Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Anti-Hate Resolution Could be Added to Santa Monica Council Civility Policy

The statement says the council "will not allow" speech that "dehumanizes" marginalized groups

September 26, 2023 - Tonight the Santa Monica City Council will consider whether to add a paragraph about "hate speech" to their existing Civility Policy. The existing policy exhorts those attending city council meetings to treat others "courteously," "listen "respectfully," and "exercise self-control" while embracing "respectful disagreement." No part of this policy has the force of law but is merely a resolution.

Tonight, acting on a recommendation put forward in July 2022, the council will decide whether or not to add a paragraph the Civility Policy that decries what is denoted as "Hate."

The paragraph to be included reads:

"Statement Against Hate: Hate has no place in Santa Monica. Across the nation and here in Santa Monica, we have witnessed an increase in antisemitic, transphobic, homophobic, racist and discriminatory hate speech targeted at both individuals and groups. Equity and inclusion remain at the core of Santa Monica's values, and the City will not allow abusive or threatening hate speech, intolerance, or dehumanization to prevail over basic civil respect and human decency. We will continue to celebrate, include, and uplift the diverse communities who live, work, and play in Santa Monica."

The request to adopt the anti-"hate" resolution came from then-Mayor Sue Himmelrich, now-Mayor Gleam Davis, and Oscar de la Torre. The rationale for the resolution is that the city has reportedly seen a rise in homophobic, racist, and discriminatory hate speech targeted at both individuals and groups. No specific evidence of such a rise, however, was provided in any public documents regarding the resolution.

In addition to the alleged rise in targeted hate speech, the city council felt that, although they had done much to promote equity and inclusion in staffing and policy, they had not "embedded" this in such city foundational documents as the Code of Ethics and City Council's Code of Civility.

The proposed change to the Civility Policy will not require an environmental review, according to city staff.


Reader Comments(1)

ItsMe writes:

The resolution reads: Hate has no place in Santa Monica. Apparently, freedom of speech has no place in Santa Monica either. The city council should know that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously on multiple occasions and as recently as 2018 that there is no so-called hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Censoring speech based on viewpoint or the content of the speech is unconstitutional. In America, no one has a right to not be offended. The great Thomas Paine said, He who dares not offend cannot be honest. George Orwell said, If freedom has any meaning at all, it's the right to tell people what they don't want to hear. Hate speech does not exist because there is no legal standard for hate since hate is a relative term. There is no such thing as hate speech, only free speech that's hated.