At Monday’s City Council meeting the Council adopted a resolution re-affirming the City's
Commitment to community building and small town character qualities of respect, tolerance, service, compassion and protection.
Through the action, the City Council also gave notice that it will do its part in creating a welcoming and fair City in which residents and visitors are treated equally with dignity, respect and compassion. The Council further directed the City Manager to review City services and programs to insure that they serve the community with this same emphasis and agreed to create an ad-hoc task force to explore issues around intolerance and to recommend activities and actions to foster greater understanding, respect and a strengthening of community unity.
A number of speakers at the public meeting urged support of the resolution and noted their appreciation of the Council’s attention to this topic.
The Council’s discussion comes at a time when the City has experienced incidents and behavior that are contrary to Mill Valley’s core values including a number of instances of vandalism involving graffiti with swastikas as well as bullying prompting some residents to recommend that the City take a stance against intolerance in the community.
City Manager Jim McCann reiterated that the resolution and the work by City staff are focused on local matters, emphasizing respect and tolerance in our municipal activities and discouraging fear-based speech and actions, intolerance, discrimination and bigotry.
In response to questions from the public about the Police Department’s practices with regards to immigration status when interacting with the public, Police Chief Angel Bernal provided an overview of the Department’s approach. Chief Bernal noted that Mill Valley officers do not ask the immigration status of individuals in the course of conversation or an investigation. He shared that respect and trust are essential in order to build confidence and a sense of security among all members of the community, and that such trust yields greater communication allowing the Police to better serve our residents.
Councilmember Sashi McEntee spoke of her own personal experiences facing intolerance and urged the Council to pursue actions in addition to the worthwhile discussion and the adoption of the resolution. All members of Council strongly supported the resolution and direction to staff. Mayor Jessica Jackson stated, “Tonight we take a step in the right direction for our residents and to strengthen the character of our community.”