2018-10-11 / Letters to the Editor

Democracy ignored in sanctuary debate

To the editor:

On Sept. 17, the town council suppressed participatory democracy and rubber stamped the administration and that is why I spoke up after the vote not to have an ordinance hearing.

I spoke because the council carried out a substantive hearing on the Immigrant Protection Ordinance. I was angry, not because the ordinance was rejected, but because they would not hear the minority report from the working committee.

What I experienced that night and throughout this process is not working democracy. My disappointment runs deep and raises issues of conflict with my Democratic Party, the present council and the upcoming election.

Although Conanicut Sanctuary answered the objections of the town administrator and solicitor by our Immigration attorney and adapted the ordinance twice to meet the police chief’s objections providing him discretion, the council, particularly President Kristine Trocki, Blake Dickinson and Mike White, chastised Conanicut Sanctuary as being uncooperative and divisive.

Trocki made this a referendum on the chief, implying the ordinance acts against him. The members of the council, especially those on the working committee know this is not true.

Conversation about how our federal government is treating members of our society belongs in our democratic discourse and a hearing is not a waste of our council’s time or our town’s. The council denied expert opinion and citizens’ concerns to be heard before passing judgment.

Governance is where the discourse of ideas takes place and we form what defines our future and us. Our democracy moves forward from the discourse and actions of its citizens. Our council was wrong to deny democracy.

Richard Hitt
Schooner Avenue

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