Town may take on Patriot Act
January 26, 2005
The town of Oak Creek could become one of a few hundred municipalities across the nation to oppose the USA Patriot Act.
The Town Board will consider a resolution to express “commitment to civil rights and liberties and establishing a civil liberties safe zone” at its meeting tonight.
If approved, the resolution would state formally the town’s concern about sections of the USA Patriot Act, as well as executive orders and other legislation, which “threaten civil rights and liberties guaranteed under the United States Constitution.”
“I think it’s important … to express our own commitment to civil rights, to not allow anybody to take away anything that many, many have worked to give us,” Oak Creek Mayor Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman said.
Rodeman put the resolution on today’s agenda after talking with Scott Glackman of the Steamboat Springs Peace and Justice Center. Glackman said that he and Nan Schweiger are working to get local municipalities, with the goal of getting all municipalities across the United States, to formally express their commitment to civil rights and liberties.
“The Bill of Rights is what we fight for in every war that we go to. It’s what our founding fathers had in mind when they put this whole country together,” Glackman said. “So that’s what we should uphold.”
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Trustee Mike Kien brought a similar resolution to the Town Board almost two years ago, but it died for lack of a second. He said he would support a second similar effort, but that he still can’t believe the first resolution did not pass.
The resolution before the Oak Creek Town Board would affirm several principles: Every person has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure; stops and arrests cannot be made without a reasonable suspicion or probable cause there is a crime; every person has a right to equal protection under the law; every person has the right to free speech and freedom of association.
It also would say that no employees or town representatives could discriminate against someone because of ancestry, race, sex, ethnicity, or other factors. Copies of the resolution would be sent to President Bush and other federal, state and local officials.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 367 communities in 43 states have opposed the USA Patriot Act.
The USA Patriot Act expands the federal government’s authority to detain and investigate people, to conduct electronic surveillance of people, to perform searches and seizures without showing probable cause or a relevant warrant, the draft resolution states.
“I think that every town needs to look to their own people and see if they believe that the taking away of our own … civil liberties and rights is in any way beneficial to anyone,” Rodeman said.
Also at tonight’s meeting, the Oak Creek Town Board will hear an update from the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, which is planning four affordable single-family homes and a duplex in town. The board also will discuss budget concerns brought up by Trustee John Crawford.
The Oak Creek Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
— To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com