Part 1 of 2
This letter is in response to the letter of Christian Olmos and Andrea Fleming printed on July 30, “A Call for Change in Santa Clarita.”
The writers demand re-establishing a human relations forum. Created in 1994, the forum functioned until discontinued over five years ago. The city of Santa Clarita website has a page devoted to the history of the program and a description of its services, though no mention is made of its discontinuation. The city, through the Recreation and Community Services Department, is in the planning stage of a similar program.
No rationale for amendments to the City Council’s norms and procedures, or any specific objection is described in their letter.
Regarding the use of force, racial profiling and disciplinary process of law enforcement, I trust our elected officials and our L.A. County Sheriff’s Department in Santa Clarita, led by Capt. Justin Diez and his superiors, and the procedures in place, to adjudicate these matters. Should a violation occur, there is also a judicial system to handle such matters. In light of the George Floyd tragedy, law enforcement throughout the country is reexamining its policies and procedures, and the American public overwhelmingly supports efforts to improve law enforcement competence and professionalism.
Since 1987, the city has contracted with the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement. In addition, there are yearly updates provided by the city to the police budget. There are at least five public forums yearly between January and June in which this is discussed. Any citizen has the right to review the five-year contract and yearly updates and comment at council meetings and/or contact council members.
A civilian review board is unnecessary because of the opportunity for citizen input and the transparency of the city’s relationship with the Sheriff’s Department. Consider: Who appoints or votes in the board? How many board members? Would the board be compensated, and how much? What credentials would qualify to serve on the board? Would the board have to reflect the racial diversity of the community? Would the board require a certain number of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and other groups based on the percentage of registered voters? What authority would the board have? Most importantly, what evidence exists that a board contributes anything other than another layer of bureaucracy?
The writers assert that the city of Santa Clarita “has maintained its feckless leadership with a willful disregard for public safety,” yet do not provide an example. On the other hand, the writers criticize the city for requesting the presence of the National Guard proactively because of a rumor that a protest march was going to turn violent. Business owners and residents of this community thought so, too, as evidenced by the boarding up of local business storefronts. Considering the havoc, arson, looting and violence that has occurred during so-called peaceful protests in major U.S. cities, including nearby Los Angeles, I commend our city officials for proactively calling in the National Guard as a preventive measure.
The leftist ACLU claimed that the curfew, declared because of fear of violence, was unlawful. The same ACLU has not said a word about the loss of First Amendment rights due to the restrictive lockdowns occurring throughout the country, and claim on their website, “Black people are being murdered and brutalized by police with near impunity,” a vicious and unsubstantiated lie.
The letter continues with this babble: “We carry the burden of uprooting systemic racism that has long festered behind a veil of color-blindness.” The letter writers are 159 years late in joining the cause. Uprooting systemic racism began in 1861, with the onset of the Civil War during which more than 400,000 Union soldiers lost their lives to end slavery and preserve the Union. Since then, there has been legislation (the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1990 and 1991) and Supreme Court decisions (Shelly v. Kraemer, 1948; Brown v. the Board of Education, 1954; Bailey v. Peterson, 1962; Loring v. the state of Virginia, 1967; Jones v. Mayer, 1968; Griggs v. Duke Power, 1971; and Batson v. state of Kentucky, 1996) all of which have promoted civil rights and prohibited discrimination. In addition, America has twice voted into office a black president, Barack Obama. Furthermore, over the past 20 years, more than 2 million native Africans have migrated to the United States. If America were such a systemically racist country, why would anyone come?
For an inherently racist country, America is doing a lousy job of it.
Steven H. Baron