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|Santa Monica Council to Consider Barring Requests for Religious Affiliation|
By Jonathan Friedman
February 13, 2017 -- The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday will consider a proposal to draft an ordinance prohibiting employers and landlords from gathering information on the “religious affiliation” of various people connected to them.
Called for by Council members Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich, the prohibition would also apply to “housing agencies and other parties involved in seeking or providing jobs, housing, or other benefits, goods, or services.”
The proposal is likely a reaction to Trump’s actions and statements -- including a recent executive order temporarily halting travel from seven countries in the Middle East -- that are perceived by his opponents as anti-Muslim and possibly an attempt to ban Muslims from the country.
The White House says the ban barring travel to the U.S. by people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen was imposed based on the Obama administration's designation of those countries as “areas of concern” because of terrorist activity.
McKeown and Himmelrich also want “staff to work with other entities and organizations on how best to reassure members of our community who are feeling vulnerable on immigration and religious practice issues.”
This would include producing a resolution for the council to approve that reasserts the recent statement by Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks that the City does not enforce immigration laws (“Santa Monica to Continue Non-Enforcement of Immigration Laws, Police Chief Says,” December 2, 2016).
Santa Monica officials taking on national and global social justice issues is common, but what is not common is the perceived threat having a local connection.
Trump’s executive order, now stalled in court, was partly crafted by Stephen Miller, a 31-year-old graduate of Santa Monica High School.
Various media have recently produced profiles on Miller, with journalists fascinated that a city known worldwide for left-wing politics and policies produced someone many consider on the extreme right.
Several profiles have cited Miller’s letter to The Lookout from 2003 when he was still in high school in which he challenged what he considered Santa Monica’s “out of control” political correctness (“Trump Inauguration Has Strong Santa Monica Connection,” January 18, 2017).
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