Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Heroic Acts in Pomona
Last night I sat in on the City Council meeting in an effort to learn more about how Pomona runs and why her engine doesn't always start when you turn the key. I hope to write about a few things that happened last night, but this post will only be about the public comments made last night by members of the M.M. group. (I am only using the initials of the group and I would ask that any one who links this post would respect that and do the same.)
Four or five men and women got up individually to request that the city do away with the Pomona Day Laborers Center. Each would start out claiming some tangential relationship to Pomona, but none were current residents of Pomona. One gal got up and shrieked that she no longer drives through Pomona as it is a "cesspool" because of all the "illegal aliens." I kept wondering what route she took to get to the meeting. This gal further stated that she would no longer eat in Pomona restaurants because of the "illegal aliens" in the kitchens. I'm guessing she doesn't eat out much in general.
The most chilling of the speakers got up and called the Latino members of the council "traitors" and "criminals." One speaker kept accusing the City of "perpetuating the crime scene that is the the Pomona Day Laborers Center." At first, these tirades were almost funny, because it was so over-the-top. But, after awhile the level of hatred being spewed made me physically scared to be in the same room with these people.
At one point after the public comments section of the meeting had been closed, the man who was calling everyone a traitor charged back up to the microphone. The mayor, in what I personally found to be a heroic act, lifted up in her seat and demanded that he step away from the microphone. Another of the male M.M. did the same thing. It was at this point that people from inside the meeting went out to get the police. There had been officers at the meeting earlier, but they were no longer inside. When there continued to be a commotion at the front of the meeting and no police in sight, I started to call 911 on my cell phone, just as an officer came in and stood at the back of the meeting.
Mayor Torres announced that her home and office have both been shot at, and her office vandalized. Councilwoman Carriozosa also expressed concern for her physical safety with regard to the M.M.
City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glassman said that the personal attacks that he heard were the worst he'd ever seen in chambers and he would be looking into whether all the speech uttered was protected.
The verbal assault gave Councilman George Hunter a chance to rescue and defend Pomona's image. He described his home town in the most non-cesspoolian of ways, as a perfectly wonderful place to live, eat and raise children.
When the M.M. continengency finally left, one of the M.M. women accidentally left behind her purse. When she came back into chambers to retrieve the purse a few minutes later, her purse was still right where she left it. Miraculously, not a single Pomona hand had reached out from the cesspool to steal it.
Today's photo is of a pool of rubber duckies that was part of the Pomona carnival across from City Hall this weekend. When photographer Richard sent it to me, I had no idea I'd actually find a post to go with the photo.
Posted by me at 3:39 PM