Councilmember Steve Nelsen requested at the August 7 Visalia City Council meeting that an item be put on the next regular agenda to discuss posting, “In God We Trust” over Visalia’s city in seal in the chambers.
Nelsen cited that the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the spring of 2014 that legislative bodies such as city councils can begin their meetings with prayer. Since then there has been a national movement for cities and counties to make “In God We Trust” part of each city and county’s motto.
During public comment community activist, Renee Lapin, stated that Dinuba, Tulare and Porterville have all adopted the “In God We Trust” motto but that the organization behind the movement is not admirable and not something with which Visalia should be associated.
Councilmember Greg Collins said that he prefers to keep council business local and said that it is “an interesting conversation, but not one for us.”
“This building is for everyone,” he said.
Mayor Warren Gubler said that surely we want this in our hearts but “do we need it on the wall behind us? I don’t know.”
Vice-Mayor Bob Link didn’t say whether he was in favor or against the change, but respects the fact that it is important to another council member to discuss.
The vote was 4-1 in favor with Collins voting no. The item is tentatively scheduled for the August 21 meeting at 7pm at the Visalia City Chambers.