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Davalos wrong about H-2A recommendations

During Tuesday’s Santa Maria City Council session, CAUSE representative Hazel Davalos wielded her own unfortunate form of racism when she implied that the Planning Commission’s recommendations regarding temporary (H-2A) worker housing was based on “hostilities toward farmworkers” and that the Planning Commission was “rewarding prejudice”.

As a member of the Planning Commission and as the Commissioner that made the motion for recommendation to the City Council, I deeply resent the inaccurate representation Davalos made. Whether from ignorance of the facts or from blatant misrepresentation on her part, Davalos was wrong.

The final recommendations made by the Planning Commission to the City Council were based on the desire to see residential neighborhoods remain residential and to grow and flourish as such. As I stated in my prepared statement at the Jan. 16 Planning Commission hearing, there was a belief expressed during multiple public comment periods by permanent residents of residential districts that allowing bunk-style housing intended for temporary workers is counter to their American Dream of having a neighborhood where long-time families watch their children grow up as part of a community of families that have a vested interest in seeing the long-term wellbeing of the neighborhood.

No mention of ethnicity was stated, implied or contemplated. This American Dream of “family neighborhoods” was and is for families of all ethnicities.

In the future, I would ask that Ms. Davalos refrain from casually implying racism where it is possible other motives drive decisions and thoughts. Racism is an ugly thing and implying individuals or groups are racist without the facts to back that up is just as ugly.

Robert Dickerson

Santa Maria

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