On Monday, the Delano City Council failed to pass Mayor Joe Aguirre’s resolution to affirm and adopt the national motto “In God We Trust” and implement the public display on city property.
The vote was 2-2, and one council member was absent Monday night.
Pastor David Vivas, of World Harvest International Church, helped draft the resolution. Its wording points out historical relevance where the Founding Fathers and other laws recognized God as an integral part of the United States society since its founding.
Aguirre said Bakersfield recently did the same thing with the motto, "making official" something that city had done a few years back.
"'In God We Trust' is our official national motto, and it makes perfect sense for the city of Delano to affirm the national motto as our city motto," Vivas said. "We all recognize and display the American Flag as our national flag. It’s no different when it comes to our national motto.”
Back on April 2, the Delano City Council voted to have Delano be the first city in California to approve the display decals with the national motto on city police vehicles.
Vivas had been in discussion with some council members about having the decals placed on police vehicles.
"I’ve read where law enforcement agencies in other states have done this," Vivas said back in April. "As a patriotic American, I believe this is appropriate to have these decals placed on police vehicles. This is not an endorsement of any religion nor does it violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment."
When the item was up for discussion, Aguirre requested Vivas to approach the podium to give a brief overview of the purpose of these decals. Vivas explained how this was in no way an endorsement of any specific religion and how the U.S. Supreme Court, along with other lower courts, have upheld the use of the national motto.
When the vote was taken, Councilman Joe Alindajao said he didn’t see a problem with this and was a “yes” vote. Councilman Bryan Osorio, acknowledged the founding of this nation upon Christianity, yet, could not support this action since the motto, he said, had varying opinions.
Vice-Mayor Liz Morris agreed the name God does not identify a specific “God” and voted “yes.” Aguirre was also a “yes” vote.
Councilwoman Grace Vallejo was not present.
After the meeting, Delano Police Chief Robert Nevarez said he had no issue with the decal on the police vehicles.
Delano officials are in no hurry to put the motto on various city buildings and vehicles, Aguirre said.
"There is no urgency or timeline," he said. "We will let every department head put it on their facility without having to clear it with anyone."
Also at Monday's meeting, council members planned to hear member Osorio’s resolution for Delano to formally declare itself a sanctuary city and to carry out measurable strides toward protecting the immigrant community. Such a designation could mean Delano would end up losing various federal funding, including law enforcement and other grant funding.
Ultimately, council members held off on adopting the resolution. It will be discussed at the council's next meeting on Aug. 5.