City Calls Out Resident’s Racial Remarks

Not all comments made at West Covina council meetings have received this treatment


Joshua Sanchez

Bill Elliott continued his arguments against critical race theory, Brian Tabatabai and judicial candidate Thomas Allison on May 17 after making a speech at the prior council meeting that hinted at the “great replacement” theory. File photo.

After weeks without two perennial gadflies to the council, the pairing returned on May 17 following racial remarks made at the prior meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Rosario Diaz’s husband, William Elliott, appeared to usher back in Armando Herman and Mike Greenspan with remarks hinting at the “great replacement” theory.

Elliott has made several comments in the past regarding “criminals” and is a strong advocate for concealed carry permits.On May 3, he made statements along the lines of Herman and Greenspan’s past comments.

Elliott started his comments with compliments to the city involving the reduction of COVID-19 safety measures in the council chambers and developments to the center median.

He then spoke about the importance of the upcoming elections and said that politicians were pushing Critical Race Theory. He called the theory a “shameful Marxist approach” that is divisive and destructive before specifically addressing council member Tabatabai:

“Can you imagine what it’s like to be a white kid in Tabatabai’s class in El Monte High School,” Elliott said. “I wonder if that even exists. White people are waning in West Covina. We have a very small population percentage in the city.”

He went further with his remarks.

“I was talking with someone one time, and they were of the opinion that West Covina should reach out to young white families, try to bring them into the city so we don’t become so homogenous that – like other cities surrounding us,” he added. “We’re truly a great mix and I love that about West Covina, but the extremist theories that are being supported and even showcased and even more is really shameful.”

He then attacked an African American candidate for judge, Thomas Allison, and said that people fall for his smile and “don’t know what’s behind the agenda of these people.”

After further comparing Tabatabai to Allison, he said that if Tabatabai were any more left leaning his ear would be on the cement. This was added minutes after saying extremist ideologies are not a left or right issue.

“I suspect Thomas Allison is left of Brian Tabatabai,” he said before mentioning CRT once more and explaining his perspective further.

“Everything is not the fault of white people, you cannot lay the blame of everything wrong in this country connecting it to race and then ultimately it’s my grandson’s fault,” Elliott added. “Just doesn’t make any sense.”

With City Manager David Carmany out, Assistant City Manager Roxanne Lerma addressed the positive comments Elliott made towards the city after apologizing for leaving him out of her initial response to public comment. For the council’s public comment, council member Letty Lopez-Viado asked about the center median project that Elliott had brought up and no further comments were made.

On May 17, the gadflies returned to city hall.

Herman asked if they missed him before bringing up that he will be seeking relief if the council continues to censor him. He said that residents were acting like “third-class citizens” before calling himself a racial slur but with a positive connotation.

He also brought up decorum and read into the record his legal complaints to various entities. He then complained about public officials and told people to stop wearing a mask with expletives.

Greenspan followed his comments donning a shirt with phallic imagery on the rear before addressing the council and saying that he owed an apology to a bigoted individual who voted George Wallace for president. The rest of his comments were ranting about similar individuals that were not related to the city with profane language.

Elliott then took to speaking after a few other speakers got their turns.

“Today in America, race politics is destroying our country. It erases people, it dehumanizes them,” Elliot said. “It elevates appearance over initiative and decency and all the other God given qualities that make every person of every color unique, yet morally equal.”

He then said we should move towards colorblind meritocracy and treating people with equal moral value before adding “all lives matter.”

Elliott then ranted about critical race theory and Allison again. He claimed Allison will go on to become an activist judge.

“How can we trust someone with such a hateful opinion against an entire group of people based solely on the color of their skin,” Elliott added. “How could such a judge make ethical decisions based on law when presiding over a civil court case with a white plaintiff and a black defendant? How could this be?”

His questions did not stop there.

“Or regarding a bitter divorce custody battle between a white husband, and a father – versus a black wife, and mother? Is it possible for him to base his decisions on law with CRT so deeply ingrained in him?

“Or regarding a drunk driving crash resulting in death with a black defendant and a white arresting officer? Is he going to get a pass from Judge Allison?”

“Mr. Allison favors black people over all others in all things,” Elliot added. “He would make a dubious judge at best.”

Elliott then ranted about former mayor James Toma and Tabatabai endorsing Allison and that Allison’s decision to not comment on Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon was “all he needed to know.”

His allotted speaking time ended but his microphone was not cut.

After public comment ended, Tabatabai asked to speak before the city manager responded to public comment.

Tabatabai cited the recent shooting in Buffalo and other domestic terrorists who cited “The Great Replacement” in their rationales for hatred and violence before unequivocally stating that it has no place in West Covina.

“Murdered them because of the fear that blacks were the replacers of white Americans – the idea that white Americans were disappearing,” Tabatabai said. “An idea that found its way into our chambers on May 3.”

He followed this by quoting Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel:

“What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.”

Before explaining that many in the community have felt unsafe after those remarks were made, Tabatabai mentioned that one resident wrote to him that they felt they did not count or matter.

“As an elected leader, as someone given a platform by the community, I want to make clear that the ideology that led to the white supremacist violence at the Topps Grocery in Buffalo, the Walmart in El Paso, the synagogue in Pittsburgh and countless others, do not have a place in West Covina.”

Council member Tony Wu added to these sentiments.

“The massacre, the hate, is not only black and white. It’s happened to each other, don’t forget the church. Chinese descent doesn’t like the Taiwanese, went inside – locked the place – and tried to kill everyone inside,” Wu said. “Violence is [in] other places including among race itself. For example, Asian to Asian. Hate between Chinese and Taiwanese. This should all be brought up.”

He concluded his remarks with a similar sentiment.

“I understand freedom of speech, people can speak, but we want to love each other no matter what race you are. We love each other,” Wu said. “With love, we are united. We can work together. West Covina is very diverse and we want to bring people together.”

Tabatabai added to this further to clarify that he agrees it is not about white or black but rather to call out the ideas that were spoken about in the chambers and to make sure that everyone feels valued in West Covina.

Carmany then reiterated this point.

“It really is our privilege to afford you the opportunity to seek redress of your grievances here in these chambers and to afford you the opportunity to share your opinions, we would defend those rights,” Carmany said. “In these chambers, we affirm the dignity and worth of all who we serve and all who come to these chambers.”

SAC.Media reached out to Tabatabai to inquire as to why Herman and Greenspan were not called out in a similar manner during these comments.

“While Greenspan and Herman consistently use hateful and racist language, they are not members of the community nor are they attempting to impact policy,” Tabatabai explained to SAC.Media in a written response. “They are racist/homophobic provocateurs, but they do not have the ear of those who can make policy decisions that impact the lives of people. Elliott does.”

The implementation of freedom of speech has been questioned in West Covina.

These events follow a history of residents alleging censorship and certain residents having their mics cut off for speaking during public comment instead of during public hearing.

Editor’s Note: All links to videos were left as links and not embedded in the article due to some sections of these videos containing offensive content.