Part 2 of 2 (Part 1 was published Aug. 20).
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 letter lists 14 organizations that demanded that the City Council act on the issues discussed (in Part 1). The websites, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites of these entities reveal the following:
Civil Advocacy Network: It claims commitment to promoting civil rights and justice in the Santa Clarita Valley through education and advocacy. The group claims 523 members who display on Facebook pictures protesting Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
SCV for Change: Their webpage lists 656 supporters. From their website, “We are asking for our police services to be defunded and reallocated to the services that are actually needed.”
SCV Workers for Equal Opportunity: From its Twitter account, “We are a group of wage earners within the SCV who want to support individuals and groups of wage earners fighting for safe, diverse and inclusive environments.”
Rise Up SCV: From its website, among other gems, “It has come to my (sic) attention the SCV has a long history of conservatism that is racist, anti-LGBTQ, and loves their guns.”
Democratic Alliance for Action of Santa Clarita: Per its website, it claims to be “the premier Democratic Party Club in the SCV.”
The Valley of Change: From its website, “We are a small community-led organization fighting for systemic change in the San Fernando Valley.” The site declares support for Black Lives Matter and “to dismantle the systems of oppression and rebuild a BETTER world.”
SCV Support Circle: A support group for victims of sexual assault.
Harry Reed Insurance Agency: No political statements found at its website.
SCV Voices, Voters for Change, No Cops AV: Nothing found on the Internet about these groups.
Antelope Valley Solidarity Collective: Site shows photos and videos. No political agenda discernible.
B.A.R.E. Truth: Stands for Balance, Ambition, Respect, Encouragement. Mission statement from the website, “An organization that provides mentorship, independent living assistance and wellness services to impoverished individuals and families.” No political agenda noted.
Black Lives Matter Pasadena: According to its Facebook page, it is a chapter of Black Lives Matter Global Network, the organization founded by three individuals, two of whom, Patrice Cullors and Alice Garza, are self-proclaimed Marxists. From its website, BLM Global Network advocates defunding police, eradicating white supremacy and building local power to end violence on Black communities.
I encourage examination of these sites so readers can judge whether the mission statements and goals match their own personal political and social beliefs.
Olmos and Fleming and others decry that the City Council has not denounced racism and bigotry. The universal rebuke of these evils by national and world leaders, whether in Congress or at the United Nations, has not eliminated these scourges any more than centuries of denunciation of anti-Semitism has eliminated Jew hatred. Mayor Pro Tem Bill Miranda has alluded that the way to end, and more realistically, to diminish these evils is by personal self-reflection. That personal reflection is embodied in our Judaic Christian heritage. “Love your fellow as yourself. I am God” (Leviticus 19:18). If each of us lived by these words, that would do immensely more to end strife than public denunciations of evil.
The writers claim that SCV residents have had “their voices stifled for far too long,” whatever that means. Who has not been allowed to speak their opinion at city forums, or speak or write to the council? In a representative democracy such as Santa Clarita, the City Council represents the interests of more than 210,00 residents. Their job is to legislate those measures that are felt to bring the community the most benefit. Many proposals are not acted favorably by any legislative body on the local, state and federal level. A “demand” by a group of citizens not approved by the council is not the same as having “voices stifled.” If proposals have merit, propose them to the public and elect council members who concur with them. That is how democracy works.
If anyone is searching for a vision for justice and equity for all, I recommend the Declaration of Independence (1776), the U.S. Constitution (1787), the Bill of Rights (1789), and The Federalist (1787-1788), the latter a collection of 85 essays on constitutional self-government authored by the framers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. Put into practice, these documents have worked remarkably well, albeit imperfectly, for 244 years. It is our job as Americans to keep improving that practice.
Steven H. Baron