Bruce McFarland: First do no harm

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“If following the lead of the President of the United States is racist, then I’m a proud racist” is something you might expect to hear City Council member Bob Kellar say at this Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Bob Kellar will take the mic Tuesday and ask other city council members to validate a racist resolution and make Santa Clarita an Anti-Sanctuary City, and thus an Anti-Immigrant City. That would make Santa Clarita less safe and much less hospitable for immigrants, documented and not.

Some people consider Bob Kellar a great patriot. They say he believes in his country without question. I say he believes in his country without thought – blind patriotism. Unfortunately, Bob Kellar would walk in front of a moving bus to salute the flag. He doesn’t worry about the harm his opinions cause the people around him, his community, and even himself. His actions will cause even more harm

This isn’t the first time Kellar has made the city look bad. Back in February 1997, the city of Santa Clarita passed an anti-solicitation ordinance to try to keep day laborers off of the streets. Kellar was quite vocal there against the people looking for work, almost all Latinos.

And for those of you who don’t remember January 2010, Bob Kellar was addressing an anti-immigration rally and mentioned remarks he earlier made quoting Teddy Roosevelt as saying “one flag, one language.” He said some people thought he sounded like a racist. Kellar’s response was

“That’s good. If that’s what you think I am because I happen to believe in America I’m a proud racist. You’re darn right I am.” Bob had endless opportunities to take back his comment and say he made a mistake, and that there’s NEVER a good time to proclaim yourself a “proud racist,” but no, he would only say he was quoted out of context. So the legend of “Proud Racist” Bob Kellar continues to this day and is exacerbated by his latest anti-immigrant efforts.

The resolution on the docket Tuesday night will do nothing to countermand the California Values Act (S.B. 54) for the city. If passed, no action will take place to make the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department act any differently. The resolution is only a political rant. It has no positive value, it only hurts.

Kellar’s latest blind patriot/political rant against immigrants will cause great harm to the reputation and good will the city has established over the years, despite Kellar.

I can only hope the other city council members will agree that this resolution is absolutely unnecessary, and even if they disagree with the California Values Act, they will vote no on the Resolution and save the city the embarrassment of becoming an Anti-Immigrant city. The courts will decide the legality of the case – the city of Santa Clarita doesn’t need to get involved.

Police and civic leaders all over California have been working for years to establish trust and develop an ongoing relationship with the immigrant communities throughout the state. The California Values Act (S.B. 54) is the result of those actions. It attempts to let immigrants know that unless they are criminals, they have nothing to fear from local law enforcement.

Turning local law enforcement agencies into federal immigration police will make every immigrant, documented or not, think twice before reporting a crime, coming forward as a witness to a crime, or having anything to do with ANY federal, state, or local agency. It also means they will be less likely to come to an emergency room for treatment, or even come to school to see how their children are doing. Immigrants will not want to be anywhere they might be singled out and their citizenship or documentation (or their family member’s) might be questioned.

I don’t know if Bob Kellar is truly a racist, but I do know that passing Bob’s Anti-Sanctuary City resolution will make Santa Clarita an Anti-Immigrant City and do irreparable harm to what should be a great Southern California community. If you feel the same, please show up at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Clarita City Council Chambers Valencia Blvd. and make your opinion heard.

Bruce McFarland is a local business owner and 41 year resident of Santa Clarita.

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