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I can’t say after Monday night’s meeting that I’m surprised, really. Disappointed, but not surprised. And that, in itself, is a fairly sad commentary on what happened.
You see, you had a chance to do something good. You had a chance to do something that really matters. You had a chance to lead the way in Henry County – and a corner of Shelby County.
But you sat on your hands, looking quietly and somewhat awkwardly at the table while the motion to approve a Fairness Ordinance died for lack of a second.
How very cowardly of you.
With no one at the table offering up a second to commission member Shawn Mertz’s motion to approve the Fairness Ordinance, you protected yourselves from having to vote on it. You didn’t have to say whether or not you support fairness.
Effectively, what happened was a 4-1 non-vote vote, via not saying a single word, against the Fairness Ordinance. Effectively, what happened was a 4-1 statement that no, as a city, you do not support fairness.
Effectively, what happened was a 4-1 “nonstatement” in the non-denial-denial vein that said we support discrimination against gay men and women, against those who have yet to determine their gender identity.
Shame on you for that.
This one was a no-brainer, and you whiffed.
If, as one commissioner stated in the October meeting, you can’t think of anyone who discriminates against another person in the city…what did you have to lose by passing this ordinance?
I’ll answer that one — nothing, zero, zilch, nada. Not. One. Single. Thing.
Not only did you whiff, your mayor offered up one of the silliest complaints I think I’ve ever heard about an ordinance.
Mayor Rodney Young told Shawn Mertz — in the meeting — that his complaint was that the ordinance wasn’t introduced properly. The issue wasn’t brought to the board for discussion, after which an ordinance would have been drafted.
Nonsense. Unless I’m thoroughly mistaken after 10 years of covering city and county government, any member of any council, commission or fiscal court in the commonwealth of Kentucky may bring a proposed ordinance to their respective bodies. Never mind that Young didn’t mention this particular complaint in October, when the ordinance was introduced, and when, as it turns out, the only real discussion occurred.
And for no discussion to take place at Monday’s meeting? What an insult to Pleasureville’s residents, straight and gay, black and white, young and old. And what an insult to members of the audience who were there, without question, to take part in discussion about the ordinance.
But, no, Young closed the valve for public input Monday night.
When Mertz offered audience members a chance to speak, Young rather sharply snapped that the discussion was for the board only. Never mind that, despite enacting a sort of “no talking” rule a couple of years ago, that back and forth between residents and the commission still occurs regularly. Never mind that, in previous meetings, commissioners invite the public to comment during what would, otherwise, be board discussion.
But, no, not on this issue.
If not you, who? If not now, when?
Jonna Spelbring Priester is editor of the Henry County Local.