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By Jeff Pack
Writer 

Temecula City Council decides to shelve controversial resolution

Resolution denouncing socialism/communism draws public comment in support and opposition

 

Last updated 4/27/2019 at 11:29am

Jeff Pack photo

From left to right, Mayor Mike Naggar and councilmembers Maryann Edwards and Matt Rahn listen as Gwendolyn Ulrich speaks to the council in opposition to a resolution brought to the council by Naggar and Rahn on Tuesday, April 23.

The Temecula City Council ultimately decided not to pursue the passage of a resolution, written by Mayor Mike Naggar and Councilmember Matt Rahn, brought in front of the council during a four-hour meeting on Tuesday, April 23.

The resolution was described on the agenda as "A resolution of the city council of the City of Temecula reaffirming the principals outlined in the Constitution of the United States of America."

Mayor Rahn announced the addition of the resolution on Friday, April 19 on his public-facing Facebook account.

In the post, Mayor Naggar wrote, "Council Member Matt Rahn and I have placed on the council agenda for Tuesday 23rd, a Resolution denouncing socialism/communism, upholding the elements of the constitution and the oath of office and reasserting that anyone who wishes to change our government without proper constitutional amendment may be considered an 'enemy' either foreign or domestic including elected officials."

The post immediately drew the ire of several commenters who questioned why the councilmembers were concerning themselves with issues they deemed as partisan politics. Other commenters supported the action and supported Mayor Naggar and Rahn.

On Tuesday night, 25 people signed in to speak on the issue and 24 ended up speaking to the council. Twenty-one people spoke in opposition, three spoke in favor, and one person was in favor of rewording the resolution with "less loaded language to make it more palatable for the community."

People on both sides of the issue spoke passionately.

"It almost seems as if you're responding to national politics and not our own local politics," said resident Cindy Bustos. "So, I am wondering why is this resolution being brought up at this particular time?

"This seems to be blatant political grandstanding and I think it's entirely inappropriate."

"Your resolution is sloppily argued making an untenable case for economic models within the Constitution when no such discussion exists in the text," said Dr. Liam O'Mara. "The Constitution we all love is concerned with governance and governance alone. So far as your socialist boogeyman goes, I would suggest a careful read of the fifth amendment the intended jurisprudence around it as well as the common law principals of eminent domain.

"None of that has anything to do with anything really, because the socialism you appear to fear, simply does not exist. This resolution is nothing but vapid jibberish."

But not everyone in the audience was opposed to the resolution.

"I'm a capitalist and proud of it," said Louie Reyes. "I hope you're not getting intimidated this evening because I think this was a stacked deck tonight.

"The enemy is at the gate, contrary to what you heard earlier. The enemy is at the gate and if we don't stop them now, we will lose America. Bottom line.

"The Constitution is at war. It's at war and it's being attacked by socialists and communists. And I would be very embarrassed here in America to say that I was a communist and a socialist - if they don't like America, they can get out."

When the public comment portion regarding Item 23 on the agenda was over at about 10:30 p.m., the councilmembers had time to speak.

"Clearly, we're not going to vote on anything tonight and clearly our attempts to mitigate our interests in the Constitution strayed into territory that created strife within our community," Rahn said. "And that's never the intent. And for that, I deeply apologize and you're not often going to hear politicians saying that but I deeply apologize. Never in our representation should we place ourselves in such high regard that we can't admit that we haven't hit the target we want to and remember that we want to represent a community, not ourselves, not a party and not anyone else."

Councilmember Maryann Edwards went a step further.

"I would just like to see this just go away," Edwards said. "If you want to bring it back as something else or the thing that you intended, then let's just start over. Let's put this behind us because Temecula is not a city to be divided."

Mayor Naggar finished the discussion.

"I put something on Facebook that depicted my zealousness, but it was not to divide, it was to unite," he told the audience. "I see now that perhaps it was a little divisive. I broke a cardinal rule that I just don't do Facebook government, but, I got overzealous."

Naggar said he would be removing his government Facebook page and suggested the discussion continue outside of the council chambers.

Jeff Pack photo

Louie Reyes speaks in support of the proposed resolution.

"I recommend we receive and file this," Naggar said. "I'd like to have more discussions like this, but not from the dais and not with a resolution hanging over our head. This community, exchanging ideas and building one another up and sending our thoughts up to Sacramento and Washington."

After Naggar suggested he and Rahn could circle back to the issue at a later date, Rahn chimed in.

"I just have to say that I really like the idea of letting this die," Rahn said.

"Fair enough," Naggar said.

"I think we've all said what we have to say and I think we've had a robust dialogue here this evening and I'd like to see us focus on those items that serve the public purpose," Rahn said. "If we walk away from this dais with anything it's that we should not be directing that dialogue."

The entire council meeting can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IalmMUK1kOY.

Jeff Pack can be contacted at [email protected]

 

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