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Letters, May 21

Reject identity ordinance

Let the punishment fit the crime.

On behalf of the Ashland United Church of Christ Witness and Justice Team, we urge the City Council and Ashland citizens to oppose the proposed Ordinance No. 3176, which creates a new criminal offense of Failure to Provide Name and Date of Birth to a Peace Officer. The new crime would be classified as a Class C misdemeanor, which would carry a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,250.

We urge councilors to vote against this discriminatory and unnecessary new city ordinance. It would create a systematic promotion of a “stop and identify” tactic at the departmental and municipal level, which would damage police-community trust and lead to charges of racial and economic profiling by our police officers.

The proposed ordinance would encourage profiling on the basis of race or ethnic background and economic status by making it easier to arrest persons who cannot, will not, or are afraid to provide their identity to an officer simply because they are homeless, possibly undocumented, impoverished, or from a minority group outside of the mainstream, white Ashland population.

The proposed ordinance, if enacted, would likely result in more arrests of homeless and transient indigents, who could be easily jailed and fined on a pretext: the simple failure to identify themselves, even if the arresting officer fails to successfully charge that person on crimes for which he/she is suspected. This proposal will make it easier to clear the streets and fill up our jails with unhoused, mentally ill, immigrant or refugee and transient persons with little or no evidence of more serious crimes. This is blatantly discriminatory and should be considered a violation of our values as a community.

The proposed ordinance is illogical, draconian and expensive. Why should the Ashland criminal and municipal justice system be given additional powers to arrest people, throw them in jail and fine them thousands of dollars simply for not providing their identity? Arresting persons on issues regarding identity and documentation smacks of totalitarian states and is not a direction the city of Ashland should be considering.

For these reasons, we strongly urge City Council members to vote no on proposed Ordinance No. 3176.

Laurie True and Mark Goodman-Morris, Witness and Justice Team

Ashland United Church of Christ

Republican power grab

Congratulations, Alabama and Georgia, you have done it again!

This latest assault on women’s reproductive rights is not a cause but a symptom. It is a power grab for control over more than half the population driven by fear and anxiety over what constitutes masculinity and male power. Anxiety over what constitutes equal pay, equal opportunity, equal rights makes men so imbalanced that they want to put their hands on the scales of justice and also put their hands on the purse, metaphorically speaking, to once again control destiny — their own — while squeezing females out, but still squeezing females before, after, and during.

With this maneuvering using protection of the fetus as their reasoning, I foresee an increase in rape, incest, violence against women, as men once again place domination at the head of their agendas. There will be slavery across race, across culture, and across class because women’s full equality creates a paradigm that shudders the male to his core and into his scrotum.

So what should be our stance? Lie down and take it? Or stand up and fight? Join hands in common cause.

At the head of this anxious, angry motley madness of men is an even more agitated, grossly unfit, delusional, self-centered labyrinth, trapped by a mind made up of rooms filled with the fascination of revenge on anyone who has ever challenged him, wronged him, except the two people who absolutely wronged him and twisted him into the pretzel of humanity that is the container of his virulent soul. The damage done long ago is embedded in every cell of his demented being. And yet, or perhaps because, the male mob follows his every tweet like manna from a golden god. And yes, there are also mindless mamas and maidens waving fingers, hats and banners echoing their males as in a mating call.

So what should be our responses? If reason doesn’t work, should we mirror their manic madness? If kindness doesn’t work, should we ante up the hate? If love is seen as weakness, should we partner with the devil and damn the consequences?

The answers lie within each of us. If “do unto others as we would have others do unto us” means cruelty, hatred, isolation, than we have much in common with dead dodos and dinosaurs: extinction.

Rochelle Newman


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