Activists Take Over San Dimas City Council Meeting

Pro Immigrant Activists Flood City Council Meeting, City Takes No Position on California Values Act


Hernandez Coke

President Trump supporter John Willis (left), Upland resident yells vulgar remarks towards immigration supporters on Tuesday, April 10 in front of San Dimas City Hall. Photo Credit: Hernadnez Coke/SAC.Media

Pro-immigrant activists met on Tuesday, April 10 outside San Dimas City Hall for a rally prior to the San Dimas City Council regularly scheduled meeting and discussed the movement to “Keep ICE out of San Gabriel Valley.”

The activists, who refer to themselves as ICE Out of San Gabriel Valley, flooded the city council meeting’s oral communications section, the section where the council fields open discussion from the public, and co-opted the meeting as a platform to express their views, specifically regarding Senate Bill 54.

Mitzie Perez, 26, head organizer for the rally, said there were two key objectives the group was going to present to the council during oral communications.

The first was to urge the council members to dismiss any support of a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions against the state of California. The lawsuit was filed against the state after Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 54, otherwise known as the California Values Act.

Since the federal lawsuit was filed, Orange County cities including Newport Beach, Los Alamitos, and Yorba Linda have voted to support it.

The bill insures local officers do not have to share information with immigration services or use their resources on custodial procedures, deportation procedures, or any means that would otherwise aid the duties of ICE officers.

The second objective that Keep ICE out of San Gabriel Valley planned to present was to urge council member Ryan Vienna to step down from his position, due to Vienna’s recent amicus brief opposing Senate Bill 54.

Along with roaring chants, echoing applause, and talking over other speakers’ turns, the pro-immigration crowd made it vocally known that they did not want the San Dimas City Council to support the federal lawsuit.

The San Dimas City Council had no plans to discuss SB 54, as it was not on the agenda, and affirmed the city is not taking a position regarding the issue despite the vocal parties.

The council’s lack of a position is similar to West Covina, where a motion similar to Vienna’s died.

The first speaker, an undocumented female, brought up SB 54, and called one individual a racist that had made comments outside the meeting in the pre-rally. She said, “I will vote you out of office” after going over the allotted microphone time limit of three minutes.

While there was loud support with echoed cheers and applause from the crowd, the mayor had to use his gavel to get her attention. The speaker ignored them as they turned off her mic, and continued to speak.

Eventually, the gaveling and mayor Curtis W. Morris repeating “out of order” got through.

City Council Member Mark Steres had to double back on the original preface of, “We can only listen, we can not respond” in order to give a stern reminder that, “If [the speakers] follow the rules we will listen; if not, we will have to end the oral communications.”

He also gave observations with other remarks to that speaker, and the room in general, despite the originally established “we cannot respond” mantra.

The council person reaffirmed that “San Dimas [currently] takes no position” with regards to SB 54, the speaker was “hurting [her] own cause by breaking rules,” and that it does no good to name call.

As the meeting progressed, a member of the Mt. SAC community expressed their opinion on how San Dimas might implement SB 54.

Laura Santos, District 3 representative for the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees since 2013, spoke after the tirade and shared with the room that Mt. SAC had passed a resolution to become a safe haven to show that measure are being taken.

She closed her address and said, “take a position that is just and humane.”

The San Dimas City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 7 p.m. at San Dimas City Hall.