This past September, old politics and new ideas were questioned by the moderators and student participants in a Culver City Council Candidates Youth Forum. Among those old politics was a question to Mayor Goran Eriksson about the 2017 Senate Bill 54 (SB 54).
SB 54 is legislation that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and school police from: using resources to investigate and arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes; providing personal information about an individual for immigration purposes; giving federal immigration authorities the right to interview a person in agency or department custody for immigration enforcement purposes; performing the functions of an immigration officer.
In short, the bill made California a sanctuary state.
After Mayor Eriksson responded to a question about making Culver City a sanctuary city, Thistle Boosinger, a longtime Culver City resident and moderator to the forum, brought up documentation of Eriksson voting against SB 54 and asked him to confirm if his values have changed, and what his position on the vote was.
Mayor Eriksson then responded, “I don’t recall that, but SB 54 was a Senate bill, we did not vote on that on the Council…I know that the Council voted on this issue but I was not present at that meeting, that I know.”
However, upon further investigation, it seems Mayor Eriksson’s answer was not, in fact, accurate or honest in his remarks. The City Council meeting minutes (pg. 15-19) for the February 27th, 2017 meeting show the breakdown of the council members’ votes. Councilmembers Jim Clarke, Meghan Sahli-Wells, and Thomas Small voted in favor of the bill, and Councilmember Eriksson and Jeff Cooper voted against SB 54.
The meeting minutes, available to the public, show a record of Mayor Eriksson’s attendance, as well as his vote and ardent stance against the measure – a clear contradiction of his statements at the Youth Forum.
In 2017, Mayor Eriksson explicitly expressed his opposing stance on immigration. And in a discussion with his fellow councilmembers on the bill, he repeatedly mentions immigrants who are criminals and sell drugs to minors.
He says, “If there is someone who is here illegally, I have no problem, whatsoever, to deport them if they are committing those kinds of crimes.” He goes on to elaborate, “we should report them to I.C.E., we should.” And then, “I don’t want to have criminals to be allowed to stay in this country if they’re here illegally. I want them deported. They have no right to be here. They play with the rules or they get deported, I don’t see why that should be a problem.”
No response was received from Mayor Eriksson after a request was submitted to clarify his stance on immigration and his inaccurate recounting of his attendance and vote at the City Council meeting when the councilmembers voted on SB 54.
With the election approaching so rapidly, Culver City residents would benefit from knowing where Mayor Eriksson stands on immigration and whether or not they can trust him to be truthful in the future about similar issues and measures.