Be at the March 19th Council Meeting

Ordinance 2014-05 has been advertised in the Daily Lacka News and will be adopted this Wednesday the 19th. A big thank you to the people who attended and spoke out at the March 5th meeting. The one person who said he’s okay with 2014-05 just happens to be on Main Street Association and needs to stay in Council’s good favor in order to get his skate park built in the flood plain in the middle of Kerr Park. Other than him, citizens were not in favor of Council adopting this ordinance. Really good questions were raised, but Council Prez Gazzerro and Councilor Rakoff plowed ahead to get it voted on (with a minimal change proposed by favored newbie Pat McGlone). The solicitor said he hadn’t really read the ordinance, so wouldn’t you think Council would want him to read it over prior to taking a vote?? Nah.

Why is Council going to pass 2014-05 that creates a Human Resources Commission? Is it because the LGBT community is not protected against housing and employment discrimination? Nope. That can’t be the reason, because Council does not have the ability or authority to provide protection. Even though everyone on Council was in agreement that LGBTs should be protected from employment and housing discrimination, the State does not currently provide such protection. If the State doesn’t have a law about it, the Borough can’t take it upon themselves and create their own. Imagine what laws this Council would make, if they didn’t have to comply with State law! The Borough cannot enforce anti-discrimination acts against LGBTs, because the State has not given them the authority to do so. It’s as simple as that.

So, why is Council going ahead with this ordinance when it could land the them in court? More than likely, it’s because Josh Maxwell is running for a spot on the State Legislature. This ordinance would be a fine feather in his cap and would appeal to the LGBT voters, right? Let’s hope not. Any person with half a brain can see that this ordinance is NOT enforceable and NOT legal. It’s nothing more than a political stunt at the taxpayers’ expense. It is powerless to protect LGBTs against housing and employment discrimination. There are no laws in PA that provide such protection at this time.

2 thoughts on “Be at the March 19th Council Meeting

  1. I’ve read the draft of Ordinance 2014-05. I discovered there ARE other municipalities that have Non-Discrimination Ordinances that include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity or expression’.

    Other local governments either added a chapter or amended their Human Relations Ordinance. Most included the ‘Police power’ statement, which I don’t think is right. Some stopped well short of the Public Hearing section.

    It’s obvious that the author(s) of the Borough version is a copy/paste of several I looked at. With a few word changes and moving whole statements out of sections or subsections and into areas they do not belong, the Borough’s non-discrimination Ord. …oh, bother….

    The Borough’s draft is a huge mess. It looks like it was done in a hurry; it was not edited or proof-read.

    I don’t know what changes McClone proposed and were presumably approved and look forward to viewing the Ordinance they intend to approve this Wednesday, March 19.

    I also discovered there are House and Senate Bills, both numbered 300, that reached their respective legislative committees in early August 2013. Chances are these bills will continue to collect dust unless the State Administration and legislators change.

    There are only two things the House and Senate bills change in the current State’s Human Relations Act:
    (bb) The term “sexual orientation” means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.

    (cc) The term “gender identity or expression” means actual or perceived gender identity, appearance, behavior, expression or physical characteristics whether or not associated with an individual’s assigned sex at birth.
    It WOULD be nice if they were included in the State HRA. But, they’re not.

    It would be great if the Borough were to show their support to the LBGT folks with a statement and, in a Human Relation Ordinance, services they CAN offer.

    What is written in the Ordinance draft as section 90-7 (the first of 3 sections labeled 90-7) is not something I found in most municipal HR Ordinances: Commission Roles and Responsibilities.

    a. Promote mutual understanding, respect and cooperation among all racial, cultural religions, ethnic, nationality and other groups within the Borough.

    c. Cooperate with and assist other organizations, public or private, to improve relationships among the citizens of the Borough.

    e. Act as a referral group for complaints of alleged discrimination within the Borough and, wherever possible, the Commission shall refer the complainants to appropriate social, civic or government agencies for further action.

    I don’t believe there is an LGBT problem in the Borough, nor do I believe there are problems with other groups. I don’t see any reason to ‘busy’ a new Commission with a study or programs that are irrelevant.
    Actually, the only statement that’s really necessary is e:.Act as a referral group for complaints.


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