Fittingly, the Escondido rental law was unceremoniously dumped this past week by the city council. The law was unconstitutional, unethical, and racist. It, like the triple fence along the border, was nothing more than a symbolic statement and that symbolism will cost the City of Escondido somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000.
The rental law, which would have fined landlords for renting to illegal persons, would have done nothing to address the problem of immigrants moving into Escondido. This law never had a chance of succeeding, not only was it unconstitutional, it was unenforceable. Despite the misgivings and warnings of the problems with this law, the city council majority of Marie Waldron, Sam Abed, and Ed Gallo still forged ahead, blinded by their xenophobic desires, divided their city into an us-against-them atmosphere and did nothing but show that they are nothing more than racist members of society.
The simple message by this board majority was that Mexicans were not welcome in Escondido. This Board majority reflected a white society that wants the old Escondido back where Mexicans came in did their work and melted away. But the Mexican American community in North County is growing. Many, not all, are there legally, and they are starting to take an active role in their city. They are omnipresent; they are becoming educated; they are business owners; they are becoming politically involved; they are calling for accountability, and this is what has the residents of North County scared.
It is a sharing of power that scares the white society of Escondido, and their response to the growth of the Hispanic community is to hang their “Not Welcome” sign in the form of a rental law. Will this city council see the light and start working to incorporate this growing segment of their society? We doubt it. They will continue to look for ways to limit the growth of the Hispanic community and will continue to polarize their city. But the writing is on the wall, the Hispanic community is here and growing and one day soon the Escondido City Council will reflect this changing society.