To the Editor-
As one of the City Council members who proposed the resolution that condemns recent incidents targeting minorities — and who also supports converting Stanley Street — I would like to offer a few reactions to your editorial.
First I should note that the Council responded to one of the main concerns in the editorial by changing the language of the resolution. We could see that the word “hostile” was indeed vague and overly broad, so we switched to the more specific terms “hate, bigotry, and intimidation.” Thank you for highlighting that problem.
On the other hand, I think casting the passage of a resolution as “one step shy of an ordinance” is a stretch. Those of us who proposed this step have consistently highlighted the difference between the two things, the declaratory nature of a resolution, and its lack of practical effect for law enforcement.
So then why would we even do this? Most of the time the Council does ‘stick to our knitting’ and stay focused on our main responsibilities — city budget, municipal finance, land use, etc. In this case, though, we were spurred by recent incidents to make a statement and give a reminder about basic respect, as the mayor put it.
And then a final point on subjectivity and the issue of whether Stanley Street is “broken.” Here’s my question: why is it more subjective to see a need to change Stanley than, on the other hand, viewing it as not broken? For those of us who support the four-to-three-lane conversion, the basic issue is that we have a highway running through our neighborhood.
Instead we want a normal city street to make it more comfortable to walk to the neighborhood shops and restaurants. Is it really fair to say that preferring the status quo is somehow objective, whereas it’s subjective to want a lane-conversion change that’s proven successful countless times in similar situations?
As your own coverage has reflected, this is an issue with two sides, and I don’t see how one side is more subjective than the other.
Returning to the editorial’s main theme, to exchange views in this way is indeed the essence of freedom of speech. I supported the resolution because I see a clear difference between open debate versus recent incidents aimed at intimidating our fellow citizens and foreign guests and consigning them to lesser status.