Williams City Council votes against resolution of opposition to SB 54, California’s ‘Sanctuary State’ status

The City of Williams will not be passing a resolution of opposition against Senate Bill 54 – California’s “Sanctuary State” legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, which limits local law enforcement and government cooperation with federal immigration officials.

In a 3-2 decision, a divided council decided it would not take a stance against the new law. City officials noted that any resolution of opposition would be purely symbolic – they would still have to abide by it – and that the new law would have little impact, if any, in the City of Williams.

Still, Councilman John Troughton thought it was an important stance to take.
“I don’t want us to be anti-U.S. Government, and that’s what California is doing (with this law),” Troughton said, adding that he believed the law was a political move made specifically in response to the current presidential administration.

“This to me is an important stance for us. If we make the motion and pass this resolution, I would like to have this sent to all of our area legislators. I hope the council will pass this and send this off,” Troughton said.

The majority of the council didn’t agree with him. Newly-appointed mayor Charles Bergson spoke up in favor of the law.

“Recently, the reason why the state considered and passed SB 54 is because the Immigration and Customs Enforcement has randomly picked up people and deported them,” Bergson said. “I want to note that Colusa County is one of the highest productive agricultural counties in the state, and one of the most intensely agricultural counties. Our gross domestic product is like 75 percent based on agriculture. People that live here in the community work in the agriculture business. To subject them to some of the random picking up and deporting… I’m not for that. The measure that the state took is a signal to the Federal Government. Our town has a lot of agricultural workers, and they need to know where the city is going to stand with them, and not facilitate shipping them out of here. I don’t intend to support this.”

When Troughton made the motion to adopt the resolution of opposition, and Councilman Alfred Sellers seconded it, Bergson didn’t. As promised, he voted against it, along with councilmen Santos Jauregui and Roberto Mendoza. ■

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net