COUNCIL VOTES 4-0; MAYOR ABSTAINS, CITES POLICY AGAINST POSTURING ON NON-CITY ISSUES
By Steven Tavares
It is no surprise the Hayward City Council and residents at Tuesday’s meeting were divided over Arizona’s controversial immigration law–the entire country is roiling in debate over its constitutionality. Undaunted the council approved sending a letter to Arizona Gov. Jane Brewer condemning the law, 4-0 with 3 members, including Mayor Michael Sweeney, abstaining.
The letter first proposed by Councilman Francisco Zermeno asks the governor to seek a federal solution to the immigration problem which is particularly sensitive in border states like Arizona. The letter though offers no alternative. “It is unfortunate that the State of Arizona, in a solitary effort to stem the tide of illegal immigration into your state, has passed a strict immigration law making the failure to carry immigration papers a crime, and giving the Arizona police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally, with little or no cause,” the letter reads. “Like others, the City of Hayward believe such policies taken to their most negative limit could easily lead to racial profiling and, therefore, to the public’s mistrust of our local police officers.”
Zermeno said he was never required to carry identification other than a driver’s license when he immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in the 1960s nor when he gained citizenship in 1980. He said Arizona’s law must be condemned now before it grows into a larger problem. “We must not allow a biased root to become a full-grown poison ivy of racial injustice,” said Zermeno, who along with members Barbara Halliday, Kevin Dowling and Olden Henson voted in favor of the letter.
Henson, who was raised in Louisiana, said his past experiences growing up in the South gives him a unique perspective on the law. Henson recalled sitting at the back of the bus and lowering his head while walking down the street so as not to make eye contact with whites, especially white women.
Critics of the decision to debate out-of-state issues say Hayward has more important issues to decide, but Henson pointed to reports of a large movement of Latinos leaving Arizona for nearby states. Some did not agree.
“It’s ludicrous that you guys are spending time on other state’s problems,” said Hayward resident Ken Moudy. “Fix the problems here, first.” Linda Bennett took more of a legal stance and worried what she would tell her children if disobeying the law was condoned. “Are you saying it’s okay to break the law?”
Councilmembers Anna Laveria May, Jim Quirk and Mayor Sweeney chose to abstain from voting. May urged the council to stay focused on the city. “We have a lot going on right here now in the city of Hayward,” she said. “That’s why we’re here. I think we’re forgetting that.”
Both Sweeney and Quirk did not mount a criticism of the law but stated the council’s existing policy against taking stands on issues outside the purview of Hayward. “What’s going to be next? The oil spill? Are we going to condemn BP? That’s a good thing. We all want to condemn BP but we have other things to do,” said Quirk, who says he will send a personal letter to Gov. Brewer. Sweeney added: “Arizona can’t require Hayward to do anything that I’m aware of nor can Arizona require California to do anything.”
Numerous speakers Tuesday night feared Arizona’s law would signal further reprecussions in the future for immigrants across the country. Most put the law in an historical perspective saying it reminded them of the rise of fascism in Germany before World War II. “If people are being treated unjustly, it is our responsibility as an individual, as a group, or let me say, as a city, to stand up and say something,” said resident Betty DeForest. “Nobody said anything until it was too late to say something.”
Bob Wichman gave perhaps the most impassioned pleas against the law when he lamented his friend–a third-generation American–recently brought his passport with him for a trip to the state. “I was born and raised in an immigrant community called the United States of America,” said Wichman, who said he values Hayward for its rich ethnic diversity.
“There are those who says it does not concern Hayward because it is another state,” he said. “There are those who said 75 years ago that what was happening in Germany didn’t concern us. There were those who said 50 years ago the laws in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia did not concern us. They concern us. The laws in Arizona would make me an outlaw.”
I would like to appreciate your work and would like to tell to my friends. magnetic signs
I would add that even if a majority of the citizens are in support of a law which violates civil rights, it would still be a violation of civil rights. In fact, that is the very point of Constitutional rights: rights which even a majority cannot take away at its whim.
A majority of Southerners were in favor of the Jim Crow and segregation laws which held many communities captive well into the 1960's. It was still the right thing for the Federal government and the Supreme Court to intervene and prevent those laws from continuing.
The July 3rd, 12:48 posting is incorrect in its claim about Hispanics' opinion of the law.
The Washington Times, May 17, 2010:
“The new Arizona immigration law has yet to take effect, but it already has galvanized Hispanic voters to become more actively involved in the political process, according to two recent telephone polls.
Arizona's Hispanic voters overwhelmingly oppose the law, which takes effect this summer….”.
One of the polls showed 81% of Latino/Hispanic registered voters in the state of Arizona were strongly opposed to the new law.
It is rather despicable to lie in order to “support” your preferred conclusion.
I don't read all caps… completely ignored. Come again?
And yes, polls show (remember, polls…they are often ignored when going against a certain cause) millions of Americans, AMERICANS, like the Arizona law. Sorry, but I don't pander to illegal ANYTHING(s).
Millions of illegals have done it legally…why can't millions more?
And another thing. Mexico's laws are worse then Arizona's when it comes to illegal immigration in that country.
Hey all you jackasses; you're damn right Mexicans are being singled out. Who the HELL do you dumbasses think are crossing into Arizona and California illegally; Romanians? Screw you @$$holes, this is a nation of laws not freeloaders.
no surprise here. the council needs these subhuman vermin for their votes.
Surveys and polls in Arizona have shown that a majority of Hispanics, along with other citizens in Arizona support the Arizona law.
YES NICHOLAS YOU DO NEED ALL OF THOSE REQUIREMENTS TO VOTE IN CALIF. HOWEVER IF YOU ARE OF HISPANIC ETHNICITY YOU MIGHT FEEL THE SAME AS THE ONE OUT OF FIVE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES WHO MIGHT FEEL THAT HISPANICS ARE BEING SINGLED OUT AND MIGHT NOT CARE TO MUCH FOR THE PROPOSED LAW IN ARIZONA, THEREFORE THEY WOULD TEND TO VOTE FOR ANYONE WHO OPPOSES ARIZONA AND THEIR PROPOSED LAW, SINCE HAYWARD HAS A VERY LARGE HISPANIC POPULATION, THE COUNCIL MEMBERS WOULD DEFINITELY LOVE TO GET THEIR VOTES, I DIDNT THINK ANYONE WOULD ASSUME THAT I MEANT THE ILLEGALS WOULD BE VOTING FOR THEM AND SINCE MOST OF THE BOYCOTT RHETORIC COMING FROM LARGE CITIES LIKE LOS ANGELES ARE BEING PUT UP BY HISPANIC CITIZENS WHO WILL BE VOTING I AM SURE FOR ANYONE OPPOSING THE ARIZONA LAW. I THINK A LARGE PORTION OF THE HISPANIC POPULATION THINKS THAT THE LAW IS RACIST, AND UNFAIR TO HISPANICS. AS FOR ME I THINK ANYONE WHO ENTERS THIS COUNTRY THROUGH THE PROPER CHANNELS IS WELCOME, ANYONE WHO SNEAKS IN AND I DONT JUST MEAN HISPANICS, NEED TO BE SENT BACK HOME AND COME IN THROUGH THE PROPER CHANNELS.
Lets get something right, in order to VOTE in California, you must:
Be a citizen of the United States
Be a resident of California
Be at least 18 years of age at the time of the next election
Not be imprisoned or on Parole for the conviction or a felony
Not currently be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law.
I like the last one because we are usually voting for those who mentally incompetent, but I digress. Illegal citizens legally can't vote. The voter base that these people are playing to are those THEY think may be against this law. I employ several legal immigrants, and for fun, I asked them how they felt. 4 of 5 said they support the Arizona law; the one that did not…he said he didn't because he's not sure they wouldn't profile.
I encouraged all of them to think about how politicians are using them, politically.
I wonder if the city council has been down to see the Arizona border or are they just trying to get the Hayward Hispanic vote, my guess would be the latter. As for the Bill, from what I understand it is not to far off from the federal laws, who hasnt been stopped and not asked for their drivers license, registration, insurance, and had the police officer run it on his patrol car computer, I dont see anything wrong in Arizonas law, and I wonder what the council members would say if they get boycotted for their boycott. The members should try going abroad without proper papers if they think Arizonas proposed law is harsh.
City Council's should stick to city business. Its that simple.
These shiatheads have no augment based on facts or logic, instead they show all of yet another example of why Liberalism is a mental Disorder. So, they immediate Godwin the debate with their attempts to tie the law into somehow being the equivalent of a Nazi. Fark 'em all.
And I'm asked why I left the Citizens Advisory Commission…this kind of non-sense. Those who compare this to Civil Rights of the 60s and Nazi Germany are out of their minds. Please. We are talking about a law already on the federal books. Voting No takes courage, voting to abstain is political and voting Yes is playing to the base. My respect for them is almost gone.
Oh and Wichman, and all the rest of you phony bastards, keep the theatrics for the community playhouse, not politics.
Frank Zermeno should shut the hell up. What makes him think that immigrants from Mexico are so above the law? Oh but then, he has no respect for the law. Tell me Frank, did you immigrate to the U.S.A. legally like my family did? Did you have a sponsor?