City Councilors Wright, Hartnett and Knodell proposed a resolution that would alter the language of a March ballot item in support of which citizens gathered more than 1,780 validated signatures on their petition. I spoke in opposition to this suppression of the public voice at the City Council meeting last night. Councilors voted to preserve the original petition language 10-2.

Councilors Knodell, Wright, and Hartnett:

1,700 people who did not all vote for you did vote for exact F-35 ballot language.

They did not petition for you to change their words and tell them what they meant to say.

They did not ask you to imbue their words with emotional color they did not intend, or for for you to remove the language that they supported with their signature.

You’ve been given responsibility for the reputation of our government. In that role, you are proposing to co-opt and subvert a pure, city-chartered democratic process guaranteed by our state constitution — corrupting it with equivocal language that has no rightful place here.

Your choice to do this diminishes and disrespects the massive effort of the petitioners who earned a place on the ballot for their voice.

Your choice to touch this petition language that you didn’t author, petition for, or get validated, is an act of privilege that is destructive to our faith in your work. It demonstrates the need for critical thought across our community about the extent to which the city council values and respects the work and vision of the people.

It is possible to be a good person and make a bad choice. This is a bad choice. Please do the right thing and step away from this, leaving it to the mayor to do his legal duty and approve it as it was originally presented.

Thank you Renee Wunderlich and NBC 5 for your news coverage.

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