As expected, my letter to the editor generated some responses, so I will address some of those criticisms here.
Here is something that needs to be addressed right away: This is most certainly not an issue that has been debated for 40 years. At most, this issue has been debated for 17 years, since the city council started funding Planned Parenthood through the social services fund in 1999. The issue did not become heavily contested in the public arena until 2002, so in reality it has been debated for 14 years. Describing this as a decades old issue is simply dishonest.
As far as the comment time, if the city is going to cast a vote to spend tax money in a way many citizens disagree with, the city council has an obligation to listen to the people speak against the handout. If they are unwilling to listen to their constituents – if they are actively silencing a number of people – they are not qualified to serve as elected legislators. Period. If they do not want to listen to people speaking against funding Planned Parenthood, they should not be funding Planned Parenthood.
My call for Councilor Granger to recuse herself was met with an absolutely absurd response, suggesting that by that standard someone who volunteers for a school should not be allowed to vote in a school board election. This is utter nonsense. The obvious flaw in the comparison is that Granger is voting as an elected legislator on sending tax money to an organization she actively volunteers for. This is not an issue of disenfranchising voters. This is an issue of a conflict of interest. Granger is not legally required to recuse herself but it would nonetheless be ethical for her to do so – especially since the subsidy will pass unanimously anyway!
At least those two issues are relevant to the topic. I was described as an “Old Testament literalist” I was called a hypocrite for (among other things) eating pork and shellfish. The hypocrisy of this accusation is glaring. In order to accuse me of picking and choosing, my critics have to pick and choose which parts of the Bible apply – explicitly ignoring the nullification of Old Testament dietary laws by Jesus Christ Himself in Acts 10:9-16, as well as the Apostle Paul describing such restrictions as a doctrine of demons in his letter to Timothy.
My letter stands. There’s simply no way to defend Granger’s decision to vote to give tax money to an organization where she works as a clinic escort, and there is no justification for limiting debate time. Yes, there was other legislative business (specifically a hike in water rates) but that can easily be scheduled for a different meeting. The city council knows that a bunch of people will show up to remonstrate against the subsidy to Planned Parenthood, and it is their job to listen to the people who pay their salary and pay for their health care benefits on legislation they are considering.
It is really simple: Either do your job or resign from the council so someone else who is willing to do the work of being a city councilor can serve in your place.