Wednesday, May 18, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 11th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
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Solvang City Council approves inaugural Pride parade for June

By Caleb Wiseblood

Two Solvang City Council meeting attendees rose to the defense of an upcoming Pride parade after one speaker at the May 9 meeting described the event as insensitive to human trafficking victims.

“Because of everything that this country has been going through, with human trafficking, child trafficking, I’d love to see you table it [the parade], because I think the timing is really tough,” Central Coast resident Mary White said during public comment. “It’s very hard to see these kinds of things going on. … This is not about me, this is about our country. It’s about people in this area.”

White described herself as a mother and a victim of abuse, without providing any details, and asked the City Council to consider hearing other victims of abuse out before approving a permit for downtown Solvang’s inaugural Pride parade—proposed by SYV Pride, a newly formed nonprofit that plans to host the parade on June 25 and additional Pride festivities between June 22 and 26.

The board members of SYV Pride, a newly formed nonprofit, include several local business owners. The group submitted a proposal to host downtown Solvang’s inaugural Pride parade, which earned approval from Solvang City Council and is set to take place on June 25.

“I have nothing against that agenda; people do what they want. They have free will to do it, but taking it out to the public, I don’t know if this timing is right,” White said. “God will not be mocked. You answer to a higher position, all of us do. Thank you very much.”

Vashti Wilson, co-founder of a local nonprofit, Madi’s Treasure Box, and a co-organizer of this year’s Juneteenth celebration at Solvang Park, spoke immediately after White.

“To equate pedophilia with a Pride event is problematic for me. What we should be doing is supporting one another and lifting each other up,” Wilson said. “And when the name of God is invoked, it should be one of love and support and collaboration and community.”

Solvang Police Chief and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Lt. Garrett TeSlaa spoke after Wilson to address White’s comments.

“I just want to take a moment as your police chief and reiterate that we have a division of detectives dedicated to human trafficking. We take that very, very seriously,” TeSlaa said. “There’s nothing to suggest that human trafficking has anything to do with the LGBTQ community.”

TeSlaa added that he is personally excited to attend the SYV Pride parade, and is not concerned over any crimes that may be attributed to the event without basis.

Lauren Lastra, vice president of SYV Pride, was present at the meeting to answer any questions from the Solvang City Council about the parade and other festivities. Councilmember Robert Clarke raised one concern about the parade to Lastra.

“I lived in San Francisco for eight years, and I’m very familiar with the Pride parade. This is a family-friendly town, it’s not San Francisco,” Clarke said. “Will there be naked people on the floats?”

“Not that I’m aware of, no,” Lastra responded.

“There’s a lot of kids in this town, and I really don’t want to see people twerking half-naked on floats in Solvang,” Clarke added.

Lastra assured Clarke that there would be “no naked people” on the parade floats.

The Solvang City Council ultimately approved SYV Pride’s event plans, with a 4-0 vote. Councilmember Jim Thomas was absent.

Weekly Poll
What type of vegetable would you grow in a free community garden?

Brussel Sprouts, they are the best.
Broccoli because it can go with any meal.
Tomatoes, although I think those are technically a fruit.
French fries!

| Poll Results

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