A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

‘Human relations:’ Council likes new draft

Written April 12th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Albany City Hall in a shot from Jan. 11, 2021.

The Albany City Council has settled on a new job description for its Human Relations Commission. But while the language is high on principles, it is short on details.

The advisory commission blew up in disagreement in 2020 but has been reconstituted this year with newly appointed members.

A committee of three councilors and three commission members, picked by Mayor Alex Johnson II, drafted an amendment to the city ordinance that created the panel.

Councilors Bessie Johnson and Matilda Novak (not members of the drafting committee) were skeptical, but the other four council members agreed with the mayor at Monday’s work session to have the new language come up for action Wednesday night.

The draft says this is the purpose of the commission: “To foster a city that is stable, safe, and just.” Also, “to strengthen and celebrate every resident of Albany by being committed to the philosophy of acceptance, inclusion, equal opportunity, accessibility, dignity, and fair treatment for all.”

You’d think inclusion of “all” would cover everybody. But the draft says it means “inclusion of individuals with different backgrounds including but not limited to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, mental status, age, ability, socioeconomic background.”

Councilor Stacy Bartholomew, one of the drafters, said “gender expression” should not have been left out.

And what is the commission supposed to do? “Recommend and promote activities, programs, expenditures, and other appropriate governmental activities that will serve to maintain respectful interactions within Albany.”

Further, the panel “will work to ensure that marginalized and underrepresented people and communities in Albany have equal access to city programs and services, and representation in city decision making.”

And finally, the commission “will address concerns and complaints about discrimination through education and available community resources.”

Councilwoman Johnson had doubts about all that, especially about what it would end up costing in money and staff time. She called it a “social vehicle” and said, “I don’t believe the city is the right garage.”

She also said that if she had the votes, she would table the whole thing. But she doesn’t, and so at least four council members are going to pass this language into law. (hh)

4 responses to “‘Human relations:’ Council likes new draft”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    virtual signaling – in this case….political propaganda, city government trying to improve its public image by proclaiming its moral goodness.

    How do we know the city is virtue signaling? This job description and the actions of the city council will have little to no meaningful impact on the state of things.

    Hasso, a year from now be sure and write a follow-up on all of the real, measurable accomplishments of this commission. It will probably be a very short article.

  2. Shelley says:

    Sounds like some privilege so called woke individuals, who have nothing more to do than try to get mixed up in social projects and programs. Pouring money into incompetent solutions that will waste our tax money! Time for them to move back to Portland!

  3. Karen Kizer says:

    Bessie needs to seriously retire. It is 2021 not 1961.

  4. James Engel says:

    Silly me, I thought there were 10 Commandments, not suggestions, for us to heed in our dealings with one another. If you can’t abide by those then any number of committees & resolutions will not get it done.


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