Camarillo City Council rejects Black Lives Matter racial injustice resolution; postpones review of Ventura County Sheriff Office agreement

By Michael Hernandez 

CAMARILLO—A Black Lives Matter racial injustice resolution that received over 1,200 emails and an additional 32 public comments by phone was rejected by the City Council in a 3-2 vote on Wednesday.  A review of the $18.1 million agreement between the City and the Ventura County Sheriff Office (VCSO) was also postponed to allow for council questions to be properly addressed by the Sheriff Office.

The rejected resolution written by Vice Mayor Susan Santangelo and Councilmember Shawn Mulchay “Supporting A Just Cause for Racial Equality and Denouncing Racial Injustice” states:  “WHEREAS, the City Council recognizes, as a moral fact, that Black lives matter, and that the consequences of racial inequality impact and reverberate through a multitude of other ethnicities, communities of color, LGBTQ+, and all marginalized groups.  THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED The City Council of the City of Camarillo finds and declares as follows:

“That the City Council of the City of Camarillo mourns the lives of those lost and traumatized by racial injustice. We, as a community, stand for peace, equality and human dignity. The City Council is committed to making Camarillo a welcoming inclusive, and safe community for everyone. While we promote free thought and speech, we condemn racism, police brutality, hate speech, bigotry, violence, and prejudice.

“The City commits to establish a public process to better understand inequalities within our community and reaffirms its commitment to equality for all people in the administration of its laws and provision of services.”

(Editor’s Note: To review the complete resolution go to this link:

CC XIX B Resolution regarding Racial Equality and Denouncing Racial Injustice – RED FOLDER)

Neither of the resolution authors (Vice Mayor Susan Santangelo, District 2: Central Camarillo and Councilmember Shawn Mulchay, District 5, Southeast Camarillo) of the Black Lives Matter racial injustice resolution are facing re-election contests in November.  Also, not facing re-election in November was the resolution’s strongest critic: Councilmember Charlotte Craven, District 1, West Camarillo.

Citizens Journal readers interested in the 1,200 comments submitted to the Camarillo City Council can review the following links:

CC XIX B and C – Comments regarding racial equality and police funding – RED FOLDER 1

CC XIX B and C – Comments regarding racial equality and police funding – RED FOLDER 2 

CC XIX B and C – Comments regarding racial equality and police funding – RED FOLDER 3

CC XIX B and C – Comments regarding racial equality and police funding – RED FOLDER 4

The total pages for each of the Red Folders: 1 (362 pages); 2 (272 pages); 3 (177 pages) and 4 (671 pages).  Some 40 individuals attempted to make public comments by phone which did not begin until 9:25 p.m. and did not conclude until 11:13 p.m.  A total of 33 live phone comments were made (19 in favor of the BLM resolution and 14 opposed).

Some of the comments in favor of the resolution that were made:

  • Sara: “I support the Black Lives Matter resolution given the current climate of hostility to peaceful protestors who are affirming Black lives.”
  • Rebecca: “It is 2020 and this shouldn’t be a debate. This is an old people town of white wealthy homeowners. Many of my friends have moved away because the City has not made room for them.”
  • June: “Camarillo does not have a crime problem but a diversity problem. Why is the number of Blacks so small? The Black community does not feel welcomed or safe in Camarillo.”
  • Rene: “Other coastal cities (Ventura and Oxnard) have made such proclamations to (remove) a framework of white supremacy.”

Some of the comments opposed to the resolution that were made:

  • Katherine: “Our city is home to all kinds of Americans, regardless of religion or color. To recognize one group is insensitive to all lives which are important and all groups and all languages.”
  • Terry: “We now know that the organizers (leaders) of Black Lives Matter are into Marxism and Socialism and the distribution of wealth and in disrupting families.  The number one goal is to defund and get rid of the police. When business owners are contacted by people of this movement, if they don’t say Black Lives Matter their reputation is trashed in social media and their business destroyed.”
  • Peter: “Black Lives Matter.  Jewish Lives Matter. Senior Citizens Lives Matter. Asian Lives Matter. American Lives Matter.”
  • Kathleen: “The term Black Lives Matter (is connected) to an organization, a political movement that has many goals including defunding police that has no support by many in Camarillo.”

City Council discussion included these comments:

Councilmember Charlotte Craven: “Black Lives Matter is both a movement and an organization with the same name. Both claim the title Black Lives Matter. If we endorse Black Lives Matter, we are endorsing the organization. I can’t support the resolution.

Councilmember Kevin Kildee: “We need to consider three things: 1) What is our intent? 2) How does this issue affect Camarillo? 3) How is perceived by future City Councils? 

“Camarillo is so divided on this issue. It pains me to see what happens to Black people in this country. It pains me what happens to Hispanics in this country. It pains me to see when white males over 60 can’t find a job. It pains me when I hear that someone can’t live in Camarillo because housing costs are too high.” 

Councilmember Shawn Mulchay: “I know what the intent and the purpose of this resolution is. It is not to cause division and be divisive but to cause healing where healing is most needed.” 

Vice Mayor Susan Santangelo: “It feels like we are trying to appease everybody. There is no way to please everybody. I will speak out for minorities and those who have less of a voice.”

Mayor Tony Trembley: “We need to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. This is an extremely important quality of a City Council.”

Voting for the racial equality resolution was Vice Mayor Susan Santangelo and Councilmember Shawn Mulchay. Voting against the resolution were Mayor Tony Trembley, Councilmember Charlotte Craven, and Councilmember Kevin Kildee.

A compromised resolution proposed by Mayor Tony Trembley which stated: “The City of Camarillo is committed to racial equality, due process and equal protection under the law” was approved 4-1 with Councilmember Shawn Mulchay joining the affirmative votes and Vice Mayor Susan Santangelo opposing the new resolution which passed at 11:48 p.m.

“I am deeply unhappy that the initial resolution did not pass,” said Councilmember Shawn Mulchay. “I think (the vote) is a mistake.” Mulchay said he voted for the second resolution grudgingly. because it “is better than nothing. It doesn’t go far enough.”

Council reviews process for examining Ventura County Sheriff Office agreement

After returning from a short recess (just after midnight), the city council heard Assistant City Manager Carmen Nichols outline the process for examining the Ventura County Sheriff Office agreement which was being postponed to a future meeting.

The City Council was told that two previous agreements between Camarillo and the Ventura County Sheriff Office had been signed in 1965 and 1980. Presently, the Ventura County Sheriff Office is negotiating an agreement with the City of Thousand Oaks.

Six public comments were received after midnight with five individuals asking that the City defund (at least reduce) the $18.1 million dollar law enforcement budget. The other request asked the city council to: “Not recuse itself from oversight responsibility.”

Asking the most questions of the process to be used by the City was Councilmember Shawn Mulchay:

  1. What kind of metrics will be used (to evaluate effectiveness)?
  2. How will work be assessed?
  3. What are the current trends in policing?
  4. What are law enforcement’s biggest obstacles?
  5. How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting policing?

City Council members up for re-election in November include:

District 3:  Central Camarillo (West of Lewis Road and East of Ponderosa Drove, South of Hwy 101 to Camarillo Airport; includes the Camarillo Outlets).

Kevin Kildee: A member of the City Council since 1996. Kildee has served five terms as Mayor.  He was born in Oxnard (1956) and raised in Camarillo.

District 4: East Camarillo (Northeast of Hwy 101 and West of the Santa Rosa Road. Includes Mission Oak Park Center and Terra Linda Elementary School):

Mayor Tony Trembley:  A member of the City Council since 2016.  Born in San Francisco (1956). Camarillo resident since 1983. Practicing attorney since 1983 in the law office of Anthony H. Trembley.

The City of Camarillo is comprised of over 70,000 residents with just under two percent of the city population designed as African Americans in the 2000 Census.  Camarillo City Hall (601 Carmen Drive) re-opened to the public on June 29th. Between 100-150 individuals supporting law enforcement showed up for an afternoon rally by City Hall. An opposing group of 10 Black Lives Matter protesters were also seen at the same location.

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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3 Responses to Camarillo City Council rejects Black Lives Matter racial injustice resolution; postpones review of Ventura County Sheriff Office agreement

  1. William Hicks July 12, 2020 at 8:32 am

    There was a time when “Equal Opportunity” was needed; maybe even now. BUT, when they attached “Affirmative Action” to it it became just another version of racism.

    As a person that lived through the 60’s.70’s and 80’s I see this as just a history repeating itself with BLM and Antifa as the cause and the rest of us, regardless of race, are the victims. Certainly I was a victim of affirmative action, where I had to wait until every minority race and female gender was promoted before I was, even when I had the highest score on promotional tests.

    Reply
  2. William Hicks July 11, 2020 at 2:23 am

    WELL, a partial win. Now Camarillo Citizens need to make sure that their city council members don’t dramatically reduce the Police Contract.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous July 10, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you for making COMMON SENSE decisions. You did not conflate empathy for People of Color with the BLM Marxist doctrine; thank you! You are a Central Coast role model

    Reply

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