As promised in my last column, last night (May 8) I attended our City Council meeting at which the topic of joining the federal lawsuit against Commiefornia’s “Sanctuary State” legislation was the main item on the agenda.
Our Council meetings start at 6 p.m., but there was a lot of noise from both sides of the issue (thanks for the heads up, Facebook) that there were going to be activists brought in to flood the meeting, so I decided to get there early, arriving at 4 p.m. True enough, by the time I arrived there was already quite a crowd, which continued to grow, representing both sides of the debate.
The doors opened at 5:15 and the mass flooded in. It was definitely SRO (standing room only) in the main chamber, and an overflow room with live video feed was opened across the hall, which was also filled to capacity. In fact, the main chamber where I sat was doubtless in violation of fire safety codes by exceeding legal capacity.
There were a couple of hundred speakers who’d filled out the cards needed to address the Council, according to Mayor Weste’s estimate, and statements went on for several hours. I’ve been to, and spoken at, many Council meetings over the years, and I’ve never seen anything like it before.
Emotions ran high, as was to be expected, but overall the over-capacity crowd behaved itself, and Mayor Weste did a great job of keeping things running in an orderly fashion. My turn to speak came at about 8:30.
The Council ended up voting unanimously to join the Federal lawsuit against the state by filing an amicus brief, as well as sending a position paper to other elected representatives at the state and federal levels.
I know there are many – primarily, if not exclusively, on the left – who will denigrate this action as a meaningless gesture and in some respects that’s true. Will last night’s Council vote change one single thing about what takes place in this city? Not even a smidgen.
But its symbolic importance is huge, and symbols have meaning. After all, what is our flag but a symbol that stands for a country and its set of values? Or a crucifix, or Star of David, or Red Cross? They’re all symbols that convey some meaning.
The same holds true for last night’s Council vote. It’s a clear signal that not all of hard-left-blue Los Angeles County is on board the socialist train that is this state. That’s a very strong statement to make at a very nominal cost, a few hours of the legal staff’s time.
For me personally, it was also hugely symbolic. It means that this community, in which I chose to make my home after having spent what’s now the first half of my life as a nomad living quite literally all over the globe, is still the one I fell in love with, and still represents the values I hold dear.
The Council vote was very gratifying. My thanks to all of them.
Brian Baker is a Saugus resident