Anaheim Council Member Lucille Kring laid a political trap for Mayor Tom Tait and Council members Jose Moreno and Denise Barnes on Tuesday.
She called for the City to formally oppose SB54, the California Values Act that defines the state as a “Sanctuary State” to ensure that state and local law enforcement officials will not cooperate with federal immigration officials on deportations of undocumented immigrants. The bill has broad support among Democrats and Progressives as a response to anti-immigrant sentiment from the Trump administration.
It was a trap. And sometimes, it’s necessary to take the risk by walking into a trap to escape it. This wasn’t one of those times.
Tait tabled the motion and by tabling it, quashed debate. Tait suggested the bill was divisive for members of the city and said those who had opinions should take it up with their state legislators. Both Barnes, a Republican, and Moreno, a Democrat, sat quietly, said nothing, and voted with the mayor to table this discussion.
The Bill is not popular among Republicans, so Barnes may have been favoring her political beliefs over her ethnicity. But Moreno’s silence is disappointing to many. He advocated for Sanctuary City Status as a candidate, but once elected (and drawing the short straw for a 2-year term) has advocated for making Anaheim a “welcoming city,” a far cry from what Santa Ana or Los Angeles have done.
Yes, Kring laid a trap. And by addressing his position on the Bill, Moreno could have let residents of Anaheim know where he stood. He could have escaped the trap and told voters where he stood on the issue of anti-Trump immigration policies. Instead, he sided with Tait and the said nothing.
In Jaunary, the Voice of OC criticized Anaheim’s murky position on Sanctuary City status. From the story:
“….the council passed a proposal by newly elected Councilman Jose Moreno to establish a broadly defined program to promote immigrant integration with no particulars about what the program would entail.
The measure calls for the creation of a citizen task force within the mayor’s office to examine whether the city should take part in a national initiative called “Welcoming America” and determine if that would include specific protections for unauthorized immigrants.
However, while Moreno’s proposal was narrowly approved, it drew criticism from people across the political spectrum.
It did not satisfy many of the residents and advocates who turned out to council meetings in the days and weeks following the election and called on the city to send a message that no city resources will be used to aid federal immigration authorities.
“I think a big, bold loud statement needs to be made to dampen the anti-immigrant rhetoric that is alive in Orange County, and Anaheim in particular,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of Orange County Communities Organizing for Responsible Development (OCCORD), a grassroots advocacy group based in Anaheim.
Syed referred to a rally held at Pearson Park by the Ku Klux Klan in February and a string of threatening letters recently sent to local mosques.
“Anaheim is not the city of kindness as the mayor envisions…it’s a hub of hatred, unfortunately, one of the primary centers of hatred in Orange County,” Syed added.
Moreno said it was important for city leaders to send a strong message that they do not support anti-immigrant rhetoric “by tacit silence or even agreement,” but also insisted that the council should not be “prescriptive” in its approach and allow residents to decide through the task force.”
In the wake of the UVA violence and planned white supremacist demonstrations in Laguna Beach this Sunday and San Francisco later this month, what better way for Moreno to demonstrate support for anti-immigrant rhetoric than by voting NO to Kring’s proposal.
Moreno could have defined his views on SB54, what it does and what it doesn’t do. He could have lectured Kring on anti-Republican/anti-Immigration policies that tear families apart and why those policies are wrong. He would have let immigrant families know where he stood.
Instead, by silence and a vote to table, Kring won.
Tait called Kring’s measure divisive to members of the community. It’s no more divisive or unifying than the “welcoming city” committee that tries to walk a tightrope on immigration while offering political cover.
Even if Moreno came out on the short side of the vote and the council moved to oppose SB54, those who support progressive immigration policy would know where he stood.
By losing, he would have won.
He would have escaped Kring’s trap. Instead, Moreno’s silence and vote to table the measure provided political cover to Mayor Tait instead. There’s a difference between fiery political rhetoric of the campaign and the business of actual governing. And when it comes to this bill and what it means, Moreno’s silence isn’t progressive nor is it good government. It’s simply, a disappointment.