Reno council passes 'welcoming city' resolution

The Reno Arch in downtown. Photo by Wade Barnett/KOLO
The Reno Arch in downtown. Photo by Wade Barnett/KOLO(KOLO)
Published: Mar. 22, 2017 at 7:41 PM PDT
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In a move to support all members of the community, the Reno City Council Wednesday passed a “welcome city” resolution. The resolution aims to remind all members of the community they will be treated equally under the law and by the city government, no matter their race, color or creed.

The resolution was brought before the City Council by Councilman David Bobzien and Councilman Oscar Delgado.

“It is not an opportunity to change anything, It is just reaffirming what we already do,” said Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado. “This is an opportunity for us to show our people they do not need to fear the City of Reno Police Department. Don’t fear the Reno government in general. We are here to support you and provide services for you.”

The resolution, which was discussed during Wednesday’s city council meeting, attracted a lot of attention from the public.

Those in opposition believe it is not a “welcoming resolution”. Instead, they believe it is a “sanctuary city resolution” disguised under a different name.

“So to mask it in that way and call it a friendly city, I don’t agree with that,” said Eddie Lorton, a citizen in opposition.

“It will spill over into the whole county if you decide to vote yes on a sanctuary city,” said another citizen in opposition.

Proponents of the resolution disagree, saying it would further reinforce the city’s commitment to serving the public.

“It sends the message that victims of violent crime, human trafficking, and other crimes should never be afraid to reach out for help,” said Aria Overli, an Organizer with Acting in Community Together Organizing Northern Nevada (ACTIONN).

“This resolution will go a long way to protection the culture of Reno,” said a representative from the UCLU of Northern Nevada.

When the issue finally came back to the council, it was clear the resolution would get full support.

“I would have to ask if any of the people that commented against the resolution actually read it, or if they just read the snippets on Facebook and in the newspaper,” said Reno City Councilman Paul McKenzie.

McKenzie reminded the audience that the resolution does not even mention illegal immigration and it should not be construed as such. He said it simply reaffirms that the City of Reno will treat all people equally, no matter their status.

“Our policing policies and procedures are going to remain in place,” said Reno Police Chief Jason Soto. “We make and effect arrests based off of probable cause for somebody that is committing a crime.”

This is not a new policy for City of Reno or the Reno Police Department, so why make the resolution? To make immigrants feel better and convince them to come out from the shadows, says Councilman Oscar Delgado.

“Please do not feel as if you need to harbor in your homes or feel as though kids should be scared to go to school,” said Delgado.

The City Council's resolution can be viewed