Royal OakOctober 9, 2013
Commission turns down human rights ordinance letter
By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer
The Royal Oak City Commission voted Oct. 7 against distributing an informational letter on the human rights ordinance that proponents said would better clarify what the ordinance would do if passed by voters Nov. 5.
The vote was 3-3. Commissioner Carlo Ginotti was absent from the meeting. Ties result in failed motions.
In September, the commission approved a resolution authorizing City Attorney David Gillam to draft an informative, unbiased letter to counter what proponents of the letter said was misinformation regarding the ordinance.
The human rights ordinance, if passed, would prohibit “discrimination based upon actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental limitation, source of income, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.”
The original resolution to come before the commission Oct. 7 called for the printing of the letter and sending it to voters via mail at the cost of approximately $13,650, according to a projection by City Manager Don Johnson.
The motion that the commission actually voted on called for the letter Gillam drafted to be posted on the city’s website.
Mayor Pro Tem David Poulton, who voted in September against Gillam writing the draft, also voted against distributing the letter through any medium.
He called it a waste of resources and a redundant action.
“This information has been on the website,” Poulton said. “It’s called the sample ballot.”
Mayor Jim Ellison and Commissioner Peggy Goodwin, who have both supported the human rights ordinance, joined Poulton in opposition to Gillam’s letter being mailed out or posted on the website.
“I don’t think it’s a good use of city funds to mail that letter out when the information is already widely circulated,” Ellison said.
Goodwin said that she really didn’t see any signs of misinformation that proponents of the letter said needed to be stymied.
“I don’t agree that there’s all this mass confusion,” Goodwin said.
Commissioner Jim Rasor, who spoke out in favor of such a letter in September, said the version presented to the commission didn’t go far enough. Instead, it simply reiterated what was to appear on the ballot.
“It really doesn’t say anything,” Rasor said.
Rasor wanted the letter to have more substance and include a section responding to frequently asked questions on the ordinance.
Gillam’s letter essentially restated the purpose of the ordinance in one paragraph and went on to explain the other initiatives that will appear on the ballot.
“I would love to have more information in that letter, but I don’t want to cross over that line into advocacy,” Rasor said.
Gillam said he wrote as much as he felt state law allowed.
“In terms of the substance of the letter itself, it cannot advocate for any issue on the ballot,” Gillam said. “That was my intention when drafting this letter; (it) was to try to keep it informative.”
- Last 7 Days
- Last 30 Days
- Woman found dead in Warren home - Warren
- Former Birmingham mayor arrested again on meth charges - Birmingham
- WWTHS graduate killed in Libya remembered - Warren
- Community rallies for Shelby boy with brain cancer - Shelby Township
- Love surrounds local teacher fighting cancer - Warren
- Local chefs share trade secrets for creating the perfect holiday cookie - Metro Detroit
- Mount Clemens man accused of sexually assaulting daughters - Mount Clemens
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer - Shelby Township
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams - Walled Lake
- Missing woman found dead - West Bloomfield
- Looking Back: Selinsky-Green Farmhouse c. 1898 - St. Clair Shores
- New Macomb Mall owners to redevelop Crowley’s building - Roseville
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall - Berkley
- Community gets ready for 38th annual Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade Nov. 29 - Grosse Pointe City
- Sterling woman hurt in shooting - Sterling Heights
- Christmas comes to the Shores - St. Clair Shores
- County board considers regional water authority proposal - Macomb County
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams
- Child prodigy becomes youngest artist exhibited at Park West Gallery
- All in the family
- Christmas Wonderfest brings holiday wonder to Novi
- Ferndale resident taking part in Potters Market for first time