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:
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.