By a vote of 3-2, the City Council voted to pass the diversity and inclusion resolution, which welcomes both native born and immigrants to the City of San Gabriel. In the past, the City has made it known that its police officers do not enforce immigration law.
With the passage of this resolution, the City reaffirms SB 54, prohibiting state and local law enforcement from using resources to “investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest people for enforcement purposes.” City employees will also not request, maintain or disclose information regarding a person’s citizenship or immigration status when providing a City service except as otherwise required by law.
Vice Mayor Pu, Councilmember Liao and Councilmember Menchaca voted in favor of the motion, while Mayor Harrington and Councilmember Costanzo voted against.
Here are some notable quotes from last night’s meeting:
Our resolution has no effective law, so in other words if someone violates this resolution, there is no penalty, there is no consequence. If they violate an underlying law, there is a penalty, there is a consequence. So let’s put that in context here: we really are just talking about a statement that the Council is making.
While we may want to focus on SB 54, SB 54 isn’t a civil rights law. In fact, SB 54, if you look at it, it really says all things being equal, unless we’re violating any federal law, this is what we’re doing, and our resolution basically has the exact same escape clause as what a lawyer would call that. We need to know that as residents of San Gabriel, this is giving us a false sense of protection. This resolution is not a law, and it is not protecting anybody. It’s just a statement.
Vice Mayor Pu:
We need to recognize that a large portion of our community is immigrant, whether documented or undocumented, and the current atmosphere creates this fear and distrust. So that’s why in the aftermath of the ICE MOU, it is important – it is especially important at this time because of the Jeff Sessions’ lawsuit against the state of California, because of the actions of other cities like Los Alamitos and Orange County – that we send a message that we will continue to serve and protect everyone in the community regardless of immigration status.
I work in an organization that is comprised of 90% documented immigrants. I value each and every one of them every day as we work as a team welcoming visitors from all over the world. What is in this resolution that is changing from what we are already doing each and every day? Our police continue to protect all of us, no matter where we come from, no matter the color of our skin, no matter where we live, or how much we make, and I never once felt that I was unsafe in this community.
For the past two to three weeks, I’ve been visiting our residents – I’m talking about the south side and businesses – and I have noticed that some of the immigrant communities are scared. This is a very critical moment for our city. I’m trying to tell everybody we want to create – this is a welcoming city.
This document is symbolic, but it’s also letting everyone know we are inclusive, and please stay here with us and please work with our police department, because unfortunately, that’s what took place when that MOU came to light.
We’re not going outside of SB 54, we’re not using tax payer money for an immigration fund of sorts, and there’s so much that we could do, but for me – right now – this is important because there is a fear out there.
In a unanimous vote, the City Council also voted to implement additional road and sewer improvements on Del Mar Avenue. To bring the project’s curb ramps up to ADA standards, Public Works requested an additional $20,390.00 for design services related to the curb ramp improvements.
In a unanimous vote, the City Council voted to award a contract to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure for maintenance of the San Gabriel Trench. As part of the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (otherwise known as ACE), the City will be responsible for scheduled monitoring, inspections and maintenance of the trench once construction on the trench has concluded.
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. will be paid $2,904 per month for a total purchase order of $75,000 for the maintenance of the trench.
Finally, the City Council…
- Approved the purchase of a new 2018 Ram 5500 truck for $86,011.80 for the Public Works department
- Upheld the denial of a conditional use permit for China Tibetan Herbal Feet Soak
- Approved salary and benefit changes for the San Gabriel Firefighters’ Association employees
- Approved material demands for the payment of City expenditures
- The adoption of an ordinance that would make it easier for the City Council to change the time of City Council meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.