Jackson, Michigan HRC

In May, TOC noted that the Jackson, Michigan, Human Relations Commission (appointed by the City Council) under the leadership of one Kathleen Conley, was lobbying Council to pass a bylaw to ensure that:

…no person shall be denied equal protection of the law, their civil or political rights or be discriminated against because of “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 or status, educational association, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status.”

TOC was derisive regarding a law outlawing perceptions, calling Jackson City Council’s establishment of an HRC an “invitation to squishy mindedness they have extended to themselves by appointing a useless collective of neo-puritans with too much time on their hands.” Here are some recent developments:

Jackson Human Relations Commission plans petition drive for civil rights ordinance

Members of the Jackson Human Relations Commission plan to collect signatures from citizens in favor of a proposed civil rights ordinance.

Commission members and ordinance supporters will meet at Bella Notte Ristorante at 1 p.m. Aug. 1 and go door to door till 5 p.m. Citizens will be asked to sign a petition saying they are in favor of the proposed ordinance, and the signatures will be presented to the Jackson City Council at its Aug. 11 meeting.

I must say I’m excited to hear that Council will be voting tonight, the suspense has been killing me. The result of the HRC petition drive is “…a list of 151 people who support its proposed civil rights ordinance.” Human Relations Commission gathers support for city civil rights ordinance

Perhaps Council will have the backbone to resist this onslaught. After all, there are only about 33,000 residents in Jackson who did not sign the petition. We must keep in mind, however, that in 2007 almost 12 percent of eligible voters participated in electing their Mayor. Incumbent Jerry Ludwig defeated City Councilman Carl L. Breeding, 1,919 to 1,028 votes. 151 of the community organized can have a disproportionate impact. We can only hope common sense will override electoral angst.

As I checked on this teapot tempest, I did find some amusement. Last November a complaint alleging race, age and sex discrimination was filed against the Jackson Human Relations Commission and the Mayor.

…Frances Reeves, principal of McCulloch Academy of Arts and Technology, filed complaints with the state Department of Civil Rights — one against the Human Relations Commission, which is charged with bringing people together to resolve conflicts, promoting harmony and combating discrimination.

…[HRC Chairwoman Kathleen] Conley said then that part of the reason Reeves was not chosen was that she already had a lot on her plate as a principal.

The cost to the City of settling this is not disclosed, but even if there was no payment to Ms Reeves, a lot of time was wasted by lawyers and City staff. But the best part is that Ms Conley claims Ms Reeves was turned down because, in Ms Conley’s judgment, Ms Reeves didn’t have enough time on her hands.

Obvious message to Jackson City Council: get rid of the HRC. If you need political cover, go out and get 152 signatures.

4 thoughts on “Jackson, Michigan HRC”

  1. You obviously have not read the entire proposed ordinance, have no interest in the rights of our gay/lesbian community and have “too much time on your hands.” By the way, this entire ordeal has cost the City of Jackson no money. You know nothing about the HRC so stop posting your ignorant blogs! I wonder if this post will make it online since they have to be “approved”?

  2. I know thought police when I see them.In response to your only substantive point, are you saying the City of Jackson has lawyers who work for nothing and that City Council members' time is priced at zero? And, are you claiming that you know the settlement with Ms Reeves involved no City employee time or any money?FWIW, only 1 non-spam comment to this blog has ever been rejected, but since we do allow anonymous posts (as you know) it is only prudent to monitor them.

  3. Let me start off by apologizing for saying that my comment may not get posted. I do appreciate why you monitor the responses you post. I spoke too quickly but that was simply because I felt strongly offended by your comments. I am a Human Relations Commissioner and I am hurt by your harsh words. The HRC is by no means a waste of time and we are not useless people. I am a wife, mother of three and small business owner who would not be involved as a VOLUNTEER if it was. We, the commissioners, are all volunteers and value what we are doing for the Jackson community. Having a full knowledge of what the commission is involved in I can tell you that some of your points are based on not having all of the facts. I welcome you to attend any of our public meetings in the future. We meet at 6:30 on the third Wednesday of every month in City Council chambers.I apologize for being rude in my prior post. I was offended and should not have attempted to offend you in return. Please take the time to get to know more about the HRC; we are a great group of people in the community trying to make it a better place to live. We would like the opportunity to know you as well. Thank you and be blessed!

  4. Regular readers of this blog will have noted that it has little use for the United Nations HRC and even less for various Canadian Federal and Provincial HRCs. Here is a quick search, the reading of which is entirely optional, but which can provide insight into the excesses possible under such regulation as your Committee proposes. It isn't pretty. I might have said you had been tarred by too broad a brush, except the word “perceived” makes your regulation's brush as wide as the world. We may disagree on other points as well, but I doubt there are any so important as that single word.I denigrate neither your effort nor your intent. I am sure you believe in what you do and work hard at it. As long as this is a private effort, not involving regulation of thought, I would applaud efforts to improve the community. I simply know that the pretence of regulating people's perceptions is unworkable and dangerous. I cannot but see this as an attempt to pre-emptively abrogate the First Amendment.Thank you for the invitation. If I am in Jackson on an appropriate Wednesday, I may take you up on it.