Flagstaff Civil Rights Ordinance Passes Unanimously
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Tonight Flagstaff’s “conservative” leaning council accomplished something previous self proclaimed “progressive” leaning councils could not accomplish…working toward a compromise and ultimately passing a “gay civil rights ordinance”.
The February 19th council meeting was packed with about 100 supporters of the ordinance and a small handful of residents who were opposed. Among the speakers asking for passage was former Coconino County Republican Party officer Gary Robbins who was also a candidate for Superior Court judge last year. Robbins said that the ordinance is a well written document and as an attorney he could find no problem with the language.
When council voted and the ordinance passed unanimously, there was temporary stunned silence before the crowd burst into applause. Many attendees expected Mayor Jerry Nabours to vote no based on rumors flying around on social networking sites and blogs in the local paper.
Some advocates for the ordinance had complained that Nabours and other council members were spending too much time focusing on the details and wording. They accused the council of stalling for time. Truth is, a good lawmaker reads and works out problems in a law before passing it.
The council members who should be criticized are the ones who wanted to force through the first draft a few weeks ago and work out the bugs later. Some of those “bugs” were blatant violations of Constitutionally protected rights (Fourth Amendment) and even City staff admitted it was illegal (allowing city officials to come on to your property to search your premises and go through documents without a warrant).
Council members who caught that flaw in the ordinance and demanded changes should be praised rather than attacked for “stalling” for selfish reasons.
Regardless of if you love or hate this ordinance, one thing is very clear. The “conservative” leaning members of the council proved tonight that they are willing to work toward a compromise on controversial social policy.
I wonder if we can expect the more liberal leaning members of the council to show the same courtesy and work toward similar compromises on controversial fiscal issues?