By Don Greene / Escondido Democrats
The racial history of Escondido is long and filled with many stories of hatred. In 2004 the council followed the lead of Marie Waldron and called for a state-wide immigration police force. In 2006 the council approved an ordinance that required landlords to only rent to US citizens. Since then, we have had street parking restrictions, garage conversion crackdowns, police checkpoints, the only known hand-in-hand relationship between our police force and ICE, and, most recently, the denial of a company to open a housing complex for unaccompanied minors emigrating from Latin America.
One would think, that after more than a decade of racially divisive policies and practices, people who work for Escondido would be more sensitive to the impression that their actions give to the population.
Unfortunately there continue to be those who either don’t care what impression their actions make, or don’t think about their actions at all.
Case in point, City Manager Clay Phillips hired John Friend to work in the City Manager’s Office. John Friend runs a racist, white supremacist website called The Realist Report. This website is full of anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and pro-white posts in sections incredibly titled “News from the Jews”, “Racial Realism” and “Historical Realism”. There is even a section on September 11th with an article that describes the ‘Jewish connection’ to the attacks on the Twin Towers.
The hiring of this individual was an affront to the sensibilities of all residents of Escondido. After inquiries were made last week, the UT reported that Friend had resigned his position on Thursday, September 10. There is certainly no more room in Escondido for people who share Mr. Friend’s opinions and there certainly is no room for him in City Hall.
His presence begs the questions: Did Clay Phillips properly vet this person? And, if he did, is his presence proof that Clay Phillips doesn’t care that his new assistant is a white supremacist? No matter the answer to either question, the fact is that this hiring demonstrates that the leadership of the City of Escondido is out of touch with its citizenry.
Thankfully, John Friend has resigned. We now demand that Clay Phillips be dismissed immediately and we call upon the City Council to do the right thing and make this happen. Inaction by the council would only confirm our suspicions that they are out of touch with their residents and are purposefully engaging in racist and hateful practices and support their staff doing the same.
Once again, the government of the City of Escondido has demonstrated that it either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about all of the residents of its city. It’s time for things to change at City Hall and make the leaders a reflection of the population that they represent.