Anaheim: Controversy Continues Over Mark Lopez’s Sanctuary City Comments, Embrace of ACLU Agenda

The controversy surrounding Council District 5 candidate Mark Lopez has continued for more than a week, since the ideologically flexible candidate’s response to a question about whether Anaheim should be an sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.

While his fellow members of the Tait Slate of council candidates (Jose Moreno and Arturo Ferreras) unequivocally supported making Anaheim a sanctuary city, Lopes was careful to avoid using that precise term. Instead, Lopez expressed his support for the elements of that status – including prohibiting Anaheim police from checking the immigration status of arrestees. The upshot is criminal illegal immigrants could commit crimes in Anaheim with no fear of deportation.

Lopez’s left-wing stance caused an uproar among Republican activisits. OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker took the step of suspending aid to Lopez, who had managed to convince OC GOP Central Committee members he was a conservative Republican.

Lopez Goes Into Damage Control Mode
Lopez has been engaged in vigorous back-pedaling and damage control ever since – calling party leaders and claiming his remarks had been taken out of context. Obviously worried about how such a politically toxic position would impact Republican voters in District 5, Lopez recorded a campaign robocall claiming he opposed sanctuary city status for Anaheim:

“This is your Republican candidate Mark Lopez. I’m the only candidate for District 5 city council who will join with Mayor Tom Tait in opposing the city council’s $500 million tax giveaway to hotel developers. [Inaudible] developers are sending out last-minute campaign mailers with false attacks about my position on sanctuary city status for Anaheim. The attacks are a big lie because I oppose Anaheim becoming a sanctuary city. If you have any concerns about my views on this issue, please call me personally at 714-768-7169.

I am proud to have earned the endorsement of our Republican Mayor Tom Tait. Help us fight back against the corrupt hotel developers by voting for me, Mark Lopez, for Anaheim City Council.”

Ironically, Lopez records a robocall claiming he is being lied about by telling a lie of his own: he is not the only District 5 candidate who opposes using TOT tax rebates to attract 4-Diamond hotels to Anaheim. In fact, three of the four District 5 candidates – Lopez, Sandra Angel and Donna Acevedo-Nelson – all oppose that policy. Lopez’s claim to be the only anti-subsidy candidate is manifestly, provably false, and undercuts the credibility of his denials.

Furthermore, this spring – around the time he moved into Anaheim from Westminster to run for city council – Lopez was proclaiming his support for the TOT tax rebate policy in an effort to secure the political support of the “corrupt hotel developers” he is now vowing to fight. Apparently, they weren’t “corrupt” five months ago.

Lopez’s robocall begs the question: if he opposes sanctuary city status for Anaheim, why didn’t he say so when asked that very question? It would have been simple: “No, I would not support a resolution declaring Anaheim a sanctuary city for undocumented residents.” Boom. Simple. Clear. Unambiguous.

Instead, as video of the candidate forum makes obvious, Lopez chose to pander to the audience of high school and college age progressive activists rather than tell them something they didn’t want to hear. If Lopez won’t buck political correctness in front of a bunch of teenagers, how is he going to follow through on his vow to “fight back against the corrupt hotel developers”?

Dan Chmeliewski, editor of TheLiberalOC.com, decided to take Lopez up on his invitation to call him with concerns. Chmeliewski called Lopez on the cel phone number given in the robocall, and relates what happened in this post:

Anaheim City Council District 5 candidate Mark Lopez stood before a largely pro-Latino immigrant crowd at Monday’s Anaheim City Council Forum and proudly declared his support for steps that kept families together and urged law enforcement not to enforce federal immigration laws.  This is an awesome stance coming from a Republican, but Lopez wants to have his cake and eat it too.

He offered a Robocall denying support for making Anaheim a sanctuary city and left a phone number to call. Unfortunately, WordPress won’t allow me to post a copy of the RoboCall but Lopez identifies himself as a Republican and clearly states he is against making Anaheim a sanctuary city.

So I called the number he left.

“Mark, I watched your debate answer and then listened to your RoboCall.  Its sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too.  Where do you stand on this issue,” I said.

“I can’t talk to you now,” said Lopez.  “I’m busy talking to voters.”

“So you won’t answer my question?,” I replied.

“No,” said Lopez.  Who then hung up.

Chmeliewski’s post helps elucidate the reality of Mark Lopez’s embrace of the progressive, politically correct stance on a number of issues.

Lopez Sides With ACLU On Homeless Rights
Homelessness is a huge issue in Anaheim. City parks were turning into homeless encampments – denying residents the enjoyment of their own parks and subjecting residents to nuisances such as property crimes and finding used hypodermic needles, condoms and human waste in their yards.

In response to the grass-roots pressure from hundreds of affected homeowners and create a tool for re-claiming public parks for the public, the Anaheim City Council approved an anti-camping ordinance in 2015. The more extreme homeless advocates, such as the ACLU, have been howling ever since – saying it “criminalizes homelessness” and demanding its repeal. These activists embrace the radical idea propounded by he radical notion that it is a human right to sleep wherever one pleases.

A questioner at the October 24 forum stated she believes the anti-camping ordinance violates the 8th Amendment and “punishes behavior that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human,”  and asked candidates if they would support repeal of the anti-camping ordinance. Lopez unhesitatingly said he would:

“To answer your question, I’d be against the anti-camping ordinances, of course, because we have nowhere to send the. It doesn’t help.”

Lopez adopts the PC progressive position on a key issue. Beginning to see a pattern?

Lopez Goes PC On Domestic Anti-Terrorism Programs
Another question asked about potential city participation in the Homeland Security Department’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program:

Violent extremist threats come from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists in the United States, as well as international terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL. Lone offenders or small groups may be radicalized to commit violence at home or attempt to travel overseas to become foreign fighters. The use of the Internet and social media to recruit and radicalize individuals to violence means that conventional approaches are unlikely to identify and disrupt all terrorist plots.

Here in the United States, acts perpetrated by violent extremists can have far-reaching consequences. Countering violent extremism (CVE) has therefore become a key focus of DHS’s work to secure the homeland. CVE aims to address the root causes of violent extremism by providing resources to communities to build and sustain local prevention efforts and promote the use of counter-narratives to confront violent extremist messaging online.  Building relationships based on trust with communities is essential to this effort.

In the wake of San Bernardino, Orlando, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Milwaukee shooting, and on and on — given the reality of domestic, radical Islamist terrorism, it would be a no-brainer that the police department of a major city that is home to an iconic American tourist destination might participate in the CVE program.

However, progressive activists of the sort sponsoring the October 24 candidate forum reflexively reduce it to mere profiling of Muslims and want the Anaheim Police Department to have none of it.

Mark Lopez agreed, calling the CVE program discriminatory and denouncing it as a policy approach that causes us to “make war upon ourselves.”

It’s stunning that he would brush aside the legitimate terrorism concerns raised by the increasing number of domestic terrorism by radical Islamists such as the San Bernardino massacre, in order to genuflect to political correctness and identity politics.

OC GOP Ends Suspension of Aid To Lopez
Apparently, Lopez’ left turn is insufficient to sustain the OC GOP’s suspension of aid, which party chairman Fred Whitaker lifted today, saying he watched the forum video and didn’t believe Lopez’ answer amounted to support for making Anaheim a sanctuary city.

Whitaker is in a no-win situation; regardless of his decision, interested parties will be dismayed. This writer completely disagrees with the chairman’s decision; a reasonable person could see Lopez was trying to lead the audience into thinking he support sanctuary city status. That was his intent. Insincerity is not an adequate defense and the party should have made the suspension of aid permanent.

What’s more, the day before the candidate forum in question, Lopez was helping riase money for the campaign of Jose F. Moreno, the left-wing, offcial OC Democratic Party candidate in District 3. Here he is a Facebook Live video by progressive activist Mirvette Judeh, whooping it up for Moreno with a bunch of progressive activists:

To summarize: a newly-Republican candidate can pander to left-wing activists on illegal immigration, fighting radical Islamist terrorism, and keeping public parks from becoming homeless encampments; materially aid the election campaign of a radical Democrat candidate for the Anaheim City Council — and still count on the support of the Republican Party of Orange County.

Good to know.

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