The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to go to court to challenge President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, either on its own or in conjunction with other government agencies.
On a 13-0 vote, the council authorized City Atty. Mike Feuer to either join a lawsuit against Trump filed by California and several other states or to pursue a separate lawsuit on the city’s behalf opposing the emergency declaration, which is part of a larger legal battle over a proposed border wall.
The resolution, which was approved without discussion by the council, was not on the agenda. Council members added the resolution as a special agenda item, saying they learned of the need for such a vote after the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting had been posted.
The last-minute addition drew criticism from Studio City resident Eric Preven, who said the council should have waited to discuss the matter later in the week. That way, he said, the proposal would have appeared on a meeting agenda and given the public adequate opportunity to provide input.
“You are violating the public’s trust,” he told city lawmakers. “We expect these things to be brought out into the daylight so we can all weigh in.”
Once Preven’s public comment period had expired, Councilwoman Nury Martinez publicly declared that he was disrupting the meeting. Preven was approached by officers, who asked him to leave and warned he could be put in handcuffs, according to audio provided by Preven.
Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for Feuer, said in an email that Preven had been disruptive, failing to show up when his name was called, appearing at the microphone out of turn and going “off topic” during his remarks.
Preven, who sits on the board of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, disputed that version of events, saying he was not disrupting the meeting or speaking off topic. Preven said he left the chamber voluntarily and should not have been ordered to leave.
Trump issued his emergency declaration, his latest attempt at securing billions of dollars refused to him by Congress, on Friday. The council’s resolution said Trump’s declaration “disproportionately affects California residents and the state’s economy.”
The resolution was approved one day after state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced that he and 15 other attorneys general had filed a legal challenge to Trump’s emergency declaration, calling it unnecessary and unconstitutional. Becerra also called the declaration a “misuse of presidential power.”