Officials Brace for SOS

Shirley Hsu, San Gabriel Valley Tribune (San Gabriel, Cal.), June 22

BALDWIN PARK—In an effort to prevent violence at what is expected to be a heated protest Saturday, Baldwin Park officials said Wednesday they will ask participants on both sides to sign written pledges of nonviolence.

City volunteers will pass out the pledges to protesters convening at the Baldwin Park Metrolink station. Some are expected to denounce, and others to defend, a monument that an anti-illegal immigration group claims is anti-American but that local residents say upholds the heritage of the city.

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Members of anti-illegal immigration group Save Our State claim the monument is seditious because of two inscribed quotes: “It was better before they came,’ and “This land was Mexican once, was Indian always and is and will be again.’

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The city has no plans to remove or alter the monument because of contractual obligations with the artist as well as “community pride,’ according to a prepared statement by Ortega.

“The monument stays,’ Ortega said.

A demonstration May 14 drew more than 200, and police in riot gear had to keep the two opposing sides apart . On Saturday, the city will hand out tip sheets on public demonstration safety, advising protesters to stay off streets and drink plenty of water.

The last rally cost the city nearly $100,000, Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano said.

Turner said he hopes to cost Baldwin Park as much money as possible to pressure the city to change the monument.

“If we come back 10 times,’ he said, “it’ll cost them a million dollars.’

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