Souza and Asmundson Propose to Strip Civil Rights Protections from Seminal City Ordinance

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The Davis City Council in 1986 passed one of the most sweeping anti-discrimination ordinances in the country. This ordinance put Davis on the forefront of civil rights protections in the nation. The ordinance would then be re-affirmed by a vote of the public.

The ordinance protected individuals on the basis of “race, religion, color, ancestry, age, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or place of birth…” It granted “The fundamental rights of citizens include the right to live unfettered by unreasonable discrimination and this right is consistent with the American ideals of individual freedom, liberty and responsibility for one’s own actions.” Moreover it placed the responsibility with government “to take action to prevent such discrimination.”

In addition to the sweeping scope of the protections, it provided three core enforcement mechanisms to ensure that this ordinance was not merely a paper tiger. In 10.06.050(a):

“any person whose rights are violated pursuant to this chapter may bring a civil action against person or persons engaging in such violation. Upon a finding of liability, the court shall award actual damages…”

Second, (b) allows:

“any person who commits an act in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter” to “be enjoined therefrom and from future violations by any court of competent jurisdiction.”

While both of these provisions are essential, they both require court action. Court action has two fundamental drawbacks. First, it is not a speedy process—meaning it may take a period of years for the court to issue a finding. Second, it is an expensive process, thus people of modest means have difficulty retaining quality counsel and even more difficulty following through on the lengthy and expensive court process. However, the city of Davis, visionary as it was, created a third option that would mitigate this problem. They empowered a government body—the Davis Human Relations Commission with the power to investigate and mediate complaints of discrimination.

Section 7A-15 (c)Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in violation of the provisions of this ordinance may file a request to have the human relations commission investigate and mediate his or her complaint. The commission may adopt rules of procedure to accommodate the needs of such investigation and mediation. A complaint to the commission shall not be a prerequisite to filing a civil action under this section, and the findings and conclusions of the commission issued in response to such proceedings shall not be admissible in a civil action. (Ord. No. 1359, § 1 (part).)

When the current Davis City Council reformulated the Davis Human Relations Commission, they sought to strip much of the previous power that they once had. As a result, they passed a resolution making the HRC strictly an advisory body, without the ability to investigate complaints. It was pointed out last fall by Councilmember Heystek that the resolution passed by the Council by a 3-2 vote (with Mayor Greenwald and Councilmember Heystek dissenting) was at odds with the anti-discrimination ordinance.

Council again by a 3-2 vote, decided to send the question back to the subcommittee of Councilmembers Ruth Asmundson and Stephen Souza (rather than staff) to determine what to do with the anti-discrimination ordinance. On Tuesday, they will take up the issue as a full council.

The report concludes:

“The subcommittee recommends that Section 7A-15(c) of the city’s Anti-discrimination Ordinance should be deleted.”

Furthermore, they argue that this is not a fundamental problem for civil rights enforcement:

“The Subcommittee believes there is an adequate web of resources available to individuals.”

This view is actually based on a very limited understand of the ordinance and the scope of protections under the ordinance. In effect, the council decision (and there is little doubt what the council decision will be given that Councilmember Saylor has been the most fervent about abolishing the powers of the HRC and oversight), will strike the major enforcement mechanism in the ordinance, leaving only judicial remedies as a possibility for an aggrieved individual. As we discussed, due to the prohibitive costs and general lack of ability for individuals to file suit, there is no legitimate recourse an aggrieved individual of modest or even moderate means possesses.

To understand this, we should look toward the Buzayan case, which is now two years old following the initial incident in June 2005. And yet, a full two years later, the federal trial has not yet begun. Moreover the family has already spent in the hundreds of thousands of dollars on court costs. While the Buzayans can afford these costs (with a great deal of strain and burden even on their finances), the average person simply cannot, which means they are effectively without remedy.

The council subcommittee is arguing that there are other available remedies. In fact, I can think of one and they really cite only one, the police ombudsman, an entity which is completely untested and not codified into the ordinance. The anti-discrimination ordinance intended to look well beyond the scope of police activities. In fact, that was likely only a very minor perceived role for the HRC. Over the years, the HRC has been involved in a very wide variety of cases most of which were not directly related to police activities.

There is to my knowledge no other such mechanism to fulfill the role formerly played by the HRC. What avenues are available for some of the other complaints that arise other than going to court? Does the council insist that the court and litigation is the only remedy? Wasn’t the HRC created precisely as a means to avoid court action?

The HRC was the only body existing that had the ability to both listen to complaints aired in public and investigate and report their findings publicly. The city council has claimed that they have such powers, but the city council does not act as an investigatory body. Their job is primarily a policy making body that acts on recommendations from the various commissions that do the leg work? Does the City Council really want to subsume the role played by the former HRC to both hear and investigate complaints of discrimination not just against the police, but throughout the community? This does not seem a practical stance and yet this is exactly what Steve Souza claimed last fall when this issue arose during the time at which the commissions were reformulated.

Some have suggested that there should be a private/ independent HRC to fulfill this function, but the force of government is precisely what is needed to mediate and resolve issues and complaints of discrimination and there needs to be an available remedy outside of the courts which are costly to both plaintiff and the city and lengthy. In fact, in the language of the anti-discrimination ordinance cited above, the ordinance SPECIFICALLY charged government as having a primary role to play in the enforcement of these provisions.

As it stands now, there is no remedy for complaints in the ordinance. The council has not codified the ombudsman into the anti-discrimination ordinance. And there are no remedies for discrimination complaints outside of police complaints.

Imagine Brown v. Board of Education without the ensuing civil rights legislation to give that decision and subsequent decisions actual teeth that can be used by federal, state, and local governments to enforce civil rights legislation—that is precisely what the current council majority’s subcommittee is recommending doing with the Davis Civil Rights ordinance—it lays out provisions but offers no enforcement mechanism outside of the costly court system.

The council majority is in effect making the civil rights ordinance exactly what the authors of it sought to avoid—making it a paper tiger ordinance. For the average person who charges discrimination, there is now no effective means by which to redress their grievances outside of the lengthy and costly court process.

The saddest part I think is that this is a huge step backwards in the fight for civil rights. Davis was once on the forefront in the nation on civil rights, just as it had been on the forefront of a number of progressive issues during the seminal progressive era. One by one the current council majority of Asmundson, Saylor and Souza is undoing the great work of the giants who came before them. And the citizenry of Davis to this point have offered hardly a whisper of protest. Unfortunately it may take a major case to re-infuse our commitment to civil rights in Davis and that is the saddest part. Many in this city believed that this was a hard-earned but accomplished victory. Now the very members who claim to be liberals, are about to undo this victory.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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104 thoughts on “Souza and Asmundson Propose to Strip Civil Rights Protections from Seminal City Ordinance”

  1. davisite

    Heystek and Greenwald need to be fully prepared with “friendly” amendments for a full and lengthy public discussion of the inevitable motion in lieu of simply taking a NO vote position. The Gang of Three’s implicit response,” Why are you wasting our time, we have the votes!” will,no doubt, be trotted out again…

  2. davisite

    Heystek and Greenwald need to be fully prepared with “friendly” amendments for a full and lengthy public discussion of the inevitable motion in lieu of simply taking a NO vote position. The Gang of Three’s implicit response,” Why are you wasting our time, we have the votes!” will,no doubt, be trotted out again…

  3. davisite

    Heystek and Greenwald need to be fully prepared with “friendly” amendments for a full and lengthy public discussion of the inevitable motion in lieu of simply taking a NO vote position. The Gang of Three’s implicit response,” Why are you wasting our time, we have the votes!” will,no doubt, be trotted out again…

  4. davisite

    Heystek and Greenwald need to be fully prepared with “friendly” amendments for a full and lengthy public discussion of the inevitable motion in lieu of simply taking a NO vote position. The Gang of Three’s implicit response,” Why are you wasting our time, we have the votes!” will,no doubt, be trotted out again…

  5. Anonymous

    For those who are so quick to attack Yamada for not jumping on the political bandwagon concerning changing the rule from the need for a 2/3 to a simple majority, witness the
    tyranny of the Council majority this Tuesday where a simple majority vote carries the day.

  6. Anonymous

    For those who are so quick to attack Yamada for not jumping on the political bandwagon concerning changing the rule from the need for a 2/3 to a simple majority, witness the
    tyranny of the Council majority this Tuesday where a simple majority vote carries the day.

  7. Anonymous

    For those who are so quick to attack Yamada for not jumping on the political bandwagon concerning changing the rule from the need for a 2/3 to a simple majority, witness the
    tyranny of the Council majority this Tuesday where a simple majority vote carries the day.

  8. Anonymous

    For those who are so quick to attack Yamada for not jumping on the political bandwagon concerning changing the rule from the need for a 2/3 to a simple majority, witness the
    tyranny of the Council majority this Tuesday where a simple majority vote carries the day.

  9. Anonymous

    The U.S. Constitution gives you the same protection.

    Good for Souza and Asmundson for removing more government redundancy that provides absolutely nothing that we do not already enjoy.

  10. Anonymous

    The U.S. Constitution gives you the same protection.

    Good for Souza and Asmundson for removing more government redundancy that provides absolutely nothing that we do not already enjoy.

  11. Anonymous

    The U.S. Constitution gives you the same protection.

    Good for Souza and Asmundson for removing more government redundancy that provides absolutely nothing that we do not already enjoy.

  12. Anonymous

    The U.S. Constitution gives you the same protection.

    Good for Souza and Asmundson for removing more government redundancy that provides absolutely nothing that we do not already enjoy.

  13. Anonymous

    You could not be more wrong anonymous2. The local ordinance is far more sweeping than anything in the federal government and the enforcement mechabism will be gutted by the changes. You are obviously not a strong supporter of civil rights.

  14. Anonymous

    You could not be more wrong anonymous2. The local ordinance is far more sweeping than anything in the federal government and the enforcement mechabism will be gutted by the changes. You are obviously not a strong supporter of civil rights.

  15. Anonymous

    You could not be more wrong anonymous2. The local ordinance is far more sweeping than anything in the federal government and the enforcement mechabism will be gutted by the changes. You are obviously not a strong supporter of civil rights.

  16. Anonymous

    You could not be more wrong anonymous2. The local ordinance is far more sweeping than anything in the federal government and the enforcement mechabism will be gutted by the changes. You are obviously not a strong supporter of civil rights.

  17. Richard

    to the first “anonymous”: the 2/3 voting requirement in the legislature only applies to the passage of the budget and the enactment of urgency legislation, hence it would be able to pass a measure of this kind with a simple majority as well

    –Richard Estes

  18. Richard

    to the first “anonymous”: the 2/3 voting requirement in the legislature only applies to the passage of the budget and the enactment of urgency legislation, hence it would be able to pass a measure of this kind with a simple majority as well

    –Richard Estes

  19. Richard

    to the first “anonymous”: the 2/3 voting requirement in the legislature only applies to the passage of the budget and the enactment of urgency legislation, hence it would be able to pass a measure of this kind with a simple majority as well

    –Richard Estes

  20. Richard

    to the first “anonymous”: the 2/3 voting requirement in the legislature only applies to the passage of the budget and the enactment of urgency legislation, hence it would be able to pass a measure of this kind with a simple majority as well

    –Richard Estes

  21. Anonymous

    Okay, what is different. The usual sweeping generalizations prove nothing. What specifically do you get with the ordinance that you do not get with our constitution.

    You obviously have not read the constitution.

  22. Anonymous

    Okay, what is different. The usual sweeping generalizations prove nothing. What specifically do you get with the ordinance that you do not get with our constitution.

    You obviously have not read the constitution.

  23. Anonymous

    Okay, what is different. The usual sweeping generalizations prove nothing. What specifically do you get with the ordinance that you do not get with our constitution.

    You obviously have not read the constitution.

  24. Anonymous

    Okay, what is different. The usual sweeping generalizations prove nothing. What specifically do you get with the ordinance that you do not get with our constitution.

    You obviously have not read the constitution.

  25. Anonymous

    Richard… I was addressing the principle of the pitfalls in the “tyranny” of a simple majority when I suggested witnessing the Gang of Three in action this Tuesday, not the specific issue at hand.

  26. Anonymous

    Richard… I was addressing the principle of the pitfalls in the “tyranny” of a simple majority when I suggested witnessing the Gang of Three in action this Tuesday, not the specific issue at hand.

  27. Anonymous

    Richard… I was addressing the principle of the pitfalls in the “tyranny” of a simple majority when I suggested witnessing the Gang of Three in action this Tuesday, not the specific issue at hand.

  28. Anonymous

    Richard… I was addressing the principle of the pitfalls in the “tyranny” of a simple majority when I suggested witnessing the Gang of Three in action this Tuesday, not the specific issue at hand.

  29. progressive observer

    Responding to Anonymous 8:54 AM

    There is nothing tyrannical about having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress and all court decisions made by the US appellate courts including the Supreme Court are made by a simple majority vote.

    The California Legislative requirement of 2/3 to pass an annual budget is no longer a one person, one vote situation. This legislative requirement is tyrannical because it gives the votes of the minority members more power than those members voting in the majority and that is both unequal and unfair. The 2/3 requirement is also undemocratic as the votes of the minority are more valuable than those in the majority.

    The current Davis council majority prevails precisely because they are in the majority by the will of the voters. The remedy is for the minority council members and their supporters to win more council seats at the next election and become the majority.

    Responding to Anonymous 9:17 AM

    The US Constitution does not provide mechanisms by which civil rights can be enforced. The Constitution left that up to the legislative bodies to determine and the Davis City Council provided that in the City’s Anti-discrimination Ordinance wherein it charged the Davis Human Relations Commission with the authority to investigate allegations of discrimination.

    There is no “government redundancy” at all. In fact, by eliminating this duty and responsibility from the commission wipes away the only mechanism by which citizens can address their concerns of discrimination, short of going to the courts. Past city councils wisely realized they were not equipped to hear and mediate charges of discrimination and delegated that authority to the Davis Human Relations Commission.

  30. progressive observer

    Responding to Anonymous 8:54 AM

    There is nothing tyrannical about having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress and all court decisions made by the US appellate courts including the Supreme Court are made by a simple majority vote.

    The California Legislative requirement of 2/3 to pass an annual budget is no longer a one person, one vote situation. This legislative requirement is tyrannical because it gives the votes of the minority members more power than those members voting in the majority and that is both unequal and unfair. The 2/3 requirement is also undemocratic as the votes of the minority are more valuable than those in the majority.

    The current Davis council majority prevails precisely because they are in the majority by the will of the voters. The remedy is for the minority council members and their supporters to win more council seats at the next election and become the majority.

    Responding to Anonymous 9:17 AM

    The US Constitution does not provide mechanisms by which civil rights can be enforced. The Constitution left that up to the legislative bodies to determine and the Davis City Council provided that in the City’s Anti-discrimination Ordinance wherein it charged the Davis Human Relations Commission with the authority to investigate allegations of discrimination.

    There is no “government redundancy” at all. In fact, by eliminating this duty and responsibility from the commission wipes away the only mechanism by which citizens can address their concerns of discrimination, short of going to the courts. Past city councils wisely realized they were not equipped to hear and mediate charges of discrimination and delegated that authority to the Davis Human Relations Commission.

  31. progressive observer

    Responding to Anonymous 8:54 AM

    There is nothing tyrannical about having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress and all court decisions made by the US appellate courts including the Supreme Court are made by a simple majority vote.

    The California Legislative requirement of 2/3 to pass an annual budget is no longer a one person, one vote situation. This legislative requirement is tyrannical because it gives the votes of the minority members more power than those members voting in the majority and that is both unequal and unfair. The 2/3 requirement is also undemocratic as the votes of the minority are more valuable than those in the majority.

    The current Davis council majority prevails precisely because they are in the majority by the will of the voters. The remedy is for the minority council members and their supporters to win more council seats at the next election and become the majority.

    Responding to Anonymous 9:17 AM

    The US Constitution does not provide mechanisms by which civil rights can be enforced. The Constitution left that up to the legislative bodies to determine and the Davis City Council provided that in the City’s Anti-discrimination Ordinance wherein it charged the Davis Human Relations Commission with the authority to investigate allegations of discrimination.

    There is no “government redundancy” at all. In fact, by eliminating this duty and responsibility from the commission wipes away the only mechanism by which citizens can address their concerns of discrimination, short of going to the courts. Past city councils wisely realized they were not equipped to hear and mediate charges of discrimination and delegated that authority to the Davis Human Relations Commission.

  32. progressive observer

    Responding to Anonymous 8:54 AM

    There is nothing tyrannical about having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress and all court decisions made by the US appellate courts including the Supreme Court are made by a simple majority vote.

    The California Legislative requirement of 2/3 to pass an annual budget is no longer a one person, one vote situation. This legislative requirement is tyrannical because it gives the votes of the minority members more power than those members voting in the majority and that is both unequal and unfair. The 2/3 requirement is also undemocratic as the votes of the minority are more valuable than those in the majority.

    The current Davis council majority prevails precisely because they are in the majority by the will of the voters. The remedy is for the minority council members and their supporters to win more council seats at the next election and become the majority.

    Responding to Anonymous 9:17 AM

    The US Constitution does not provide mechanisms by which civil rights can be enforced. The Constitution left that up to the legislative bodies to determine and the Davis City Council provided that in the City’s Anti-discrimination Ordinance wherein it charged the Davis Human Relations Commission with the authority to investigate allegations of discrimination.

    There is no “government redundancy” at all. In fact, by eliminating this duty and responsibility from the commission wipes away the only mechanism by which citizens can address their concerns of discrimination, short of going to the courts. Past city councils wisely realized they were not equipped to hear and mediate charges of discrimination and delegated that authority to the Davis Human Relations Commission.

  33. Anonymous

    1. It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to

    2. It provides a much higher standard of enforcement

    3. It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment

    4. It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action

    If you are a supporter of civil rights–why would you weaken one of the toughest ordinances in the country? Why would you effectively strip them of their enforcement mechanisms? The only reason you could support that is if you are only giving lip-service to civil rights.

  34. Anonymous

    1. It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to

    2. It provides a much higher standard of enforcement

    3. It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment

    4. It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action

    If you are a supporter of civil rights–why would you weaken one of the toughest ordinances in the country? Why would you effectively strip them of their enforcement mechanisms? The only reason you could support that is if you are only giving lip-service to civil rights.

  35. Anonymous

    1. It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to

    2. It provides a much higher standard of enforcement

    3. It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment

    4. It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action

    If you are a supporter of civil rights–why would you weaken one of the toughest ordinances in the country? Why would you effectively strip them of their enforcement mechanisms? The only reason you could support that is if you are only giving lip-service to civil rights.

  36. Anonymous

    1. It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to

    2. It provides a much higher standard of enforcement

    3. It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment

    4. It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action

    If you are a supporter of civil rights–why would you weaken one of the toughest ordinances in the country? Why would you effectively strip them of their enforcement mechanisms? The only reason you could support that is if you are only giving lip-service to civil rights.

  37. Doug Paul Davis

    Don: In this case it means sit down with both parties and work out some sort of peaceful and non-confrontational resolution to the problem/ complaint.

  38. Doug Paul Davis

    Don: In this case it means sit down with both parties and work out some sort of peaceful and non-confrontational resolution to the problem/ complaint.

  39. Doug Paul Davis

    Don: In this case it means sit down with both parties and work out some sort of peaceful and non-confrontational resolution to the problem/ complaint.

  40. Doug Paul Davis

    Don: In this case it means sit down with both parties and work out some sort of peaceful and non-confrontational resolution to the problem/ complaint.

  41. Anonymous

    “There is nothing tyrannical about “…having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress…”

    You omit the crucial fact that the
    US Senate must also pass the legislation and that 60 votes are needed to prevent filibuster.

  42. Anonymous

    “There is nothing tyrannical about “…having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress…”

    You omit the crucial fact that the
    US Senate must also pass the legislation and that 60 votes are needed to prevent filibuster.

  43. Anonymous

    “There is nothing tyrannical about “…having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress…”

    You omit the crucial fact that the
    US Senate must also pass the legislation and that 60 votes are needed to prevent filibuster.

  44. Anonymous

    “There is nothing tyrannical about “…having legislative bodies pass legislation by a simple majority. All legislation passed in the US Congress…”

    You omit the crucial fact that the
    US Senate must also pass the legislation and that 60 votes are needed to prevent filibuster.

  45. Anonymous

    Burt said…
    I read the three ordinance sections listed and I don’t see the enforcement part. Yes the commission could mediate between parties interested in discussion, but had no authority to compel an individual to appear before them. Since there was no enforcement to begin with, we are just patting ourselves on the back.

  46. Anonymous

    Burt said…
    I read the three ordinance sections listed and I don’t see the enforcement part. Yes the commission could mediate between parties interested in discussion, but had no authority to compel an individual to appear before them. Since there was no enforcement to begin with, we are just patting ourselves on the back.

  47. Anonymous

    Burt said…
    I read the three ordinance sections listed and I don’t see the enforcement part. Yes the commission could mediate between parties interested in discussion, but had no authority to compel an individual to appear before them. Since there was no enforcement to begin with, we are just patting ourselves on the back.

  48. Anonymous

    Burt said…
    I read the three ordinance sections listed and I don’t see the enforcement part. Yes the commission could mediate between parties interested in discussion, but had no authority to compel an individual to appear before them. Since there was no enforcement to begin with, we are just patting ourselves on the back.

  49. Vincente

    The first two sections specifically empower the courts to enforce the ordinance. The third, gives the commission oversight and investigative powers. You are correct that they cannot compel parties to participate in mediation, but that is not the limit of their powers and in fact over the years this body proved very effective at resolving a number of these conflicts without legal action or court interference. I think that is the ideal here.

  50. Vincente

    The first two sections specifically empower the courts to enforce the ordinance. The third, gives the commission oversight and investigative powers. You are correct that they cannot compel parties to participate in mediation, but that is not the limit of their powers and in fact over the years this body proved very effective at resolving a number of these conflicts without legal action or court interference. I think that is the ideal here.

  51. Vincente

    The first two sections specifically empower the courts to enforce the ordinance. The third, gives the commission oversight and investigative powers. You are correct that they cannot compel parties to participate in mediation, but that is not the limit of their powers and in fact over the years this body proved very effective at resolving a number of these conflicts without legal action or court interference. I think that is the ideal here.

  52. Vincente

    The first two sections specifically empower the courts to enforce the ordinance. The third, gives the commission oversight and investigative powers. You are correct that they cannot compel parties to participate in mediation, but that is not the limit of their powers and in fact over the years this body proved very effective at resolving a number of these conflicts without legal action or court interference. I think that is the ideal here.

  53. purged HRC member

    Do the current HRC members have any concern about this? I haven’t heard anything yet about that. Perhaps it is part of the chilling effect from the purging of the previous HRC. I hope they will stand up for themselves and their mission. I hope the rest of the community will come out and stand up for the HRC’s mission and the Anti-discrimination ordinance. I’m not feeling very optimistic, however. 5,000 community members could come to the council chambers in support of a strong anti-discrimination ordinance and it wouldn’t sway the council majority – BUT, I still think those 5,000 members (and then some) should come out! It just seems that the council majority pays little attention to public comment. It is disheartening.

    -Diane

  54. purged HRC member

    Do the current HRC members have any concern about this? I haven’t heard anything yet about that. Perhaps it is part of the chilling effect from the purging of the previous HRC. I hope they will stand up for themselves and their mission. I hope the rest of the community will come out and stand up for the HRC’s mission and the Anti-discrimination ordinance. I’m not feeling very optimistic, however. 5,000 community members could come to the council chambers in support of a strong anti-discrimination ordinance and it wouldn’t sway the council majority – BUT, I still think those 5,000 members (and then some) should come out! It just seems that the council majority pays little attention to public comment. It is disheartening.

    -Diane

  55. purged HRC member

    Do the current HRC members have any concern about this? I haven’t heard anything yet about that. Perhaps it is part of the chilling effect from the purging of the previous HRC. I hope they will stand up for themselves and their mission. I hope the rest of the community will come out and stand up for the HRC’s mission and the Anti-discrimination ordinance. I’m not feeling very optimistic, however. 5,000 community members could come to the council chambers in support of a strong anti-discrimination ordinance and it wouldn’t sway the council majority – BUT, I still think those 5,000 members (and then some) should come out! It just seems that the council majority pays little attention to public comment. It is disheartening.

    -Diane

  56. purged HRC member

    Do the current HRC members have any concern about this? I haven’t heard anything yet about that. Perhaps it is part of the chilling effect from the purging of the previous HRC. I hope they will stand up for themselves and their mission. I hope the rest of the community will come out and stand up for the HRC’s mission and the Anti-discrimination ordinance. I’m not feeling very optimistic, however. 5,000 community members could come to the council chambers in support of a strong anti-discrimination ordinance and it wouldn’t sway the council majority – BUT, I still think those 5,000 members (and then some) should come out! It just seems that the council majority pays little attention to public comment. It is disheartening.

    -Diane

  57. Anonymous

    Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day, especially in their so-called “tort reform”. Obviously, the “protections” these people claim to be there, aren’t.

    In a city that is often listed as 80% Democratic party, it’s amazing to me that these council members keep getting elected. It’s time for Davisites to open their eyes to the power of the monied interests. Sousa and Asmundson are corporate sponsored opportunists and I see no differences in their voting records from the conservative Republican OC council members I left behind.

  58. Anonymous

    Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day, especially in their so-called “tort reform”. Obviously, the “protections” these people claim to be there, aren’t.

    In a city that is often listed as 80% Democratic party, it’s amazing to me that these council members keep getting elected. It’s time for Davisites to open their eyes to the power of the monied interests. Sousa and Asmundson are corporate sponsored opportunists and I see no differences in their voting records from the conservative Republican OC council members I left behind.

  59. Anonymous

    Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day, especially in their so-called “tort reform”. Obviously, the “protections” these people claim to be there, aren’t.

    In a city that is often listed as 80% Democratic party, it’s amazing to me that these council members keep getting elected. It’s time for Davisites to open their eyes to the power of the monied interests. Sousa and Asmundson are corporate sponsored opportunists and I see no differences in their voting records from the conservative Republican OC council members I left behind.

  60. Anonymous

    Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day, especially in their so-called “tort reform”. Obviously, the “protections” these people claim to be there, aren’t.

    In a city that is often listed as 80% Democratic party, it’s amazing to me that these council members keep getting elected. It’s time for Davisites to open their eyes to the power of the monied interests. Sousa and Asmundson are corporate sponsored opportunists and I see no differences in their voting records from the conservative Republican OC council members I left behind.

  61. Rich Rifkin

    “Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day…”

    Just for the sake of historical accuracy — not that accuracy or proper English have any merit on this blog — it was not Republicans, on the whole, who fought against the civil rights legislation in the 1950s. It was Democrats.

    There were a few western Republicans who joined with the southern Democrats at that time. But a majority of the Republican senators voted in favor of the landmark 1957 civil rights act. And the same occurred in 1964.

  62. Rich Rifkin

    “Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day…”

    Just for the sake of historical accuracy — not that accuracy or proper English have any merit on this blog — it was not Republicans, on the whole, who fought against the civil rights legislation in the 1950s. It was Democrats.

    There were a few western Republicans who joined with the southern Democrats at that time. But a majority of the Republican senators voted in favor of the landmark 1957 civil rights act. And the same occurred in 1964.

  63. Rich Rifkin

    “Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day…”

    Just for the sake of historical accuracy — not that accuracy or proper English have any merit on this blog — it was not Republicans, on the whole, who fought against the civil rights legislation in the 1950s. It was Democrats.

    There were a few western Republicans who joined with the southern Democrats at that time. But a majority of the Republican senators voted in favor of the landmark 1957 civil rights act. And the same occurred in 1964.

  64. Rich Rifkin

    “Souza and Asmundson are using the same arguments that Republicans have used against civil rights since the 1950s and that they continue to use to this day…”

    Just for the sake of historical accuracy — not that accuracy or proper English have any merit on this blog — it was not Republicans, on the whole, who fought against the civil rights legislation in the 1950s. It was Democrats.

    There were a few western Republicans who joined with the southern Democrats at that time. But a majority of the Republican senators voted in favor of the landmark 1957 civil rights act. And the same occurred in 1964.

  65. Anonymous

    And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.

  66. Anonymous

    And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.

  67. Anonymous

    And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.

  68. Anonymous

    And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.

  69. Anonymous

    10:36

    The four things you listed are all in the bill of rights.

    “It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to” – Discrimination is covered in the bill of rights.

    “It provides a much higher standard of enforcement”

    “It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment”
    – No city ordinance will ever provide anything higher then federal law.

    “It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action” – such as?

    Talk about lip service. You must be an attorney. The only thing redundancy does is make attorneys richer.

  70. Anonymous

    10:36

    The four things you listed are all in the bill of rights.

    “It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to” – Discrimination is covered in the bill of rights.

    “It provides a much higher standard of enforcement”

    “It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment”
    – No city ordinance will ever provide anything higher then federal law.

    “It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action” – such as?

    Talk about lip service. You must be an attorney. The only thing redundancy does is make attorneys richer.

  71. Anonymous

    10:36

    The four things you listed are all in the bill of rights.

    “It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to” – Discrimination is covered in the bill of rights.

    “It provides a much higher standard of enforcement”

    “It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment”
    – No city ordinance will ever provide anything higher then federal law.

    “It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action” – such as?

    Talk about lip service. You must be an attorney. The only thing redundancy does is make attorneys richer.

  72. Anonymous

    10:36

    The four things you listed are all in the bill of rights.

    “It specifically encompasses sexual orientation, which the federal government has refused to” – Discrimination is covered in the bill of rights.

    “It provides a much higher standard of enforcement”

    “It provided higher levels of action for the courts to have findings against violators including enjoinment”
    – No city ordinance will ever provide anything higher then federal law.

    “It specifically provided remedies that did not require litigation and court action” – such as?

    Talk about lip service. You must be an attorney. The only thing redundancy does is make attorneys richer.

  73. Doug Paul Davis

    This is very simple and there is a tremendous hole in anonymous’ reasoning.

    Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient? I think everyone reading this knows full well the answer to it, because it is insufficient.

    In fact, you had even a basic understanding of law, you would understand that the constitution always had legislation attached to it in order to activate it and authorize the law. Hence the 18th Amendment prohibited intoxicating liquors but required the Volstead Act in order to enforce it.

    So the answer is that the constitution sets guidelines but it doesn’t set up policies or prescribe government action.

    That’s the first thing about law that you need to recognize.

    Second, let’s say there was no Davis anti-discrimination ordinance. The only way a person could get redress would be to sue in federal court. What that means is that most people will be unable to afford that and thus most people will have their rights violated.

    Cities and states have set up their own laws dealing with discrimination to codify the principles laid out in the constitution and to also give people means to redress other than lawsuit.

    That’s what makes this act by the council so pernicious. It takes away any means by which to seek redress outside of the legal system. That’s the message that this sends.

    Now if you are a supporter of civil rights, you ought to be appalled by this. What appalls me is that this is essentially something the conservatives have been doing doing for years to water down the protections against civil rights abuses, and yet this is being perpetrated by people who claim to be liberal Democrats, that’s appalling. And more appalling is that people are apologizing for it.

  74. Doug Paul Davis

    This is very simple and there is a tremendous hole in anonymous’ reasoning.

    Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient? I think everyone reading this knows full well the answer to it, because it is insufficient.

    In fact, you had even a basic understanding of law, you would understand that the constitution always had legislation attached to it in order to activate it and authorize the law. Hence the 18th Amendment prohibited intoxicating liquors but required the Volstead Act in order to enforce it.

    So the answer is that the constitution sets guidelines but it doesn’t set up policies or prescribe government action.

    That’s the first thing about law that you need to recognize.

    Second, let’s say there was no Davis anti-discrimination ordinance. The only way a person could get redress would be to sue in federal court. What that means is that most people will be unable to afford that and thus most people will have their rights violated.

    Cities and states have set up their own laws dealing with discrimination to codify the principles laid out in the constitution and to also give people means to redress other than lawsuit.

    That’s what makes this act by the council so pernicious. It takes away any means by which to seek redress outside of the legal system. That’s the message that this sends.

    Now if you are a supporter of civil rights, you ought to be appalled by this. What appalls me is that this is essentially something the conservatives have been doing doing for years to water down the protections against civil rights abuses, and yet this is being perpetrated by people who claim to be liberal Democrats, that’s appalling. And more appalling is that people are apologizing for it.

  75. Doug Paul Davis

    This is very simple and there is a tremendous hole in anonymous’ reasoning.

    Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient? I think everyone reading this knows full well the answer to it, because it is insufficient.

    In fact, you had even a basic understanding of law, you would understand that the constitution always had legislation attached to it in order to activate it and authorize the law. Hence the 18th Amendment prohibited intoxicating liquors but required the Volstead Act in order to enforce it.

    So the answer is that the constitution sets guidelines but it doesn’t set up policies or prescribe government action.

    That’s the first thing about law that you need to recognize.

    Second, let’s say there was no Davis anti-discrimination ordinance. The only way a person could get redress would be to sue in federal court. What that means is that most people will be unable to afford that and thus most people will have their rights violated.

    Cities and states have set up their own laws dealing with discrimination to codify the principles laid out in the constitution and to also give people means to redress other than lawsuit.

    That’s what makes this act by the council so pernicious. It takes away any means by which to seek redress outside of the legal system. That’s the message that this sends.

    Now if you are a supporter of civil rights, you ought to be appalled by this. What appalls me is that this is essentially something the conservatives have been doing doing for years to water down the protections against civil rights abuses, and yet this is being perpetrated by people who claim to be liberal Democrats, that’s appalling. And more appalling is that people are apologizing for it.

  76. Doug Paul Davis

    This is very simple and there is a tremendous hole in anonymous’ reasoning.

    Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient? I think everyone reading this knows full well the answer to it, because it is insufficient.

    In fact, you had even a basic understanding of law, you would understand that the constitution always had legislation attached to it in order to activate it and authorize the law. Hence the 18th Amendment prohibited intoxicating liquors but required the Volstead Act in order to enforce it.

    So the answer is that the constitution sets guidelines but it doesn’t set up policies or prescribe government action.

    That’s the first thing about law that you need to recognize.

    Second, let’s say there was no Davis anti-discrimination ordinance. The only way a person could get redress would be to sue in federal court. What that means is that most people will be unable to afford that and thus most people will have their rights violated.

    Cities and states have set up their own laws dealing with discrimination to codify the principles laid out in the constitution and to also give people means to redress other than lawsuit.

    That’s what makes this act by the council so pernicious. It takes away any means by which to seek redress outside of the legal system. That’s the message that this sends.

    Now if you are a supporter of civil rights, you ought to be appalled by this. What appalls me is that this is essentially something the conservatives have been doing doing for years to water down the protections against civil rights abuses, and yet this is being perpetrated by people who claim to be liberal Democrats, that’s appalling. And more appalling is that people are apologizing for it.

  77. Rich Rifkin

    “Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient?”

    I think you really mean the 15th Amendment, David.

    It reads: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

    The 13th Amendment didn’t have anything to do with voting rights. It was the manumission amendment.

  78. Rich Rifkin

    “Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient?”

    I think you really mean the 15th Amendment, David.

    It reads: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

    The 13th Amendment didn’t have anything to do with voting rights. It was the manumission amendment.

  79. Rich Rifkin

    “Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient?”

    I think you really mean the 15th Amendment, David.

    It reads: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

    The 13th Amendment didn’t have anything to do with voting rights. It was the manumission amendment.

  80. Rich Rifkin

    “Why did the congress and federal government pass the voting rights act in 1965 if the 13th Amendment to the constitution was sufficient?”

    I think you really mean the 15th Amendment, David.

    It reads: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

    The 13th Amendment didn’t have anything to do with voting rights. It was the manumission amendment.

  81. Rich Rifkin

    “And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.”

    Among the individual senators who represented southern states in the 1950s as Democrats, only a couple of them actually switched parties. So you are wrong, if you are referring to that group. However, many years later — really it was the election of 1980 that saw the big party switch in the South — almost all southern conservatives became Republicans, long after most of the 1950s era pols were out of office.

    Of course, the single most important of the Democratic segregationists in the Senate, Strom Thurmond, did become a Republican in 1964. But almost no one followed him at that time.

  82. Rich Rifkin

    “And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.”

    Among the individual senators who represented southern states in the 1950s as Democrats, only a couple of them actually switched parties. So you are wrong, if you are referring to that group. However, many years later — really it was the election of 1980 that saw the big party switch in the South — almost all southern conservatives became Republicans, long after most of the 1950s era pols were out of office.

    Of course, the single most important of the Democratic segregationists in the Senate, Strom Thurmond, did become a Republican in 1964. But almost no one followed him at that time.

  83. Rich Rifkin

    “And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.”

    Among the individual senators who represented southern states in the 1950s as Democrats, only a couple of them actually switched parties. So you are wrong, if you are referring to that group. However, many years later — really it was the election of 1980 that saw the big party switch in the South — almost all southern conservatives became Republicans, long after most of the 1950s era pols were out of office.

    Of course, the single most important of the Democratic segregationists in the Senate, Strom Thurmond, did become a Republican in 1964. But almost no one followed him at that time.

  84. Rich Rifkin

    “And all of those Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation later became Republicans if they didn’t die first. Not that it matters for this discussion.”

    Among the individual senators who represented southern states in the 1950s as Democrats, only a couple of them actually switched parties. So you are wrong, if you are referring to that group. However, many years later — really it was the election of 1980 that saw the big party switch in the South — almost all southern conservatives became Republicans, long after most of the 1950s era pols were out of office.

    Of course, the single most important of the Democratic segregationists in the Senate, Strom Thurmond, did become a Republican in 1964. But almost no one followed him at that time.

  85. Anonymous

    2:20 I did not say there hasn’t been rampant discrimination.

    I said the protection is already in there.

    If you think for a minute that a city ordinance will do better at protecting you then federal law then by all means……..be redundant and revel in the additional law. It is at least another several hundred dollars in an attorney’s pocket.

  86. Anonymous

    2:20 I did not say there hasn’t been rampant discrimination.

    I said the protection is already in there.

    If you think for a minute that a city ordinance will do better at protecting you then federal law then by all means……..be redundant and revel in the additional law. It is at least another several hundred dollars in an attorney’s pocket.

  87. Anonymous

    2:20 I did not say there hasn’t been rampant discrimination.

    I said the protection is already in there.

    If you think for a minute that a city ordinance will do better at protecting you then federal law then by all means……..be redundant and revel in the additional law. It is at least another several hundred dollars in an attorney’s pocket.

  88. Anonymous

    2:20 I did not say there hasn’t been rampant discrimination.

    I said the protection is already in there.

    If you think for a minute that a city ordinance will do better at protecting you then federal law then by all means……..be redundant and revel in the additional law. It is at least another several hundred dollars in an attorney’s pocket.

  89. Doug Paul Davis

    The constitution as you suggest extends protection but you need to have legislative teeth in order to actually protect the populace. That’s again why you needed the voting rights act to supplement the 15th amendment.

    A city ordinance can for a small geographic area more fully supplement the federal law, than broader laws. For instance, San Francisco has much stronger protections for gays than the federal government, as a result gays have been persecute less in San Francisco than in other cities.

    Davis was actually one of the first to include sexual orientation in its specific protections. While it may be true that the equal protection clause theoretically protects gays, in practice it has not. In Davis, if you are discriminated for your sexual orientation there is no question that you can sue.

  90. Doug Paul Davis

    The constitution as you suggest extends protection but you need to have legislative teeth in order to actually protect the populace. That’s again why you needed the voting rights act to supplement the 15th amendment.

    A city ordinance can for a small geographic area more fully supplement the federal law, than broader laws. For instance, San Francisco has much stronger protections for gays than the federal government, as a result gays have been persecute less in San Francisco than in other cities.

    Davis was actually one of the first to include sexual orientation in its specific protections. While it may be true that the equal protection clause theoretically protects gays, in practice it has not. In Davis, if you are discriminated for your sexual orientation there is no question that you can sue.

  91. Doug Paul Davis

    The constitution as you suggest extends protection but you need to have legislative teeth in order to actually protect the populace. That’s again why you needed the voting rights act to supplement the 15th amendment.

    A city ordinance can for a small geographic area more fully supplement the federal law, than broader laws. For instance, San Francisco has much stronger protections for gays than the federal government, as a result gays have been persecute less in San Francisco than in other cities.

    Davis was actually one of the first to include sexual orientation in its specific protections. While it may be true that the equal protection clause theoretically protects gays, in practice it has not. In Davis, if you are discriminated for your sexual orientation there is no question that you can sue.

  92. Doug Paul Davis

    The constitution as you suggest extends protection but you need to have legislative teeth in order to actually protect the populace. That’s again why you needed the voting rights act to supplement the 15th amendment.

    A city ordinance can for a small geographic area more fully supplement the federal law, than broader laws. For instance, San Francisco has much stronger protections for gays than the federal government, as a result gays have been persecute less in San Francisco than in other cities.

    Davis was actually one of the first to include sexual orientation in its specific protections. While it may be true that the equal protection clause theoretically protects gays, in practice it has not. In Davis, if you are discriminated for your sexual orientation there is no question that you can sue.

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