As the region continues to bear witness to the small minded actions of the Temecula School Board and its members belligerent refusal to change course, it is equally important that we not lose sight of similar and equally as offensive antics by other elected leaders in the region.
To that end, I must also stress how merely observing what is going on as a distant and offended observer, is not enough to stem the tide of racist, homophobic and misogynistic actions that are dusting up across our region as if we lived along rural roads in the deep south. We must be vigilant and met every egregious action with resistance.
Most recently, residents in the city of Redlands are seeing the “red” strategy of political bigotry and intolerance flare up in their community as members of its city council including both Republican (Mayor Pro Tem Paul Barich) and Democrats (Mayor Eddie Tejeda and Councilmember Mario Saucedo) have joined forces to stall and/or thwart progressive action toward a more equitable and inclusive community.
These unwelcomed and undemocratic efforts include changing the rotation policy historically followed to fill the rotating positions of mayor and mayor pro tem–many believe this misogynistic action is specifically and intentionally crafted to prevent the two women on the council from having an equitable opportunity to hold these positions. As backwards in time as this effort is, it isn’t the only backwards action they are conniving to to implement.
This same “misogynistic brotherhood” of bad actors is working aggressively to silence community voices by eliminating remote public comment opportunities at all city council and commission meetings.
Such an action seems counterintuitive to inclusivity and flies in the face of making access to elected officials and the process of government more–not less–transparent. Why do this? Is it that they are afraid of hearing from their all constituents?
It should also not surprise you to learn that in addition to the grievous positions detailed above, these same political culprits boldly flaunted their homophobic personas when they voted against flying the Pride flag at Redlands City Hall during Gay Pride month.
What is equally alarming to me about what is happening in Redlands is that the dangers of toxic masculinity and a mindset of supremacy regardless (of their race) has successfully crossed party lines to where two Democrats and one Republican have formed a wall of resistance.
We must save ourselves from falling into the abyss of political and social ignorance that many in the Republican Party and others are quite comfortable calling home.
For this reason, I support the Young Democrats of San Bernardino County’s urgent Call to Action. The group is asking members of the Redlands community to stand up against “homophobia, misogyny and the removal of remote public comments” by joining the Redlands City Council meeting on Tuesday, July July 25th at 6 PM. You can attend via Zoom with the Meeting ID: 824 4618 0187 or to join zoom with audio only by phone call 1-877-853-5247, and enter the Meeting ID: 824 4618 0187.
From another perspective, it’s been almost two years to the day since the Redlands City Council boasted about its passage of a declaration and plan of action related to Racism as a Public Health Crisis in response to the racial uprising of 2020 and the impacts of COVID-19 that laid bare a multitude of issues impacting the Black community.
At the time, Redlands Planning Commissioner Joe Richardson called the resolution a ‘necessary first step.’ That still rings true, but it certainly should not be the only step toward equity as homophobia and misogyny are also despicable and harmful.
When commenting at the time about the declaration, Richardson wrote, “May this be a moment when our city chooses to lead, from recognition, to difficult dialogue in safe spaces, and to corresponding action for the betterment of our city and our surrounding community.”
The city’s progress relative to the 2020 declaration is undetermined but if the current actions described above are indicative of these members commitment to equity, I do not have an overwhelming sense of confidence that things will change whether related to racism, homophobia, misogyny or government transparency unless the citizens of Redlands, with the support of the broader inland community, take a stand to stop the madness.
Of course this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.