Remember Simi Valley City Councilwoman Ruth Luevanos? She’s the one who posted a video to her *official* Facebook and Instagram pages on July 13 in which she sat in front of a defaced United States flag while accusing our government of being “in the business of running concentration camps” and arguing that ICE “raids” made our communities less safe. Oh, and she advised those who might be the target of that weekend’s planned ICE raids (who were fugitives subject to deportation orders) that they didn’t have to answer the door to ICE.
Here’s a memory refresher.
The video didn’t go over well with most Simi Valley residents. Those residents quickly organized and showed up en masse to the City Council meeting on July 29 to voice their displeasure. Luevanos made no attempt to apologize, instead opting to lie about ICE activity in the community – while seated on the dais in a televised city council meeting!
One of Luevanos’ supporters claimed in her comments to the council that immigrants in Simi Valley lived in fear and that ICE was conducting raids and sweeping up innocent people. Simi Valley Mayor Keith Mashburn asked the speaker if she could provide any dates, times, places of said activity so he could investigate and make sure that nothing untoward was happening. The supporter refused, and Luevanos stepped in with an alleged example.
“The manager of Vallarta supermarket told a friend of mine that last Friday there was an ICE raid right outside of Vallarta Supermarket and five immigrants were detained by ICE and arrested, and it has been a ghost town at Vallarta since then…I have also seen the ICE buses at the Shell gas station in the 18 years that I have lived here, several times….If you want confirmation, you can speak to the manager at Vallarta.”
Both Mashburn and another councilman spoke to the manager at Vallarta and to a representative from the corporate office, both of whom denied that such a raid ever took place.
Why would Luevanos tell such a lie, a lie that would put a community she claims to advocate for in unjustified fear? (We know the answer to that question, sadly.)
Many Simi Valley residents would have been willing to forgive and move on had Luevanos apologized that night, but after hearing that she had lied while carrying out her official duties the effort to organize a recall gained steam. (Disclosure: the author is a member of the recall committee.)
At the next council meeting, on August 12, Luevanos was served with a Notice of Intent to Recall petition signed by more than 20 registered voters. That same night, when she was questioned about her lie, Luevanos changed her story but stuck to the basic assertion – that there had been an ICE raid in Simi Valley.
“I do have — you know, I do have friends that are immigration attorneys. I practiced — you know, I was — I was in immigration law over 20 years ago when I was in law school, and many of my friends are still immigration attorneys.
“Due to attorney/client privileges they cannot come forth and state, but I do have an attorney who is a friend of mine who has stated that there were, in fact, ICE raids in the Vallarta vicinity and they are his clients. He cannot come here and say anything because that is an attorney/client privilege.
“So, you know, I — I just wanted to respond in that manner, to clarify that there is verification but unfortunately due to client/attorney privileges they cannot come forth. And for safety, especially given the El Paso shootings that were aimed and targeted at Latino immigrants, he’s even more fearful of coming forward.”
Of course, there’s no way to corroborate her story – and that’s by design.
Luevanos responded to the Notice of Intent, stating that she was simply informing people of their civil rights. The petitioners have filed a proposed recall petition with the City Clerk, and are awaiting approval before starting to gather signatures.
More information can be found at www.recallruth.com.