Indivisible: Conejo Urges Assemblymember
Jacqui Irwin to Stand with Her Constituents,
Support Compromise ‘California Values Act’
Thousand Oaks-Based Group Condemns Sheriffs’
‘Bad Faith’ in Negotiating SB 54 Amendments,
Says Irwin Abstention ‘Not Good Enough’
THOUSAND OAKS, CA—Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has added law enforcement-friendly amendments to a bill limiting state agencies’ cooperation with President Trump’s radical immigration policies, it is time for Ventura County Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin to join the mainstream of Californians and support the California Values Act (SB 54). That message is being delivered to Irwin this week by the Thousand Oaks-based advocacy group Indivisible: Conejo via phone calls, social media and the delivery of petitions featuring signatures from hundreds of east-county residents.
Irwin has remained noncommittal on SB 54 throughout 2017, influenced strongly by her professional ties to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean. Dean sits on the Board of Directors of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, which held discussions with Gov. Brown last month to address sheriffs’ opposition to the bill’s restrictions on law-enforcement interactions with federal immigration authorities. Following those discussions, Brown negotiated amendments to the bill addressing those concerns – but after the amendments were announced on Monday, Sept. 11, the Sheriffs’ Association declared that it would continue to oppose the bill.
The sheriffs’ position contrasts with that of the California Police Chiefs Association, which now supports the amended bill. However, says Indivisible: Conejo co-founder and communications director Jon Cummings, “The sheriffs’ decision doesn’t surprise us, given the campaign of disinformation and anti-immigrant extremism Sheriff Dean and others have been waging.
“Sheriff Dean has spent the last several months creating a smokescreen of alternative facts surrounding SB 54, and now he and his fellow sheriffs have clearly negotiated with Governor Brown in bad faith,” Cummings added. “The governor made concessions to them that weaken the bill significantly, in terms of the protections it offers from harassment by Trump’s overzealous ICE agents. Yet the sheriffs refuse to take ‘yes’ for an answer.
“It’s time for Assemblymember Irwin to loosen her ties to Sheriff Dean, get off the fence, and stand with her constituents on both sides of Ventura County who support protecting our immigrant neighbors from Trump’s deportation regime. She needs to vote for SB 54 – not abstain from voting, as she’s done too many times when it comes to issues involving our county’s Hispanic population, farmworkers, working women and other working families. She knows we’re watching her vote closely – and an abstention is simply not good enough.”
On Tuesday, September 12, Irwin cited concerns about small-business impacts while abstaining from a vote on SB 63, which will expand parental leave rights for up to 2.7 million workers in California while affecting only 6 percent of the state’s businesses. In 2016 she abstained on AB 1066, which ensured fair overtime pay for farmworkers (including tens of thousands in Ventura County), and declined to register a vote on AB 2748, which helps residents affected by environmental disasters.
Activists from Indivisible: Conejo will deliver petitions to Irwin’s Camarillo office, 2301 E Daily Drive, at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Indivisible: Conejo, a progressive group that brings together nearly 1,700 activists from the Conejo Valley and environs, has spent several months working to show Irwin that suburbanites in the eastern portion of Ventura County support SB 54. The group’s advocacy has included meetings with Irwin in her Camarillo office; hundreds of phone calls from activists to her Sacramento and Camarillo offices, as well as a postcard campaign; a General Meeting devoted to the bill in May, which featured representatives from CAUSE, CLUE and the Oxnard branch of the United Farm Workers; coordination with the UFW on a “Migrant in the Pulpit” initiative that brought farmworkers to Conejo Valley churches to advocate for the bill; and participation in pro-SB 54 demonstrations in Camarillo and Ventura.