Public Puts SB54 Sanctuary State on Its Own Thousand Oaks Council Agenda

By Mike Batt

The Thousand Oaks City Council has avoided taking a definite position on SB 54 “Sanctuary State,” also officially known perversely as “The California Values Act.” They have not opted to discuss it yet, but the public keeps forcing its own discussion in the public comments period of each Council meeting, most recently at the Tuesday, May 15 meeting (AGENDA, VIDEO). Public comment starts at about 31 minutes.

Sanctuary State opponents outnumbered advocates again at the 5-15-18 Thousand Oaks City Council Meeting. Photo: Mike Batts/

“Take as much care for your citizens as your oak trees,” was one of many clear and concise statements from the residents of Thousand Oaks and nearby surrounding communities regarding SB54.

As the meeting progressed there was ongoing discussion for both sides of the issue. The concerns expressed pertained to personal safety as well as their family members, potential loss of property value, supporting law enforcement and federal immigration laws.

Comments from a Police Chaplin expressed that he was advised to wear a bulletproof vest because crime has increased exponentially.  Voicing additional concern while trying to sleep at night was a law enforcement wife whose husband’s name is one of many listed on the MS13 street gang hit list.

Attorney and AD44 candidate Ronda Baldwin Kennedy stated that some of her clients are illegal aliens and believes that passing SB54 would put both themselves and their families at risk from the criminals that would be released back into the streets instead of being deported.

There were overwhelming and compelling concerns over personal safety, potential decrease in property values, and supporting law enforcement.   Many attendees expressed concern that this is not about illegals, it’s about crime and the recycling of felons back into society.  Many put the ownership of this decision with the Council members to make the point known that they pledged to uphold the constitution and laws.

“Words matter and there are 4,543 of them in the Constitution that you swore to uphold” — a direct statement to the council members … Deborah Baber-Savalla opines on Sb54.

Council reactions to the SB54 public comments varied. Shown: Mayor Andrew Fox. Photo: Mike Batt/

One attendee said that he had read the bill and many of the concerns are addressed within it and there was no need for fear tactics.  Another mentioned the “Golden Rule” while another recited a Bible verse.

26th District Congressional candidate (running against Julia Brownley) Jeff Burum said that if he was elected to Congress, he would make city councils’ jobs easier by working to eliminate “Sanctuary States” and cities. He added that government officials take an oath to defend the Constitution and therefore have an obligation to protect the people and their property. It is clear to him that the Constitution is prohibits SB54 per article I Section 8-9 and article 6 (Supremacy clause). He added that some sanctuary state advocates were incorrectly attempting to rhetorically conflate “immigrants ” with illegal aliens.

Willie Luca (below) had a different take, criticizing what he said were a series of people pressuring the Council to take action to oppose Sb54, while he applied pressure to do exactly the opposite. He added that opposing it is against CA values and would be a poke in the eye to the city and people

Willie Luca defends SB54 at Thousand Oaks Council meeting, 5-15-18. (Meeting video screenshot)

Julie Martinez described Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin and Sen. Henry Stern as very wise people who voted for the CA Values Act and added that Irwin is very strong on law enforcement.

Dr. Kevin MCNamee who announced his intention to win a Council seat this year, said that SB54 is based upon Prop 47, which lowered many felonies to misdemeanors. He also said this isn’t about “immigrants,” as some other speakers intimated, but “illegal immigrant criminals,” (who are legally described as criminal “illegal aliens”). He urged the Council to submit an amicus brief joining an existing case against the state to oppose SB54.

The next Thousand Oaks City Council Meeting is on June 5th at 6:00 p.m. We are told that SB54 opponents will be back (probably advocates too).


Mike Batts is a photojournalist residing in Westlake

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