On August 2, 2018, a Facebook video went viral of a US City Councilwoman, Blanca Gomez from Victorville, California, getting handcuffed and being taken away by the police. Gomez, 42, who was then in her first term of office shared the video herself, calling out the city’s government for unlawfully arresting her as she acted within the constraints of her fundamental rights. Gomez is now in the process of suing the City of Victorville, the county Sheriff’s Department, and all the individuals responsible for “violating her fundamental rights” on more than one occasion.
On that Thursday two years ago, Gomez had accompanied two city residents to the Hesperia City Hall to help them file to run for the upcoming council elections. A City employee requested the police presence in the hall, claiming that Gomez was trespassing in a restricted area, which is not true, since City Halls are public buildings. Later Gomez was wrongfully handcuffed and taken away to the police station. She also believes the city took those unfair actions against her because they were trying to limit the number of people who could run for the elections, which is illegal.
In their defense, the City Council claimed Gomez had resisted arrest and was not “acting in her capacity as councilwoman that day”. Live video records show that Gomez did not resist. Previously planned petition to recall her was approved on the same day as her arrest. All those facts combined are confirming that there was a plot against Gomez.
On November 29, 2020, she was re-elected for a second term of City Council with majority votes and lowest budget from 22 candidates competing for 2 positions. That alone speaks volume that the residents of Victorville are in full support of Gomez. With her sights set on Congress in 2022, Gomez insists on setting her city’s government on the straight path of justice and accountability as she’s filed a lawsuit against the following people with the United States District Court:
The Mayor of Victorville City, Gloria Garcia, in her official and individual capacities; The Victorville City Manager, Keith Metzler in his individual capacity; Debra Jones, Andre Debortnowsky, James Cox, Charlene Robinson, Marcia Wolters, Sophie Smith, Sue Jones, and Nils Bensten in their individual capacities; the San Bernardino Sheriff’s department; and the City of Victorville.
Incessant harassment and violation of her basic constitutional rights
According to Gomez’s lawsuit, her first term in office was riddled by an endless string of intimidations, harassments, and restriction from exercising her civic duties to the city on government property. Those same issues are continuing again in her second term. Gomez is denied access to the City Hall, constantly blocked to speak and muted on council meetings and much more.
The following offenses were committed against her person and office:
Civil rights violation of the Fifth Amendment, violation of the Brown Act (which requires local government business to be conducted at open and public meetings, except in certain limited situations), civil harassment, defamation-libel, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, intentional infliction of emotional distress, malicious prosecution, false arrest, declaratory judgment, conspiracy.
Gomez is suing for punitive damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief from all erroneous and malicious statements and content published against her reputation.
Alongside her unlawful arrest, Gomez’s suit states that she was labeled “a criminal on welfare” by the Victorville City’s mayor, Gloria Garcia, as a spite on her alliance with pro-immigration NGOs.
Gomez was reportedly embarrassed by the actions of the Victorville City Manager, who sent a letter to the Employment Development Department, alleging that Gomez was involved in unemployment fraud.
On another occasion, while hosting a fundraising event in a public park, despite adhering to all COVID-19 safety rules, she was harassed by the COVID Code Enforcement Officers.
Gomez has been subjected to outright discrimination and intimidation in her capacity as an officially elected councilwoman and as an individual, and is now taking legal actions against her city’s government.
Gomez’s vision for better governance
A government elected by the people and consisting of the people is mandatorily expected to serve the people. This is basic democracy, but somehow, corruption and poor governance are restricting the last part of the three-part agreement.
On point agendas like economic growth, education, employment, family relations, social relations, and health, the government owes its people full accountability and unrelenting efforts at improving their quality of life. Gomez insists the government must provide people with adequate information about all governance processes – the most essential step in democratic empowerment. The people must be involved when decisions about their welfare are being made.
The next step in her fight against poor governance is to start a movement named #EndGovernmentCorruption. Gomez believes in a government for the people, and as she runs for Congress, Washington DC, in 2022, she brings on board her values, determination, and passion for the people’s welfare, prosperity and safe living.