In an explosive exchange at Tuesday night’s Milpitas City Council meeting, Councilmember Karina Dominguez asked for Council to stand in solidarity behind a written statement opposing the recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating that the U.S.’s highest court intends to vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, reversing nearly half a century of constitutionally protected abortion rights in America. Dominguez proposed the statement as a way of supporting women in Milpitas and across the nation.
“It’s an issue that should be fundamental for all women,” Dominguez said. “I stand very firmly on this.”
Mayor Rich Tran was resistant, asking if they were talking about an official Supreme Court decision (which isn’t expected to be made until this summer) or a leaked draft. In an attempt to avert discussion from Dominguez’s proposal, Tran said, “I might have to have some community meetings.”
But as an alternative, Dominguez proposed that the City craft an amicus brief in advance of the forthcoming Supreme Court ruling.
“No man and nobody,” Dominguez stated, “should decide on my fundamental rights as a woman. In this city, we either can take a stand now, or we can sit on the sidelines.” She later added, “We’re watching history go in shambles.”
Mayor Tran said in response, “Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I need to be with my mother to discuss this.”
Dominguez shot back, “I am a mom. I’ve been a mom. A single mom. And I’m also a mentor to many of our children and young women in this city, who are extremely concerned and who have been talking to me. Young high school students have been asking me to advocate for this…And it’s a shame, Mayor – it is a shame – that once again you are going against women. If you do not have the audacity to stand up for us, then stand to the side and don’t get in the way.”
Councilmember Anthony Phan seconded Dominguez’s motion, though it was unclear at that point whether Phan’s seconding applied to the proposal of a letter or an amicus brief.
Said Tran, “This is not agendized so we’re not gonna vote on it.”
Dominguez requested counsel from the City Attorney.
“If I want to talk to my mother about something,” Tran interjected, “I should be allowed that, so don’t attack me. Let’s go to our city attorney…”
New City Attorney Michael Mutalipassi chimed in from across the dais, saying that given the motion and the second, the item can be brought back for discussion at a later meeting, but he requested clarification as to whether Dominguez wanted to prioritize the letter or the brief. Dominguez said she wished to prioritize the letter. But a few minutes later, City staff corrected Mutalipassi, clarifying that no agenda item can in fact be set without majority support.
In the meantime, Dominguez rose to her feet, working to evoke Robert’s Rules of Order and rally a majority vote. But Tran continued pushing back, insisting that since the item was not agendized, there could be no vote. He also insisted upon having community meetings before voting on important matters, citing the previous Council’s preliminary move (never acted on) to change the name of Dixon Landing Road to Barack Obama Boulevard as an example of Council proceeding without public input. Tran also said Dominguez being on her feet felt “overpowering” to him. Dominguez fired back that she was standing due to having recently been in a car accident, and could only sit for 30 minutes at a time.
After the meeting, Councilmember Phan posted about the issue on Twitter and Instagram, stating, “As the Supreme Court readies to overturn Roe v. Wade, we cannot stand by idly. That’s why I have joined @SupCindyChavez, @DevDavisCA, & many others in urging Governor Gavin Newsom to make California a sanctuary of freedom, personal liberty, & the basic human rights of all women.”
As the Supreme Court readies to overturn Roe v. Wade, we cannot stand by idly. That's why I have joined @SupCindyChavez, @DevDavisCA, & many others in urging Governor Gavin Newsom to make California a sanctuary of freedom, personal liberty, & the basic human rights of all women.
— Anthony Phan (@voteanthonyphan) May 4, 2022
And earlier this week, Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve $3 million to help out-of-state abortion seekers receive services in our county.