Political differences among members of the Del Mar City Council came to the forefront Monday, Dec. 19, as the council discussed a proposed resolution affirming the city’s commitment to addressing climate change, and its unwillingness to participate in the registration of Muslims or the rounding up of undocumented immigrants.
The resolution was proposed by Councilman Dwight Worden, in an apparent reference to comments made by President-elect Donald Trump during his election campaign. Over the course of the campaign, Trump advocated a Muslim registry, a deportation force for undocumented immigrants and referred to climate change as a “hoax” perpetrated by China.
“The proposed resolution is intended to reassure our residents and visitors where, as a city, we stand on these issues and whether, and to what extent, our city government will participate in some of the controversial programs that are under discussion at the federal level,” Worden wrote in a memo accompanying the proposed one-page resolution.
But Mayor Terry Sinnott and Councilman Dave Druker expressed concern about what they perceived as the political nature of the resolution, its focus on national instead of local issues, and its potential to divide the community along partisan lines.
In the end, the council approved the measure on a 4-1 vote, with Sinnott in opposition.
Druker said he agreed with the spirit of the resolution, but said he wished it had been proposed later, after passions stirred by the election had died down.
“It’s a very highly politically charged environment. People will see us doing this in response to political action,” Druker said.
Sinnott said the resolution is clearly focused on “liberal Democratic positions” on federal issues, and asked why it didn’t include nods to conservative positions, such as calling for a balanced federal budget or reduced regulations on businesses.
The City Council is successful when it stays away from partisan issues and comes together to focus on Del Mar’s problems, said Sinnott.
“This particular item worries me a great deal. It is a proposed resolution that is very damaging to the spirit of cooperation and accomplishment for this council and Del Mar,” said Sinnott.
He scoffed at the idea that Del Mar residents need reassurance on these issues.
“To my mind our residents are not snowflakes, needing therapy dogs and coloring books. They don’t need to worry that the sky is falling,” Sinnott said.
But Worden and Haviland said citizens do want the city to take a position on these issues.
“I think it’s important we let the rest of the community know the values of our city,” said Haviland.
Worden said he tried to keep the politics out of his resolution, even avoiding the use of the term “sanctuary city,” a designation some cities have adopted to demonstrate their support for immigrants.
“This was my attempt at just being as clear and direct as possible,” Worden said. “We will not do roundups, we will not do registries. It’s not advancing Democratic policies, these should be universal American policies.”
Druker pointed out that 69 percent of Del Mar residents did not vote for Trump, meaning that they likely would approve of the points raised in the resolution. And city officials reported receiving 25 emails about the resolution, 23 in support and two against.