It’s no secret that the new Santa Ana City Council is about as divided as ever, which makes last night’s 7-0 vote to declare Santa Ana a “Sanctuary City” so heartening. The city’s elected put aside their differences and offered a strong and unified voice for the city’s residents in defiance of the views of the President-elect. And it was absolutely the right call to make.
Time for Santa Ana to lawyer up to get ready for any negative reaction from the new Trump administration that takes office in a month. But make no mistake — these elected Latino Democrats showed leadership, solidarity, and support for their city’s residents in the face of a the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid. It’s courage, plain and simple.
Meanwhile, over in nearby Anaheim, the opposite of courage was on the agenda last night. In spite of strong campaign rhetoric aimed at elevating the city’s majority Latino population, one of new council member Jose F,. Moreno’s first motions was to form a task force to study the possibility of Anaheim becoming a “Welcoming City.” Think of it as “Sanctuary City-Lite.” A lot of “welcome immigrants of all stripes” with none of the protections against federal immigration interference that being a Sanctuary City offers. It’s weak and short, not to mention that a number of cities have both Sanctuary and Welcoming City Status.
In fairness, Dr. Moreno is the long Latino and the lone Democrat on the City Council, but for someone who campaigned on “it’s time Anaheim” and “si se puede,” he governs more like “vamos a estudiar esta” and “lo que dices alcalde Tait.”
Imagine for a moment that former council member Jordan Brandman, Kris Murray and Lucille Kring made this very motion….to form a task force to study making Anaheim a welcoming city. The outcry from the OJ bloggers, Denis Fitzgerald, Cynthia Ward, and Moreno would be deafening. That didn’t happen in Anaheim last night because most Latino activists were in Santa Ana cheering on real community leaders.