Decision delayed on Patriot Act
Nevada City residents who question the constitutionality of the USA Patriot Act stood before a packed audience at the City Council chambers Monday night and asked the council to formally denounce the act with a resolution.
If adopted, the resolution would make Nevada City one of more than 300 communities throughout the nation that have passed a similar statement.
After hearing the public speak on both sides of the issue for more than an hour, the council decided not to make a decision because two of the members had not received the resolution and, therefore, could not read it. The resolution is scheduled to come before the council again Aug. 9.
The proposed resolution declares the anti-terrorist Patriot Act to be unconstitutional because it infringes upon important rights of citizens and “in a number of places directly conflicts with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” said Beth Moore Haines, a member of the Coalition of Concerned Patriots who presented the resolution to the City Council.
Some members of the audience who voiced concern against the proposed resolution said they believed that it was not the jurisdiction of local governments to give opinions on national matters such as the Patriot Act, an opinion that was expressed in Monday’s The Union by Grass Valley Mayor Patti Ingram. Nevada City Mayor Conley Weaver agreed with that view.
“I will continue my feeling I had a year ago,” Weaver said. “I clearly agree with Mayor Ingram.”
Moore Haines disagreed, telling the City Council that “as an elected body, you should uphold your sworn oath to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”
Moore Haines said that city councils are the most accessible bodies of government for residents, making the Patriot Act both a local and national issue.
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