SAN DIEGO -- A resolution in opposition to the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was forwarded Wednesday to the full San Diego City Council without a recommendation from the Budget Committee.
The committee deadlocked on a 2-2 vote, with council members Barbara Bry and Georgette Gomez voting in favor and Chris Cate and Scott Sherman opposed.
The committee voted after hearing from civic group and religious speakers, all of whom were opposed to a border wall.
The resolution proposed by Gomez says the border area is "among the most unique, diverse and beautiful regions in the world" and describes President Donald Trump's plans to erect a wall along the southern border of the United States as an "offensive and damaging symbol of fear and division that will increase tensions with Mexico." The document also says the wall would damage the economy and disrupt joint tourism promotions between San Diego and Tijuana.
Gomez's proposal calls for opposition to Trump's executive order on the border wall and for the council to express its intent to identify companies involved with designing, building or financing the structure, and its intent to cut ties with those companies.
"The border wall is a huge mistake for our region economically and environmentally," said Gomez, whose district runs from the College Area through part of City Heights to Southcrest. "Our tax dollars should be spent uplifting the quality of life for all San Diegans, and tackling our issues on road infrastructure, housing and homelessness. Building a wall will do nothing for our families and communities but place an ugly divide between two of the largest cities in Mexico and the United States."
Trump issued his executive order in January. Prototypes were originally scheduled to be unveiled in San Diego last month, but are now not expected until the end of the year at the earliest.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday a federal waiver that will allow the wall project to bypass environmental, natural resource and land management laws in order to speed up the work.
Gomez said that since San Diego is part of a bi-national region, "we can speak louder than anyone in Washington, D.C." She denied proposing the resolution for media attention, insisting "I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do."
Cate said he felt the motion was "not appropriate" since the city's position can be adequately relayed to lawmakers by lobbyists in Washington, D.C. He also said opposes the idea of forcing the city to cut ties with companies involved in the border-wall project.
Sherman concurred, and told the crowd at the meeting that their comments should be addressed directly to Congress.
"You're in the wrong venue," he said, adding that Trump "won't give a darn what this committee does."
Some people in the audience held signs reading "No Ban, No Wall."
Rebekah Hook-Held, public affairs director of San Diego LGBT Community Center, called the wall a money-waster that won't improve citizens' lives. City Heights resident Javier Silva said a wall will "further criminalize the border region."
Wendy Batterson, of San Diego Indivisible, said city leaders should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their community.
"The whole world is watching how America responds (to Trump)," she said. "The wall is a cultural embarrassment and unnecessary."