The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has filed five misdemeanor charges against Victorville Councilwoman Blanca Gomez based on two events earlier this year, one at Victorville City Hall that occurred on July 20, as well as at a restaurant near the Walmart Supercenter on June 2.
Gomez, 45, has been charged with one misdemeanor count of PC148(a)1, resisting, obstructing or delaying of a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of PC242 – battery, both stemming from an incident on the premises of the Panera Bread bakery-café at 11838 Amargosa Road in Victorville on June 2, 2021. She is additionally charged with two misdemeanor counts of PC148(a)1 – resisting, obstructing or delaying of a peace officer and one count of PC403 – disturbance of a public meeting, relating to her action on July 20.
Additionally, Robert Rodriguez, one of Gomez’s associates, was charged with six misdemeanors alleged to have occurred in connection with the June 2 and July 20 events involving Gomez, as well as one at another Victorville City Council meeting on July 6.
The district attorney’s office maintains that on June 2 Rodriguez violated PC148(a)1 – misdemeanor resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer and one count of PC602(m) – trespassing. On July 6, Rodriguez is alleged to have run afoul of PC403 – misdemeanor disturbance of a public meeting.
On July 20, according to prosecutors, Rodriguez engaged in a single misdemeanor act in contravention of PC148(a)1 by resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer as well as another misdemeanor, that of violating PC403 – disturbance of a public meeting.
While Gomez and Rodriguez were arrested at the time of the July 20 incident by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies, they have not been rearrested but have been informed of their arraignments scheduled for January 4, 2022 by letters sent to them via the U.S. Post Office.
Since her election to the Victorville City Council in 2016, Gomez has clashed with her fellow and sister officeholders over her advocacy of immigrant rights and social issues that are beyond the scope of her role as a municipal official, as well as her sometimes imperfect understanding of protocol. Her antagonistic and contentious style often involves provocative acts, as when she draped herself in a Mexican flag during council meeting, and this has further alienated her from her elected colleagues.
Oftentimes, her and her supporters’ use of video-recording devices, which is an essentially legal activity, has exacerbated things.
The June 2 incident was precipitated, apparently, when Rodriguez was asked by an employee to step out of the Panera Bread café because he was vaping, and things grew confrontational, resulting in sheriff’s deputies being summoned, whereupon a dispute over Gomez’s efforts to use her cell phone to video what was occurring erupted.
A ruckus occurred during the July 6 meeting when city officials became warily regardful of Rodriguez and he reacted vocally and loudly.
The July 20 contretemps grew out of Victorville Mayor Debra Jones objecting to Rodriguez, who was wearing a hat and what appeared to be a ski mask while sitting near Jones’ husband in the gallery within the council chamber, using a device to video the meeting. The circumstance was complicated by the consideration that Jones’ husband was also, apparently, recording the meeting, which was remarked upon by City Attorney Andre de Bortnowski. Gomez was also using a camera to video-record. Mayor Jones vectored sheriff’s deputies to Rodriguez, after which a confrontation between deputies and Rodriguez ensued, with Gomez making note that Mr. Jones was not being dealt with by deputies in the way in which Rodriguez was, and that she had herself video-recorded that discrepancy. When she left her place at the council dais to move into the gallery, an altercation with deputies took place, and both she and Rodriguez were arrested.