During the July 29, 2019 City Council meeting, Councilmember Ruth Luevanos lied from the dais, claiming that there had been an ICE raid there just days before. Her false claim caused unnecessary fear and alarm in the immigrant community and was completely inappropriate and a violation of the Code of Ethics.
When Luevanos supporter Leanna Brand spoke, she asserted that with her video Luevanos was simply trying to "help people who could have fallen prey to some collateral pickups from ICE." She continued, "We have a lot of immigrants working here and they're afraid right now...People are getting picked up for the strangest reasons."
After Brand spoke, Mayor Keith Mashburn asked her to provide more details about her comment that "all kinds of people are being picked up. Could you give me an example? Could you give me a date? Could you give me a time? Could you give me a police officer?" Brand stammered that she believed it was a Brown Act violation for the Mayor to ask her for clarification and the crowd murmured until Luevanos swooped in to save her.
Luevanos said - from the dais, and in her role as a City Councilmember:
"If I may, Mayor Mashburn. I can give you just one instance. the manager of Vallarta supermarket told a friend of mine that last Friday there was an ICE raid right outside of Vallarta Supermarket and five immigrants were detained by ICE and arrested, and it has been a ghost town at Vallarta since then...I have also seen the ICE buses at the Shell gas station in the 18 years that I have lived here, several times....If you want confirmation, you can speak to the manager at Vallarta."
Well, Mayor Mashburn and Councilmember Judge took her up on that - and it turns out that Luevanos' claim was totally false. Mashburn said on his official Facebook page:
In the name of transparency and full disclosure I want to report that yesterday, Wednesday, July 31, at approximately 1:30 pm I met with the Manager of the Simi Valley Vallarta Supermarket along with my friend who speaks Spanish (a Mexican immigrant who is a U. S. citizen and local resident). I inquired about the report ( at a council meeting on 7/29, by a council member) of recent multiple arrests being made by I.C.E. The manager said that I.C.E. has never had an I.C.E. arrest at the Simi Valley location and in fact at any Vallarta location. I checked Simi Valley Police records and found no immigration related responses to Vallarta.