The County of Santa Clara
California

Resolution
BOS-2017-84

Held from June 6, 2017 (Item No. 20): Under advisement from April 25, 2017 (Item No. 14): Adopt Resolution Establishing Non-Cooperation with Identity-Based Registries. (Roll Call Vote) (County Counsel)

Information

Department:County CounselSponsors:
Category:Resolution

Body

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS

The fiscal implications associated with adopting the Board Resolution Establishing Non-Cooperation with Identity-Based Registries are de minimis.  Any funding needed to satisfy the resolution’s reporting requirements would be absorbed by current departmental budgets.

REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

Members of the Muslim community in the United States have expressed concern over potential actions by the federal government to create a registry or database identifying and tracking specific religious minorities, including those affiliated with Islam.  In the past, the County has acted to respect and protect the separation of church and state, and to comply with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.  Moreover, the County has adopted Board resolutions and policies that affirm the separation between the provision of County services and the enforcement of federal civil immigration law.

The proposed resolution is modeled after the “Non-Cooperation with Identity-Based Registry” ordinance adopted by the City and County of San Francisco.  It affirms a commitment to the country’s founding principles of religious freedom, as well as the County’s opposition to discrimination against LGBTQ people, and ensures that County resources and employees do not assist with the creation of, or provide personal information for, a list, database, or registry of individuals on the basis of actual or perceived religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity (including transgender status).  It further provides for annual public reporting to the Board of each department and agency’s compliance with the resolution over the previous calendar year.

Adopting the resolution would send a strong message to residents that the County rejects Islamophobia and all forms of bigotry, hatred, and discrimination, regardless of the views of the current federal administration.  It would also ensure that residents are not deterred from using County services and participating in County programs due to fears that their personal information will be shared with the federal government for use in targeting individuals based on religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity (including transgender status).  Although the federal government has not yet taken concrete steps in this direction, adopting the proposed resolution would help alleviate the heightened fear that many communities are experiencing under the Trump administration. 

CHILD IMPACT

The recommended action will have a positive impact on children and youth by affirming the value of the County’s diverse and vibrant community of people representing many religions, ethnicities, national origins, sexual orientations, gender identities, and other personal traits, identities, and characteristics.  Moreover, it will help protect children and youth from any discriminatory actions the federal government may take to create a list, database, or registry based on religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal traits, identities, and characteristics.  In doing so, it will promote the safety, mental health, educational achievement, and opportunities for success of children and youth in the County.

SENIOR IMPACT

The recommended action will have a positive impact on seniors by affirming the value of the County’s diverse and vibrant community of people representing many religions, ethnicities, national origins, sexual orientations, gender identities, and other personal traits, identities, and characteristics.  Moreover, it will help protect seniors from any discriminatory actions the federal government may take to create a list, database, or registry based on religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal traits, identities, and characteristics.  In doing so, it will promote the health and wellbeing of seniors in the County.

SUSTAINABILITY IMPLICATIONS

The recommended action would enhance social equity and safety by affirming the value of the County’s diverse and vibrant community and rejecting bigotry, hatred, and all forms of discrimination.  It would also help ensure that residents who fear discriminatory actions by the federal government are not dissuaded from using County services and participating in County programs.  This would improve neighborhood access to the County’s safety-net services and encourage civic engagement while advancing the shared interests of residents in inclusive approaches to local governance.

BACKGROUND

In the 2016 presidential campaign and continuing in the current year, President Trump and other federal government officials repeatedly made statements that appear to support the creation of a federal registry or database targeted at identifying and monitoring Muslims.  Since assuming office, the President has signed a number of executive orders that appear to reflect an increased willingness to target individuals based on their religious affiliation, such as the January 27, 2017 and March 6, 2017 executive orders entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” referred to by some opponents as a “Muslim Ban,” which have been preliminarily halted by federal courts.  In addition, in recent months and years, reports of hate crimes and other incidents of bias in the United States against Muslims, including verbal abuse, physical assault, threats, vandalism, and attacks on houses of worship, have increased significantly. 

On April 25, 2017, the Board directed Administration and County Counsel to provide the Board with recommendations relating to the creation of an ordinance prohibiting the County from participating in or contributing to any type of government registry based on religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other classification protected by the California or United States Constitution. 

The County is a leader in protecting the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of its residents.  It has passed a groundbreaking ordinance controlling the acquisition and application of surveillance technology, and it has committed to becoming a Privacy Center of Excellence dedicated to carefully protecting the sensitive information that it holds about its residents.  The proposed resolution is consistent with these prior actions.

CONSEQUENCES OF NEGATIVE ACTION

The County would not take a firm stand against the President’s Islamophobic threats to create a federal registry or database targeted at identifying and monitoring Muslims.

STEPS FOLLOWING APPROVAL

The Clerk of the Board shall process the resolution.

Meeting History

Jun 6, 2017 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Held to June 20, 2017 at the request of President Cortese.

RESULT:HELD [UNANIMOUS]Next: 6/20/2017 9:30 AM
MOVER:Ken Yeager, Supervisor
SECONDER:Cindy Chavez, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian
Jun 20, 2017 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Twelve individuals addressed the Board.

RESULT:ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:S. Joseph Simitian, Vice President
SECONDER:Dave Cortese, President
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian

Transcript

Jun 20, 2017 9:30 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoBoard of SupervisorsRegular Meeting

 
10:54 AMThey had a hive. It was kind of massive after I saw it. Thank you.
President dave cortese: thank you. anything else? I have a motion and second by chavez and wasserman.
President mike wasserman: lastly, to have additional dialogue as the ordinance has sunshined and with any other comments over the intervening weeks would be helpful and to get some accommodation at our meeting in august. That's the motion. Thank you.
President dave cortese: seconded by supervisor wasserman still and we'll conclude the voting.

10:55 AMThat brings us to item 15. we have some speakers on this item. Before we go to speakers, there has been a good amount of communication back and forth with community based organizations that are advocates in the community with not only my office with counsel but based on responses from other board of supervisors as well. Some of that led to revisions and changes which I think county council believes the registry resolution pretty solid at this point. So before we e turn to public comment, I would like Mr. Williams to just walk us through where this now stands in terms of revisions and so forth.
10:56 AMSure. at its April 24th, meeting t council asked to return with this item which basically outlines a clear and broad policy on the part of the county to not cooperate with any efforts to establish any rates for registries. We have posted the dialogue with the advocacy organizations. The four specific changes we made and I will outline briefly. One is that we added language to specifically address the databases made by county contractors for the organization and second adding specificity to the reporting requirement to ensure compliance, self disclosure of particular violation and this tracks the model language from the advocacy group. We were asked to add language to non-cooperative efforts to display or anti-tournament provision is added to this provision as well and finally added a process to add expedited appeal to the extent there is an alleged violation of the resolution and in addition to that process, I also want to note there is the existing county whistle blower process that allows for confidential investigation of any violation of a county ordinance policy contractor other matter. So that is also a separate track available in addition to this process and to the extend there are broader concerns for example policy related concerns. All of these changes were made and we did have a conversation back and forth. Back then, there is a red line resolution in the packet with those changes. With that I wanted to also note this resolution is significantly broader than some similar measures that have been adopted by neighboring jurisdictions. It includes categories that others haven't such as orientation and gender identity and status and does not contain exclusions and carve outs that some of the others have. I wanted to point that out to the board as well and with that, i'm available for questions.
10:59 AMPresident dave cortese: just to clarify or attempt to reinforce, I know there is a lot of discussion about the private right of action versus the administrative process that would move relatively quickly which ended up being a process described in the resolution that would ultimately end up at the board of supervisors if so requested by the complaining party. So at the risk of going too far and you can correct me if I am, it seems to me that this gives a complaining party a right in the process of exhausting those remedies by appeal place the complaint directly on the board of supervisors agenda without objection or obstacles presented by the board or by the county administration, is that correct?
11:00 AMThat's correct.
So it's a direct, I think we have very few of those kind of opportunities in any of our ordinances and resolutions where the public can literally place a grievance or complaint directly on the board of supervisors agenda through a process. That said, I appreciate again all the work. I didn't mean to cross over the fact that vice-president simitian's office did a lot of work to do revisions and/or accommodations to initial draw up language that we were fond upon. We'll go to the public comment now and then come back for discussion, deliberation and a motion. We have about 10 speakers thus far. If you would like to speak to this item and you haven't filled out a request to speak, please do so. I will call these speakers 3 at a time. You have 2 minutes to speak. All items on the agenda today now that we are passed public comment will be time limited to 2 minutes. Not one limit like public comment as we were limited to speakers on that item. ( calling names ) the alliance of south asians taking action. Public speaker: good morning. I'm with the alliance of south asians taking action. I'm here to speak on the resolution. We believe we feel it's offered a guaranteed by the resolution. Thank you very much for considering this resolution and we urge you to pass this. Thank you. Public speaker: my name is wendy. I'm here for peace. As an american jew I support the resolution for diversity and equality and to which it teaches us that the worse kind of oppression and genocide starts with oppression. And against any muslim community or gender group. Thank you for this resolution and taking a stand.
11:03 AMThank you for being here.
President dave cortese: ( calling names ) public speaker: hi, i'm the government relations coordinator. I want to thank president cortese and vice-president simitian for bringing this to the attention of the board and applaud the board for taking protections on the community. I wish there wasn't a need to establish this resolution before us today. The resolution to establish non-cooperation with identity based registry and internment activities. I wish our administration didn't have advisors considering this and I wish we didn't have the rambling of calls for internments. These are made on national television and radio shows by those who have the ear of the president. I thought we learned our lesson with the internment of 120,000 japanese americans. We could not allow history to repeat itself. We need to provide protections from the registry and turnment. We owe our children more than this.
11:04 AMPresident dave cortese: thank you. public speaker: hello members of the board. I'm the director of the asian alliance in full and strong support of the resolution. My relatives were incarcerated by the u. S. Government during world war ii simply because they why japanese americans. We think this is a strong statement that the board can make and we are in full support. Thank you.
11:05 AMPresident dave cortese: thank you. public speaker: good morning, my name is with pria, with the educational network. Thank you to the board and county counsel for taking on this important issue. As an agency that works with immigration and the community, we support this program. We are happy to see the county is getting ahead of this issue in protecting communities who are in the cross hairs of prosecution. We support this and ensuring its application to contractors within the county. We are glad to see there is the enforce ability of the resolution in this process. For me personally as a south asian american i'm glad to see this resolution is not mere words, but has meaning for those affected. For myself working in washington d. C. Working to dismantle the federal registration commission and working with thousands of men who were forced to work for the government, I saw the destruction that registry programs have on families and yet they face little or no recourse. We appreciate the complaint appeals process and we also appreciate there is an alternate method for those who May not feel comfortable sharing their process out of fear of being doubly victimized and the panel that is there for protections and for those in non-profits. Thank you for your leadership and we have your strong support.
11:07 AMPresident dave cortese: thank you. please c'mon up. ( calling names ) public speaker: hello, thank you for your leadership in time. My name is tasha, born and raised in santa clara county. My family and community is here. My family is also american. I also work at asian law caucus in san francisco. The administration has left our communities fearful and the promises and the fear of this muslim registry is real. Now is the time to pass remedies that May be needed in our communities. Thank you for your time.
Thank you. public speaker: thank you all for your leadership on this issue and many other issues in santa clara county. I'm both a resident of this county and the member of the iranian community and member of islamic relations. I appreciate all the efforts that this county has taken and proud to live here in this county. The increasingly important that we take these steps where amongering where it has divided this nation. I support the amendments that were posed by county council and happy those are being put forth to the board. Thank you for your support.
11:08 AMPresident dave cortese: thank you. ( calling names )
Thank you very much, supervisors. thank you county counsel for standing fore our community at this time. Your leadership is very apparent and very much felt. I'm a member of the iranian community. I saw the impacts of this special legislation that the committee went through and the travel issues that have been coming forward. Both of these programs have been so reactive. I appreciate the county taking on this issue. In a proactive manner. And of course we support the amendments and hope that the county passes this resolution. We also strongly support the administrative complaint and the po's process. And in our experience, working through complaints who by responded by japanese americans to over turn the -- conviction. We understand the board will take complaints and have it be fast tracked and remedies available. As you look into that in the event of a violation or in the event of an appeal that the board will move forward that is meaningful and there is access to our community. Thank you for being vigilant and for considering this.
11:10 AMPresident dave cortese: thank you. next speaker, please. Public speaker: hello, my name is nabil. I'm a resident of santa clara county. I support this resolution because I believe that through our constitution of freedom this county guarantees and also I would like to say I used to live in washington d. C. And I had the experience of one of my roommates had to register and go every once in a while to make sure that he is still doing all the legal things that need to be done as a resident of washington d. C. . But when that happened. I support this resolution and I hope you can pass it. Thank you very much.
Thank you. next speaker, please. Public speaker: good afternoon, a law clerk at the san diego bay area chapter. I have been increasingly concerned to the amount of attention placed on the muslim community. One of the most concerning things that I have learned in my studies at the university of san francisco has been that not only the supreme court upheld the internment solely on the basis of their race, that it still stands as precedent. We heard right now not only a great deal of registries but also references to the history of internment. This is necessary. Thanks.
11:12 AMPresident dave cortese: next speaker, please. Public speaker: hi, i'm in mountain view for 3 years. I thank you for all the work that you are doing. I support this resolution because I believe nobody regardless of nationality or religion should be discriminated against in the eyes of the law because this bill guarantees such protection. I thank you for what you are doing. Public speaker: good morning. I have lived in the same city and county for 30 years. I am so proud to live in this city. With supervisors like you, I appreciate that. Any registry based on religion, and any other grounds is a violation. I thank you for this resolution and thank you for being so proactive.
11:13 AMPresident dave cortese: thank you. that concludes public comment. I appreciate it. They are all supportive and I would be interested in hearing from opponents as well and particularly with organizations involved. It's a much more complex kind of resolution to get right than it sounds. When you just hear the title of it, it's something that can not something that can be cut and paste. Each one of us around the dais for whatever it's worth, it doesn't change anything that's going on for now. But that we have experienced these kinds of registries that work on a government basis. After the recent -- race, I was approached by the italian community, which I respect that he has a different value or lens and was critical and wanting to know why we weren't cooperating with the mandate of the president of the united states. I asked him if this were applied again to the italian american community like it was during world war ii, would he be urging me to support the president equally vigorously. I reminded him that it's called "the secret story". It's called the secret story because by far there were more japanese americans than italian americans. There is another part of the story that is kept in much more secret that is the american families including in san jose and santa clara county including my own we were required to register during world war ii. Their places were known and making sure they knew what they were up to. That's a generation ago. It doesn't even begin to speak to the lgbt community today to what we see with immigrants especially of latino or hispanic descent today and perhaps with others today. Perhaps we have experienced that or in our ancestry. I wanted to put that out there because this idea that we need to be influenced is so obvious but also so easy to be put back in the background. We are living in the united states of america and do we really need resolutions like these today? absolutely. And to the extent that county counsel has created a process for people to come walk right into this room and place such a complaint on our agenda and have it publically heard is a powerful tool going forward and maybe one by jurisdictions in the country. There is a motion by supervisor vice-president simitian. Other comments by members of the board? Supervisor yeager?
11:17 AMSupervisor ken yeager: yes, and i'm so proud to be going forward with this resolution, and feel once again that this board understand how we need to often get ahead of these issues and rather than waiting when there is some sort of action by somebody else or that there is a request for some sort of information and somebody within our county establishment thinks it's okay to go forward with names and even if it's in an innocent way, you don't want in a situation where we are doing something that is just against our principal. What I like about this is because it is so proactive and setting the policy for everybody here in the county to know right away that it isn't ambiguous at all and we would not cooperate in anyway and other agencies that would want to take the same kind of resolution. I remember in the aids scare there were committees that were thinking about doing some sort of registry of quarantining people and everything becomes so underground that nobody is seeking any kind of government assistance. The nice thing about this is it's tied to the same way. We want people to feel free. If they need county services, they can come here and don't need to be part of some registration that is going to harm them. As we are doing with immigration as well and they can come forward and not worry about ever being reported. I'm very much in support of this and support my colleagues.
11:19 AMSupervisor cindy chavez: I want to thank supervisor cortese and simitian for bringing this forward and also want to speak to everybody who came out to speak to today. Sometimes it's hard to speak for this because we are already for you but that's the way our board is. However, I think what's most important about today is that it is a constant reminder that our humanity against challenged when we get afraid and when leaders use fear as a way to win or to gather power, that we at a community level, at a very grass roots level, have to make sure that our voices are loud, that we reject the idea that some of us are less human than some of us than who is trying to gain power to whatever end. I particularly want to acknowledge richard honda on the leadership alliance because with the asian community even though it's small in this county, is that it's very consistent and stand up for the other person no matter who that other person is. When president trump very first got elected. I think one of the first organizations that came forward really sounding the trumpet that we can't fall asleep here in the county but that we needed to go on the offense was the asian alliances and congressman mike honda. I want to remind you that the work ahead is very serious and this is a moment in time to remind ourselves that we have to be one community to frankly win the country back.
11:21 AMThank you, supervisor.
11:22 AMPresident dave cortese: with nothing else, we'll conclude the voting. The item on identity based registries passes unanimously. Thank you, everyone. [ applause ] item 16.

11:22 AMCommitment to the paris climate accord.
Yes, 2 weeks ago the board asked the county to come back onto the paerts climate accord. Before the board is such a resolution. It does affirm the county's commitment on these issues including the referencing of the counties including vital sustainability and combatting climate change and with that, i'm available for questions.
11:23 AMPresident dave cortese: thank you for that overview. Are there any other public speakers on this item? There are not. Supervisor chavez?
Supervisor cindy chavez: I was going to say, could you please move it. I think you brought this forward.
Yes I did. I move it and thank you for the acknowledgment.