Two candidates in local Temecula elections spoke at a “Slave No More California” event Sunday, Oct. 11, at Temecula City Hall condemning public health restrictions.
Sonia Perez, a candidate for Temecula City Council District 4 and primary organizer of the rally, said the message of the event was “that freedom isn’t free” and “our freedoms are being taken away, one by one.”
“That’s why this was called Slave No More California,” Perez said. “We have mandates at public schools that are taking the parents’ rights away. We have a city that’s not allowing us to walk into a public facility that our tax dollars pay for. That’s a right that I have, that my tax dollars pay for this beautiful city council. And we have children that are going missing every day. The message is, enough is enough. It’s time to open up. It’s time to take care of each other and our livelihoods and to take care of our families.”
The event had a speaking lineup that included Temecula Valley Unified board candidate Brooklynn McClure, along with several business owners from across the Southern California region who have been outspoken about masks and other health orders.
The event, attended by several dozen on the steps of City Hall, was mostly maskless — none of the speakers work facial coverings, and only one person in the audience was spotted wearing one. Mask orders are no longer in effect in Riverside County, though they remain so in neighboring counties like San Diego.
McClure spent most of her speaking time discussing her motivations for running for office.
“When I felt the call from God to do this, I thought, no no no no no, there’s got to be someone else,” McClure said. “The only answer God gave me was you know what, you’ll listen, you’ll listen and you’ll do it, so why don’t you let me work through you and I thought, OK. And it’s been a trip. It has not been the (most fun) thing I’ve done in my life, but I’m willing to do anything for God, so here I am.”
She said if elected, she will go to the board and “fight for what I can with truth and righteousness and God, but there’s only so much we can do as a board. It really is on you.”
McClure, who said she homeschooled her children, said her philosophy is that parents must take responsibility for their children’s education.
“One of the most disturbing comments I got from people during this whole education during COVID era was, um, he said OK, if I’m gonna do distance learning am I now my child’s teacher?” McClure said. “And I thought, well hopefully you’ve always been your child’s teacher. This should not be anything new to you. You taught them to walk, you taught them to hold a spoon and I know it’s easy to point fingers and to blame the educational system, but in truth, us parents and grandparents, it’s up to you. If they are not getting something like the Constitution taught to them in their schools, that’s on you. You better be teaching that in your home. You are the primary teacher of anything. If they’re getting taught socialism in the school, you better be counteracting that at home.”
While McClure did not touch on health orders or restrictions in her speech, nearly all of the other speakers did.
One speaker, Kira Boranian, owner of Lather Studio in Corona, was featured in local news segments over the summer for opening up her studio in defiance of orders to close.
“I opened my doors on April 27th,” Boranian said at the Oct. 11 event in Temecula. “And I have been open since. That. Day. No masks. No plastic partitions. No text me when you get here so I can welcome you through my door. No every other station. No taking your temperature. Guess what, I’m running my salon as if COVID-19 never happened. I am running my business the way every single business owner in this nation should be running their business right now.”
Currently in Riverside County, salons can only provide services in which both the worker and customer can wear face coverings for the entirety of the service.
Boranian said while she faced a restraining order from entering her salon earlier in the pandemic before salons were allowed to open, now that her business can remain open with restrictions, she has not been ticketed or arrested for failing to follow health guidelines.
Jacob Lewis, owner of The Gym franchise in San Bernardino County, described a similar experience.
“The funny thing is everybody is so afraid to open their businesses, we’ve had no citations, we’ve have no arrests, we’ve had no COVID cases and we’re still open today,” Lewis said. “So what I want to come from this conversation is anybody that you know that is a business owner that has the authority to keep their business open, tell them to do it. Because even if they do get arrested, even if they do get tickets, after all this, do you think that a DA or a judge is going to want to criminalize a business owner for opening their business, for being there for the public?”
Perez, during her speech, criticized the city of Temecula’s spending on buildings and salaries — the event featured three large poster boards displaying the six-figure salaries of Temecula City Manager Aaron Adams, Assistant City Manager Greg Butler and Temecula City Clerk Randi Johl.
“Do you see this beautiful city hall building here? Perez said. “It cost about 70 million to build. They have about a million in interest rates that they’re paying approximately. I don’t know why they did that. They already had a city hall that they paid in full.”
And she leveled criticism at City Hall for restricting in-person access during the pandemic and requiring her to wear a mask while filing to run for office.
“But did you know that this public building here that is for ‘we the people’ who by our taxes pay for this building, we are not allowed inside?” Perez said. “No folks, the doors are closed and you better have an appointment. In fact, when I came to throw my hat in the ring, I was told that I was going to have my temperature taken, I had to wear a diaper on my face to walk in.”
Will Fritz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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