At the Yucaipa City Council meeting on June 22, Mayor David Avila opened the public comment time by saying, “Before we start, I’m going to have to insist that by declaration you have to wear a mask in a public meeting. This is not up for discussion. This is mandated and we as a city, whether we agree or not agree, is not the issue. We have to do our best to comply with the California governor’s directive. Thank you for your patience and understanding with this.”
There were 12 speakers along with 10 public comment submissions that were read into the record.
Several residents expressed their feelings regarding the June 1 incident in the Uptown area.
One speaker called for the condemnation of racism in the community by councilmembers instead of silence. Another was appalled about the conduct of the men who armed themselves with live ammunition to protect Uptown Yucaipa. Others were in favor of the way Councilman Bobby Duncan conducted himself during the crisis.
A business owner from the Uptown area believed the events of June 1 were not race driven but fear driven and another speaker agreed emphasizing the importance that no property damage was done on June 1.
Marian Lovelace stated, “Issues from last year have cropped up again regarding Councilman Duncan. I would like to set the record straight, he did make some social media comments but they were not about Muslim and immigrants, they were radical Muslims who are evil and illegal immigrants. He still has the right to free speech as it is still America. This is America and you put your voice at the ballot box. If I were in Councilman Duncan’s district, he would have my vote in a heartbeat.”
Damian Ross spoke to the council and said, “Bobby Duncan is a man of God and simply showed up to stand up for his people and with his people from a threat that could have been very serious. As a previous resident of San Bernardino, when a threat is made, it is more of a promise than a threat. I grew up in rough neighborhoods where drive-by shootings, violence and white sheets were normal. My wife and I didn’t want the same for our children. I appreciate all who stood in arms for our community and to the rest I shall say don’t point out a speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log hanging out of yours. This town isn’t racist, it is cautious.”
Ryan Calbreath had a different opinion. He said, “My family has given 150 years of service to the local public schools of this area. There is absolutely no question as to what the actions of Mr. Bobby Duncan demonstrate, that we have a massive issue with white supremacy and ignorance around the history of this country and racism therein.”
Calbreath called upon Duncan to resign and for the other councilmembers to agree with that call.
“Anyone who does not join this call is aiding and abetting white supremacy in this city,” said Calbreath.
Calbreath was interrupted several times by a heckler who was asked by the mayor to be respectful of Calbreath’s time and after several outbursts was finally removed from the chambers.
Calbreath continued with, “Live up to the values of the words behind you, In God, We Trust. You are not loving your neighbor if you don’t stand up with black people. You are not loving your neighbor if you don’t protect brown people. I’m sure you all preached at one point about fiscal conservancy. I’m sure you are all conservative people. You are burying the city in debt by a million dollars or more every single year by the check that you run to the San Bernardino County Police Department even though there are 100 volunteers that lick boots and come out and help the cops every day. I really want you to resign sir, as you are a complete embarrassment to me and everyone here.”
A speaker named Steve (last name withheld) said, “Mr. Duncan, this is the first time you have looked up from your phone, from scrolling through your phone for the past 40 minutes. You haven’t looked at a speaker supporting you or a speaker disagreeing with you. Same with the public comments that were written in or emailed in. You have been scrolling through your phone. I need you to think. You are representing the city. This is a city meeting. Do you care? You are not even showing you care.”
Other subjects brought up during public comment included the cost of the Yucaipa Performing Arts Center to tax payers, Yucaipa/Calimesa Democratic Club proclamation, the top five cancer statistics, and the wearing of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting documents are available for public view on the city of Yucaipa website at yucaipa.org.