A couple nights ago I attended a meeting of the city council on whether to declare my city, Culver City, a sanctuary city. It was already acting as one, but the measure made it actual law.

Culver City is its own city within LA county, with its own police force; I live on the dividing line, which means that if I observe a crime being committed on my side of the street I call Culver City police, but if it's across the street it's a matter for LAPD. Culver City police is the police force I volunteer with. It practices neighborhood policing, in which police are assigned to a specific neighborhood for years and sometimes permanently, so they can get to know who lives there and what's normal and what isn't. They also believe in de-escalating situations rather than charging in with guns blazing, and I have seen this in action. No organization is perfect... but they're really good.

One of my neighbors emailed me to inform me of the sanctuary city vote, and so I showed up. I live in a fourplex, and found at the meeting that all four apartments in my building had at least one representative at the meeting: a 100% building turn-out! I'm in the first row in the black jacket. The guy on my right is my downstairs neighbor.

It was my first city council meeting. There was a huge turn-out consisting of hundreds of Culver City residents and eight or ten non-resident paid Trump agitators. The Trump agitators were next to me, against the wall.

Because of the huge turn-out, the council had other matters go first. I was charmed by the multiple Farmer's Market vendors who spoke to urge the council to re-hire a guy named Emanuel who had been running the market for nine years, all eloquently praising him, often mentioning "despite his youth." When they were done, Emanuel himself spoke. He mentioned being 29, so he started when he was 20! Impressive. He was voted in. I was also intrigued by the several vendors who made references to the previous manager leaving under what were apparently mysterious circumstances ("Emanuel took over after [I forget his name] left... for whatever reason," and "Since [Whover] went... wherever he went," etc).

Then we moved on to the main matter. 79 people spoke, at two minutes each. All but one of the actual Culver City residents were in favor of the sanctuary city resolution, which is pretty amazingly unified. It was cool to hear everyone's stories - immigrants, descendants of Holocaust survivors, lawyers making lawyerly suggestions, teenagers, pastors, veterans, and a hilarious number of parents of exactly two children, many of them attending the same high school. (Culver City has the fourth most diverse school population in America - 25% African-American, Asian American, Latino/a, and White.)

The Trump agitators loudly booed and cat-called Every. Single. Speaker. This despite the council members repeatedly telling them not to. A high school student from an immigrant family made a very moving speech, and started crying when he spoke about his family's struggles; the Trump agitators loudly mocked him. At that, the entire audience got up and gave the student a standing ovation.

The agitators' speeches were clearly meant for some audience other than their actual one; Trumpers on youtube, I think. They threatened and insulted the council members and audience, yelled, "Sessions is coming for you!" invoked strange Biblical conspiracy theories, and said, "They're gonna rape your women!" and "They're gonna kill you all!" Culver City is extremely liberal and this did not go over well.

The meeting started at 7:00 PM, and ended at a quarter to 1:00 AM. By around 11:00, the heckling and booing was getting pretty old. A Muslim speaker who was calling for peace and brotherhood got called a murderer and terrorist. At that point, I snapped, "SHUT UP!" and a council member had the loudest yeller evicted. When he was allowed back in about half an hour later, he brandished and set off a taser. He was then escorted out by the cops and not allowed back in.

The remaining agitators got bored and left before the actual vote. The council members spent about an hour debating the actual provisions of the measure, with input from the chief of police and the city attorney. In the end, the measure passed 3-1 (the dissenter also voted for sanctuary, but as a symbolic measure only without specific provisions), with one provision stricken (providing funds for immigrants' legal defense) and a few others reworded. Victory!

The whole thing got me interested in city politics, which I haven't been involved in previously in that sense. It was also nice to do something as a part of my community, after mostly living under a rock for the last two years.
Tags:
monanotlisa: Diana as Diana Prince in glasses and a hat, lifting the rim of the latter rakishly. HOT! (Default)

From: [personal profile] monanotlisa


Rachel, This is such a fascinating account! May I signal-boost? It is, like you say, probably skewing on the side of super-heartening, with its diverse and liberal population represented, but maybe that's just what we all need for now.
oracne: turtle (Default)

From: [personal profile] oracne


I am so glad taser guy was escorted out by cops. He probably thought that was a win, but it still satisfies me.

Our city government hired some lawyers to investigate Sanctuary City (we already are one) stuff before stuff goes down. (I summarize!)

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em_h: (Default)

From: [personal profile] em_h


City politics is my favourite level of politics on which to work! It's immediate, it's relatively direct (I have an actual personal relationship with my city councillor, and with many of his staff members), and some actual on-the-ground change can actually be achieved in a reasonable span of time. Plus it can get a community more involved, get people knowing each other better, and be generally empowering. I mean, I still work on the larger levels of government, but municipal politics does have a particular appeal.

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muccamukk: Text: Love > Anger, Hope > Fear, Optimism > Despair. (Politics: Canadian Politics)

From: [personal profile] muccamukk


That's very heartening to read. Thanks for writing it up.

We the paid agitators saying they were paid? Or was it just super obvious?

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torachan: (Default)

From: [personal profile] torachan


That's really great to hear!

And I didn't know that about the Culver City police, but that's also really good to know.

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mildred_of_midgard: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mildred_of_midgard


Glad to see a place where I used to live behaving itself!
likeadeuce: (buffysurvive)

From: [personal profile] likeadeuce


I've become a big fan of getting involved in local government, lately, I'm glad this was an energizing experience for you.
laceblade: Toby, Josh, and Donna of The West Wing, talking intensely (WW: 20 Hours in America)

From: [personal profile] laceblade


Paid protesters are SO WEIRD, aren't they? I encountered some during the #wiunion protests back in 2011, just one pocket of the Square and you could easily tell they were not from Wisconsin from the way they dressed, the things they were yelling, their signs, everything. It was shocking even though there were tens of thousands of us there protesting on the "other side." I just want to know like, is this a full-time job? Are they actors? How does this gig work?

It's telling that Trump/others keep accusing Democrats of employing "paid protesters" at things like congressional recess town halls, at airports, etc. It's a tactic that they use, so they expect no less from the other side. For the people on the ground, though, it is immediately clear who's actually from the community and isn't.
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)

From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka


I love this post and your amazing fellow-citizens and I think if you could get to do more stuff like this it would be awesome.

(Tone-deaf Trumpists, though, omg wut.)
em_h: (Default)

From: [personal profile] em_h


Taser Guy has achieved international media fame. An article from the Independent just turned up in my Facebook feed. According to the article, he has also achieved 90 days in jail.
Edited Date: 2017-03-31 01:38 pm (UTC)
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

From: [personal profile] oyceter


I love city politics! And ahahaha meetings that go on for six hours... so familiar. The best part is after working adjacent to city government for a while, watching Parks & Rec was doubly hilarious, especially all the scenes of the city council meetings or the public opinion forums. I have been trying to go to more meetings on stuff like transit policy or neighborhood development and etc. and it is always amusing if nothing else to listen to the various complaints and questions.

Also, I don't know if LA does this, but SF livestreams all its city council and Board of Education meetings online for people who can't physically make it.
Edited (Typos) Date: 2017-04-01 08:20 am (UTC)

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dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)

From: [personal profile] dolorosa_12


This was really interesting (and heartening) to read about. I'm particularly impressed by the people telling their own personal stories in the face of yelling, harassment, and, apparently, tasers. Good for you for going along!

From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com


That's awesome. (Well, not the part with the hecklers.) I'm looking for ways to get more involved with my own city's politics.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


WOW!! First off, go you, and go your apartment block. My heart's swelling with gratitude and this-is-the-way-it-should-be ... ness.

And those hecklers sound terrifying, frankly :( I'm glad the guy with a taser got taken away by the police, but wow. That's really scary.

Three cheers for non-heckling citizenry of Culver City. You guys are *great*. I'm glad your city's going to be a sanctuary city.

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From: [identity profile] juliansinger.livejournal.com


Go y'all! Huzzah!

Just because I'm curious: How did you know they were paid?

(Also: Wtf taser, dude. Why is that a thing you think is OK?)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


They weren't local, clearly knew nothing about the area, came together in a group, had identical recording equipment, and had been spotted at other areas doing the exact same schtick. They could have just been enthusiastic Trumpers but that's textbook paid agitator stuff.

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From: [identity profile] sartorias.livejournal.com


That is awesome. I am hoping that our cities around here will follow the example of Santa Ana.
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)

From: [personal profile] sovay


In the end, the measure passed 3-1 (the dissenter also voted for sanctuary, but as a symbolic measure only without specific provisions), with one provision stricken (providing funds for immigrants' legal defense) and a few others reworded. Victory!

Congratulations!

Also, I'm glad the guy with the taser was removed.

From: [identity profile] gaudior.livejournal.com


That's so cool! Go, you!

And the agitators sound... unnerving. Did it seem like everyone knew they weren't real residents? Did anyone call them on that?

From: [identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com


Wow, go you! And congratulations on the measure passing!

The agitators sound terrifying and irritating. I'm glad the guy with a taser didn't hurt anyone!
lydamorehouse: (Default)

From: [personal profile] lydamorehouse


Wow. This is nothing like living in ultra-blue Saint Paul. I think I've been heckled exactly once, when I was doing a protest outside Amy Klobuchar's office. Some guy in a pick-up truck yelled, "Get a job!" to all of us (which we all discussed was the opposite of the usual talking point that we are all paid protestors.)
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)

From: [personal profile] lokifan


That's great! Good for you, and for everyone else. I'm VERY impressed by the stamina it must have taken from you all, and the self-restraint necessary to react so calmly to such extreme and long-lasting provocation.
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