he insisted was just a way to retaliate against the President, just a political gesture. Gallo echoed Masson’s sentiment, saying that people just couldn’t get over the results of the last election.
The measure passed with “four yes votes, Diaz voting no.”
The hypocrisy of Abed, Masson, Morasco, and Gallo can take my breath away. Abed and Gallo were on the Council when Marie Waldron introduced, and passed, a measure essentially making landlords ICE agents. The measure was subsequently thrown out in court—costing the city hundreds of thousands in legal expenses. But that measure was intended to bring out the anti-immigrant faction in town—Abed, Gallo and Waldron’s base. It had nothing to do with keeping Escondido’s citizens safe and everything to do with bringing out the vote of the racist Anglos. As Abed et al. would say, it was a purely political action.
And, the Republicans are still at it. Just this week, the Republican Party of San Diego County has put on its Facebook page a hit piece on Diaz.
Escondido’s Democrat Councilmember Olga Diaz voted last week in support of shielding convicted, violent illegal immigrant felons from federal immigration authorities. Really? Pleas SHARE and help us get the word out about Olga Diaz refusing to stand with Escondido residents who want to live free from these types of predators. Have the Democrats no shame?
This is fear mongering at its worst. Have the Republicans no shame.