While the Burbank City Council, as a whole, will not be writing to President Trump, telling him how they feel about his recent comments on Twitter about four Democratic Congresswoman known as “The Squad,” some council members are taking their own route to share with the commander in chief their opinions on the matter.
Council members unanimously decided on Tuesday to not send a letter to Trump as a group — a “respectful” correspondence that would have let the president know that he crossed the line when he told the Congresswomen to go back to where they came from.
Instead, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy and Vice Mayor Sharon Springer said on Tuesday they have written their own letters and will be making them available for the public to see.
Councilman Tim Murphy, who brought up the idea of drafting a letter during a meeting three weeks ago, said on Friday that he might send his own letter.
The discussion about whether the city should take a stance on what the president said in a series of tweets on July 14 had residents divided.
Resident Francine Lockett, who has lived in Burbank for more than 50 years, and several other people, told the City Council that she has never seen her city officials take that kind of an action and opposed them getting into the middle of national issues.
“I am so tired of people involving themselves in things they don’t need to be involved in and letting all the stuff go for things you need to be involved in,” Lockett said. “This isn’t your job to speak for the Burbank residents. They can speak for themselves. You are not a political party.”
On the other hand, resident Molly Shore and a few others said sending a letter to Trump condemning him for his actions would be the right course of action given all the turmoil in the country.
“As our elected representatives, you speak for all of us when you let Donald Trump know that his bellicosity is unacceptable as the leader of the free world,” she said.
Springer said she will not tolerate racial taunting and she hopes to muster up the courage to speak out against such actions when they arise.
She added that the president’s remarks can be construed to give people permission to mistreat others.
“That is setting a bad example, and I will stand and I will speak up about it,” Springer said. “I’m not going to crawl into somebody’s head and figure out why they said it and justify why they said it. It’s just not right.”
Councilman Bob Frutos reiterated the sentiment he has expressed whenever the city discusses whether to get involved in national or global matters, saying that the City Council is a nonpartisan body that should be looking out for its local residents.
Frutos, a 34-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department, said he has spoken up for and defended everyone who he has encountered and he’s been on the receiving end of racial comments throughout his life. However, he thinks matters such as this are best left to federal representatives.
“I don’t believe this council should be taking the time to send these letters to the president when we have a Congressman that is elected by the people of Burbank and other cities,” he said.
Councilman Jess Talamantes said he did not support sending a letter to Trump, as a group, and did not mind if his colleagues sent individual letters. However, he said he thinks the president’s actions and comments have gotten worse during his term in office.
“I hate this divisiveness that we’ve brought to Burbank,” Talamantes said. “We brought Washington, D.C. right here. It’s unfortunate … It’s just disgraceful of what’s happening in our White House. Whether you voted for him or not, it’s disgraceful.”