Cypress Councilman Phil Luebben again presented two resolutions to the council this week in support of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. This time one of them intended to declare Cypress a “rule of law” city. And just like last week, none of Luebben’s colleagues would second Luebben’s motion.
Yorba Linda Mayor John Anderson, Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly and city of Orange councilman John Dimitru attended the meeting in support of Luebben’s resolutions. The Arizona law allows police to stop people and check their immigration status.
Earlier this month, Anderson and the rest of the Yorba Linda council voted to become a “rule of law” city.
Immediately after the first resolution died, many supporters began to leave.
Councilman Todd Seymore asked the departing supporters to stay and listen to his side. “If you would please, you know, stay.”
Individually, the exiting supporters, including Pauly, asked the councilman the same question: “For what?”
Pauly addressed the council and said she wanted to see if the council members would have “the courage and fortitude” to pass these resolutions. Last month, she attempted to pass a resolution with Villa Park’s city council to support Arizona’s law. Unlike Luebben, her resolution made it to a vote, but failed 4-1.
Following the outbursts from the audience, Luebben said, “While I doubt I will get a second on this, one has to question what type of behind-the-scenes, non-public meetings must be occurring for such a choreographed move by the remainder of this council to somehow sit on their hands and fail to even give a second to these.”
Seymore backed his stance about not seconding the motions by citing the oath that every public official takes upon being sworn into office. He said:
“This oath that every public official takes states that they will defend the constitution of the United States. That means they will defend federal immigration laws. I believe in federal immigration laws, I support federal immigration laws. I do not need a resolution to tell me to do so.”
“I don’t get nothing from you guys but sad stories!” interjected an angered resident.
Seymore went on to say that Luebben’s condemning public officials is taking away their first amendment right of free speech. “I can have an opinion on everything else, but if I take a position against Arizona — if was to do so, which I don’t — he’s condemning me. He’s condemning all of our senators, any of those who do not want to support Arizona,” Seymore said.
Narain cited the city’s mission statement and concluded that it’s not the responsibility of the city council to take such actions. “Each time you bring up a topic that does not involve our city, it is a distraction and it’s divisive,” he said, “We had a choice. We have focused on how to improve our city.”
Between the failures of Luebben’s two resolutions, Mayor Prakash Narain asked Chief of Police, Mark Yokoyama the details of the “rule of law”, and how it would affect the city and police department.
“I’ve got to admit to you, I don’t completely understand it myself. I’ve heard various definitions of what ‘rule of law’ is,” Yokyama said, “In regards to the resolution, and how it would impact the police department and how we do business, it wouldn’t change anything.”
— SPENCER CUSTODIO