By Jim Tortolano
The shadow of the effects of the Nov. 8 election hung heavy over Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove City Council, as the rights and fates of immigrants dominated the evening. A short-handed council – with members Steve Jones and Chris Phan missing – set for action on Jan. 24 a proposed resolution on those issues.
Outgoing Mayor Bao Nguyen raised the matter, suggesting that the council combine with the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education on a statement in opposition to “the hateful rhetoric and proposed policies of President-elect [Donald] Trump.”
During his campaign, Trump promised to deport illegal immigrants and suggested a ban on Muslim immigrants coming into the country. Trump’s victory raised anxiety among both Hispanic and Muslim residents that a new administration could signal a significant shift in their lives.
More than a dozen speakers addressed the council on the topic, all of them calling for protection against hate crimes and a policy by local police of not assisting federal immigration authorities in identifying and apprehending that they called “undocumented workers.” Some asked that Garden Grove be designated a “sanctuary city,” the term for local governments with a policy of not prosecuting such persons solely for violating federal immigration law. Sanctuary cities in California include Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Ana.
“We’re asking the city to not cooperate in the breaking up of families,” said Mark Anthony Paredes, who serves on the Garden Grove Planning Commission. Glenn Peterson of World Relief Garden Grove told of a client who told him of his “fear that some future government or policy would force him to move out of his home.”
The council heard stories of incidents such as a Muslim woman was called a “murderer” and a man who stood outside a local school and shouted at Hispanic students to “go back to Mexico or you will be deported.”
Councilman Phat Bui supported the general idea of Nguyen’s proposal but wanted to soften and language, saying “I don’t want both sides pointing fingers at each other. Divisive rhetoric inflames feelings. The election is over. We should not let this continue to divide us.”
He added “we are concerned only about the safety of our citizens, not enforcing federal law. That is not the job of local law enforcement.”
LIGHTS AND PARADES
In other action Tuesday night, the council:
- approved a plan to convert city streetlights from high pressure sodium to light-emitting diode (LED)
- approved allocating $3,450 from its contingency fund to cover the cost of the 2017 Opening Day parade of West Garden Grove Youth Baseball
- approved a recommendation covering the joint use of parking lots between the city and the Garden Grove Unified School District.
The next regular meeting of the city council will be Tuesday, Dec. 13 at which the new city council – now expanded to seven members – will be sworn in and seated and outgoing members bid farewell.
Categories: Garden Grove