Ego, Hubris, and the curious Amicus Curiae


I hesitated going to the April 4, 2018 Escondido City Council Meeting where Item 12: Request for authorization to support filing of Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of City of Escondido in United States V. State of California Lawsuit. I knew it would be a very contentious meeting, filled with negative emotions on both sides. J. Harry Jones has written an excellent summary of the meeting and the preceding rally:   

As did David Ross: .

In the end I went, and knowing it would be a very crowded meeting, I reached the chambers by 3:30 pm—an hour before the meeting began, joining a very dear Latina friend. As the chamber filled, I did a bit of visiting with old friends, and met a few new people. On returning to my seat, my old friend had been joined by a young Latina, whom she knew. We spoke of the overwhelming majority of Latinos in the audience, when the noisy, anti-immigrant Trumpers entered with their red-white-and blue raiment and MAGA hats, and took up a section near the front, directly between the TV cameras and the podium.

By this time, the chambers were filling up, and a stray female anti-immigrant sat down in a single open seat in front of us. She turned to us and said something really bizarre. “You are traitors. Did you fight in the Revolution?”

I immediately took umbrage and said “My great, great, grandfather…” when she interrupted me saying, “I was not addressing you.” Well, silly me. I’m very much a paleface, she, of course would not have accused another Anglo of being a traitor. My old friend said that her father had fought for this country in WWII, and then wisely decided that the prudent action would be to end this interaction, and she did. But that pretty much destroys the myth that this entire immigration argument is not about ethnicity.

Unemployed Torrance resident, and self-appointed leader of the resistance to California’s Values Act, Arthur Schaper, spoke first under Item 9: Support of the reducing crime and keeping California Safe Act of 2018. (He spoke again under Item 12.) Trump was the best president ever, the most pro-life—defunding Planned Murderhood, strong defender of the Second Amendment, and was fighting California’s lawless legislation. Coal is alive he avowed, and the porn star suing Trump was so ugly, no one would want her company. He seems to aspire to be as obnoxious a jerk as his idol. You can read more info about his idiocies here: . 

Before the discussion about SB 54 began, Councilwoman Olga Diaz read from the city’s conduct of municipal business code, which specifically states that the Council should not make decisions about matters that did not directly affect the municipal operations of the city. To make a decision about a Federal/State matter was not within the purview of the council’s duties. To continue with the matter would violate their own rules. Her objections fell on the deaf ears of her colleagues.

After City Attorney Michael McGuiness explained what the Amicus Brief filing was, Diaz took issue with his comparing the federal suit against SB 54 to the federal suit against Arizona’s SB1070, explaining that in that case, as in the case of Escondido’s infamous rental ordinance, the State of Arizona, like the City of Escondido were taking more authority to act on immigration matters, than was practiced by the Federal government. The courts had found both these actions unconstitutional. In the case of SB 54, the California was limiting federal authority, not giving the state more—an entirely different action.

Paul McNamara began the public discussion by pointing out that the matter was beyond the scope of the city council, they were not going to solve the immigration problem. They should concentrate on city issues rather than national ones. This action would not make a bit of difference in the outcome of the lawsuit and was a xenophobic waste of taxpayer money on staff time.

The supporters of the action had many fantasy arguments. Illegal immigrants cost $23 Billion a year, 68,000 were murdered by illegal immigrants, illegal immigrants were the largest population in the jails, 26 Americans die every day due to illegal immigrants, they cost $135 billion. Most of these poorly informed folks were from out of town or out of state.

Opponents pointed out that study after study showed that the crime rate among immigrants, regardless of legal status,  was lower than among natural citizens. Several argued that the only purpose of the motion was to get the anti-immigrant voters riled up to vote for Mayor Sam Abed, Councilman John Masson, and Councilman Ed Gallo in the November election. One young high school student quoted Abed’s hero, Ronald Reagan on amnesty for immigrants. Others pointed out that immigrants take jobs that no one else would work.

The bright spot of the evening, for me, was the wonderful testimony of young high school Latino students. They bravely plead their case, and condemned the actions that tore families apart. Their courage gives me hope.

Councilman Mike Morasco began the Council discussion by asking that Mayor Sam Abed and Councilman John Masson explain why they had put the item on the agenda.

Abed read a prepared statement with his usual harangue about the core of his mission was to keep Escondido safe, and that since 2010, the Escondido Police Dept. working with ICE had deported more than 2,000 criminal illegal aliens, reducing crime by 33%. But, the awful state laws, AB 109, and AB 450 had turned prisoners loose, creating the homeless problem. He proposed the strange theory that SB 54 puts non-criminal immigrants at greater risk of being detained by ICE because it limits the cooperation between ICE and the Escondido Police. The fact that the Trump administration has doubled down on enforcement, according to Abed, is not the reason that more raids are being carried out by ICE. Abed then stated his real issue. A year ago he had promised Governor Jerry Brown that he would sue the state if AB 54 became law. Now he was fulfilling that hubristic promise. Well, sort of. As McGuiness pointed out, an Amicus Brief is not really suing.

Masson echoed Abed’s public safety sermon, and insisted that he had sworn to uphold the Constitution, and was doing so in protesting the unconstitutional SB 54—Sacramento overreach! He was not, he insisted, racist or xenophobic. The people who called him such things did not know him.  He was going to be building schools in Mexicali with his Rotary groups soon. “If you guys want to make it about division, go ahead.” But, he didn’t get any of that.

Councilman Ed Gallo continued with the upholding the Constitution theme. He had received many more emails for this action than against. He went on to assert that he was Latino, as was Morasco, because they were of Latin descent. (Italian?) He added a strange bit that anyone who was of Spanish, French, or Italian descent were Latinos. Now the Brazilians, he said, were not, because they spoke Portuguese.

Morasco reiterated the “nothing to do with race” chorus. Like Masson, he referred to his charity work—his in South America. He read the oath of office he had taken. AB 54 was an anti-Trump move by the state. He was frustrated by the state. AB 450 was taking away his rights as a businessman. The one thing he didn’t understand, was why, if an immigrant had been in the country for many years, they didn’t become citizens? That statement was met by a spontaneous sputtering of incredulity from the audience majority.

Diaz bemoaned having to deal with this issue since 2006. The words she had heard, hurt, but she had reached a point where she was becoming numb to the continued attacks. The action proposed by Abed and Masson would have zero effect on anything.  There had always been unjust laws in the USA, and the immigration system was broken. But, she said, the whole reason that Abed had made this action was now clear to her—he had promised to sue Governor Brown if AB 54 became law. It was a question of Abed’s ego. However, the large participation by Latinos that night had given her the fuel to go on. The entire exercise was a waste of time. She felt that apologies were needed for the horrible expense of time and money.

And so the fruitless item was passed, “four yes votes, Diaz voting no.” Abed and Masson may have been successful in riling up the voters—but perhaps not the voters they had in mind.



15 thoughts on “Ego, Hubris, and the curious Amicus Curiae


    Great piece. Betsy and I made the trek down to Shitty Hall (Betsy from Encinitas–out of town troublemaker–and I from 8 blocks away). I am amazed that our panicked patriot population participating in this public pandemonium have never noticed that Abed is an Arabic name (I had several students with that last name), making Hassam what our less tolerant Southern friends would characterize as a towel head camel jockey sand nigger POS. I guess it really matters whose camel is getting gored (they really don’t like Gore). Studies have shown that persons with a paperwork problem tend to avoid calling the police. Several of our council members (Gallo, Sam, Masson) are slumlords-in-training and a clientele who is afraid to complain to the fuzz or Code Enforcement (set your decoder rings to F-U), would be more docile and less like to complain about rent gouging maintenance issues and the like. Their principled stand is merely disguised self-interest. For an interesting bit of enlightenment, check out Dunning Kruger effect;–Kruger_effect which ultimately says that some people are so stupid they don’t know they are stupid.


  2. Sid Colquitt

    So, Italians and the French and Spaniards are latino’s but Portuguese are not? Forgive my naivete. What’s the matter with these idiots?


  3. Nanci

    Thank you for keeping many of us whom for one reason or another can’t attend Council meetings.
    What a waste of time and money. Time to vote these jerks out. Ed Gallo, what a piece of work he is. Can’t he hear what comes out of his mouth? I couldn’t stop laughing at his pure stupidity. OMGosh.
    Please folks you got to vote against The Good Old Boys Club.


  4. karen nelson

    Thank you Margaret for covering the Escondido Circus starring our 4 clowns. My family has been here since 1920 and the first thing my parents taught me was respect for others.This is nothing but a political action before the elections. Thank God for Olga. I understand from my dear Hispanic friends and neighbors that they are now afraid to shop in Escondido or chose not too. NM Lynch”s comment was clever and right on. And a guest from AZ with a bull horn made an appearance. Whoopee.


  5. Christian

    I really don’t understand why you assume that peoples motives are anything other than what they say, unless you truly only see the world and our city through a racial lens. I may or may not agree with what the city council is doing but I think it is best to assume that they are acting based upon true convictions and not ulterior motives, just like I assume that your blog is written out of a caring for our city and not a mouth piece for the Escondido Democrats and boosting for its candidates. I have met Councilperson Diaz many times and I find her very nice and sincere about her convictions, but I have met Mayor Abed many times and I will say the same for him. In order for the city to move forward, we need to pull in the same direction to solve problems.


    1. mmliles Post author

      I guess it’s because I’ve been observing how Abed operates for about 15 years. His first priority is Abed–and he can be vicious to anyone who counters him. He is purposefully exploiting this issue as he has done for years–it divides the city. There was absolutely no reason for this action other than a political stunt–it will make no difference to the lawsuit. It would have been so much better for our city to let the matter rest, and let the state and federal government fight it out.


      1. Christian

        Since you admire Councilpersons passion, why can the same be said about Mayor Abed? Your premise is that Escondido has getting worse, well for someone who has lived here a while I will happily stay the opposite. Name me one other city that allows students to go to any high school they want, not to mention build a Magnet school that is open to all. I think you are not being fair to the progress that has occurred in our city and will not admit we are better city than 10 years ago. No city is better off turning a blind eye to illegality, in fact I say a society that does not take minor legal transgressions serious can never righteously act on major law breakers.


        1. mmliles Post author

          If your premise is that I think that Escondido has gotten worse, I don’t agree–the point is it has not gotten any better. My family has been in California since the 19th Century. We’ve noticed three things, the quality of life has decreased. The taxes we pay have increased. and new development never pays for itself. The Development developers have devastated the environment. The deficit of infrastructure is left to the taxpayers. Either our taxes increase, or our quality of life decreases. Public officials in California are like hamsters in an exercise wheel. Rapidly going nowhere. We are told we must have more jobs to employ our growing population. Jobs come. There is no guarantee that those jobs will go to natives, so people move in to fill those jobs. Housing is short, so we must destroy farmland and natural habitat to cheaply supply that housing. People move in, and soon, once again you hear the refrain that we need more jobs. And the endless, ignorant cycle continue. The rational solution is a steady state economy–like a mature forest, where when on mature tree fall, several seedlings begin, without adding to the total biomass. Minor legal transgressions you say. I think that the destruction of natural habitat in San Diego County–home of more endangered species than any other county in the USA is a major transgression–abetted by the procurers of developers like Abed. He has received $4100 from Safari Highlands Ranch and $500 from Linda Bailey who works for Concordia Communities, yet Abed is so ethically compromised that he will not recuse himself from voting on the abysmal destruction of habitat. These are major moral transgressions
          that can rob future generation. Once a species becomes extinct it is gone forever–even though it may–tiny though it may be (90%+ of all species are smaller than a bee) contain a cure for cancer.


          1. Christian

            I am truly confused about your statement. So you are saying that because more people come to California/ Escondido our quality of life is diminished and that Politicians say we need to build more in order to provide for the increase in residents and that diminished our quality of life and those Politicians raises taxes to pay for the increase but nothing gets resolved. So you should be all for the effort to remove Illegal aliens for our city in order to improve our quality of life. You should be all for the reduction of taxes in order to lessen the burden of long time residents like you and your founding family from 1849 when we became a state. We should discourage all development and immigration in order to maintain Escondido as the bucolic farm town that is was founded to be by your true grit ancestors. Wow here I thought you sided with the Escondido Democrats and supported immigrants and want social programs that are tax payer supported and want the city to spend more on out reach programs and housing for the poor and the alien. Thank you for clarifying your position.


          2. mmliles Post author

            The reason we have immigration is because Repubs want cheap labor–it’s all a bogus swindle by the Chamber of Commerce types who insist that we are growing–providing a self-fulfilling prophecy. There would be no immigration or population growth if people were sensible enough to promote birth control on every level–women are smart enough to use it if they have access to it, regardless of culture, religion, or social status. Overpopulation is the greatest problem facing the world–and it is a world problem. Immigration from Mexico has decreased tremendously due to their declined birth rate. Stopping immigration is not going to solve the overpopulation problem–that will take a world-wide effort. I object to the mean, nasty, ignorant proposals of Abed and other phonies.


          3. Christian

            So your family farm did not use cheap Mexican labor? You object to people having large families because they my have to build a house by you or disturb the fragile ecology and people are worth less than a delicate shrub or beautiful view? Seems like your values are focus inwardly instead on your fellow man and the next generation. I have been hearing about this whole peak population argument since the 70’s and you know has happen, we have more people on earth and the environment is cleaner than ever.


          4. mmliles Post author

            If you believe the environment is cleaner than ever you are living in a fantasy land. Overpopulation–too many people using too much stuff is causing global warming, devastating the oceans, and ruining the habitat for millions of species. Our planet is now in its sixth major extinction event, caused by that loss of habitat. New housing must be built on already developed land–not greenspace. It is scientifically naive people like you who are selfishly focusing on the short term, not the long term. Here’s a factual essay, that I wrote years ago–it was true then, it is true today.


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