Bothwell proposes civil liberties, living wage resolutions

In an e-mail announcement, Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell has proposed a sweeping civil-liberties resolution that would include clauses against racial profiling, surveillance of political advocacy groups and helping federal officials in immigration enforcement. Bothwell’s also proposing a requirement to pay all city-contracted workers a living wage.

The civil liberties resolution, a draft of which is attached to Bothwell’s announcement, commits the city against discrimination “on the basis of race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political opinion or activity, or immigration status.”

Other provisions forbid the city from racial profiling or surveillance or information gathering on groups engaged in political or religious activities.

Perhaps most controversially, the resolution would forbid city employees from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

“No department, agency, commission, officer or employee of the City of Asheville shall use City funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, or to gather, use or disseminate the immigration status information of individuals in the City of Asheville,” the resolution reads. The same clause also prohibits city personnel from participating in the programs such as the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), asserting that they “encourage members of the general public to spy on their neighbors, colleagues and customers.”

In the same announcement Bothwell also declares his support for a living-wage requirement for city contracted workers — in positions such as janitorial and lawn maintenance work — who aren’t currently covered by the same living wage rules as full-time city employees. Council had discussed such a move at its Nov. 24 meeting, but delayed the matter for a year to further study its cost implications.

Bothwell, however, is determined to proceed ahead, saying: “I am advancing a plan that would require service contractors to pay all of their employees on city jobs a living wage, beginning with the next contract bids,” he writes. “Studies have shown that Living Wage requirements adopted by other governments have had a very small effect on costs (1 percent), and it seems unreasonable to me for our tax money to bid down the value of labor in Asheville. That hurts everyone.”

A living wage in Asheville is estimated at $9.85 with benefits or $11.35 without.

Bothwell isn’t the only Council member moving forward with proposing new rules and ordinances. At council’s next meeting, Gordon Smith will make a presentation on extending benefits to same-sex domestic partners of city employees. Smith says he’ll push for Council to support the move “in concept” and ask staff to draft the exact language of an ordinance for later adoption.

In his newsletter, Bothwell comments on Smith’s initiative, saying he’s concerned about the legal challenges it could face and will seek advice from the School of Government at the University of North Carolina.

The full text of Bothwell’s civil liberties resolution is below.

—David Forbes

CITY OF ASHEVILLE CIVIL LIBERTIES RESOLUTION
WHEREAS:  The City of Asheville affirms its strong support for the fundamental constitutional rights of every person and recognizes that the preservation of civil liberties is essential to the well-being of a democratic society; and the City of Asheville is proud of its long and distinguished tradition of protecting the civil liberties and affording equal protection of the law to all persons in the City, who include a diverse population of many races, religions, and national and ethnic origins, including immigrants, tourists and students, whose contributions to the community’s economy, culture and civic character are vast and important;

WHEREAS:  The City of Asheville opposes measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political opinion or activity, or immigration status.

WHEREAS:  The City of Asheville opposes any efforts to transfer federal immigration responsibility to state and local officials, since these proposals tax our already overburdened police department and damage relationships with immigrant communities; criminalizing U.S. citizens, those who work with and for immigrants and immigrants themselves, is not a viable long-term solution to concerns over immigration and will continue separating families while preventing civic participation by all persons;

WHEREAS:  The City of Asheville believes that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty but that Americans can be both safe and free;

WHEREAS:  The City of Asheville wishes to play a leading role in the protection of civil liberties and to consistently promote tolerance and respect for all persons, immigrants, visitors, students, and citizens alike, and recognizes that a number of other jurisdictions in North Carolina and in the United States have enacted policies or laws to protect the civil liberties of all persons regardless of race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political opinion or activity, or immigration status.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE that:

Section 1.  The City of Asheville upholds the constitutional rights and civil liberties of any and all persons and it is the policy of the City of Asheville to protect against discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political opinion or activity, or immigration status.

Section 2.  City of Asheville officers and employees shall refrain from racial profiling, or using race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political opinion or activity, or immigration status as a factor in selecting individuals, check points or areas of town to subject to investigatory activities;

Section 3.  City of Asheville officers and employees shall refrain from engaging in the videotaping or other surveillance of individuals or groups based on their participation in protected activities such as the practice of religion or political advocacy;

Section 4.  City of Asheville officers and employees shall refrain from collecting or maintaining information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless said information is directly related to an investigation of criminal conduct that is based on reasonable suspicion.

Section 5.  City of Asheville officers and employees shall refrain from participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws or initiatives such as the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), that encourage members of the general public to spy on their neighbors, colleagues and customers, or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), that drive a wedge between the immigrant community and the local police who need to protect the welfare of all our residents; no department, agency, commission, officer or employee of the City of Asheville shall use City funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, or to gather, use or disseminate the immigration status information of individuals in the City of Asheville.

BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the provisions of this Resolution shall be severable, and if any provision of this Resolution is declared unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, the validity of the remainder shall not be affected.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution shall be forwarded to all City of Asheville law enforcement agencies and to every department, agency, commission, officer and employee of the City of Asheville and to our local, state and federal legislative delegations on behalf of the residents of the City of Asheville.

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33 thoughts on “Bothwell proposes civil liberties, living wage resolutions

  1. J

    Remember when Cecil and Gordon used to be transparency advocates: http://tinyurl.com/yk54tlp. I’m starting to worry that was just a campaign ploy.

    I don’t really understand what the ban on racial profiling and the affirming of civil rights. It seems as if they’re doing what’s already been done.

    And we’re not going buck the feds on national laws pertaining to immigration enforcement or terrorists. I bet when people said the South would rise again, they didn’t realize the progressives would be leading the charge.

  2. shadmarsh

    any way you can extend this to county and federal employees who live and work in Asheville?

  3. J – what, exactly, is not transparent about my advancing ideas that I ran on? I said I supported these ideas, now my monthly newsletter lets people know that I’m working on moving those ideas forward.

    Hmm. Seem pretty transparent to me.

  4. Oh, also, J.
    My proposal on non-participation in local enforcement of federal immigration law is intended to improve local law enforcement, make Asheville safer and not spend local tax money on an unfunded mandate from the feds.

    125+ cities in the U.S. have done the same, including 6 in NC.

  5. oneyetiger

    After reading this article one might think we’re living behind the iron curtain or in some 3rd world one party state. There are rights we all have and there are special rights reserved for the selcted few to be chosen by Mr. Bothwell. How Orwellian government entities are becoming. What’s next the Thought Police and Double Speak?

  6. Jane Kennedy

    Cecil,

    I just recall some time ago that you and Gordon were both pushing new sunshine laws. You even went down to County Commission to propose the new policy. I just wonder why you and Gordon seemed to have let that fall by the wayside.

    Is it no longer important? Did you discover the policy you and Gordon wrote was a bad idea? Gordon was encouraging people to write City Council in support of the idea, and now…nothing. At least as far as I can tell from where I stand. Hopefully I’ve just missed a critical update.

    Hey, the City is in a budget short fall. We have to save money somewhere. Leaving federal policies to the feds may be a good place to start. It’s just funny that it’s not the red necks bucking the feds this century.

    Thanks for your service, Cecil.

  7. Mister Blister

    Wow, some people just can’t get over the Civil War. Get a grip. You were on the losing side. The South will rise again when you rednecks realize that y’all had a deal with the devil with matters pertaining to slavery, (no matter how much you want to try to quote the Bible).

  8. “Wow, some people just can’t get over the Civil War. Get a grip. You were on the losing side. The South will rise again when you rednecks realize that y’all had a deal with the devil with matters pertaining to slavery, (no matter how much you want to try to quote the Bible).”

    Congrats, stupidest posting of the week!

  9. annica2

    “The same clause also prohibits city personnel from participating in the programs such as the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), asserting that they “encourage members of the general public to spy on their neighbors, colleagues and customers.”

    things like this are absolutely necessary.

  10. hkusp, I don’t see anything in that NYT article that suggests the San Francisco system wasn’t working.

    Deportation of convicted criminals is an entirely different issue from the matter of targeting people based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.

    And Oneye, if you aren’t included in the protected categories listed in the proposed ordinance, you do not exist. What “selected few” are you talking about?

    As for the question of selective enforcement, it is alive and well in this country, and being pulled over for “driving while black” or “driving while Latino” is well documented. I would guess you are white, and like a goldfish which doesn’t understand the concept of water, you are well shielded from understanding white privilege.

  11. Angry Voter

    WHY would Bothwell seek to allow ILLEGAL Aliens sanctuary? NO SIR, Mr. Bothwell NO SIR.

  12. Angry Voter

    Living wages? why not make them sweeter? $20-$40 per hour sounds good…MORE? OK.

  13. bobdurivage

    Living wage has a good return on investment. In economies that institute it, there is growth.

  14. travelah

    I doubt there is any sustainable evidence that “living wage” local economies do anything at all to improve the lot in life for those on the margins. I certainly do not have all the research on this matter but from what I have looked at, I do not see any correlation with the claims of it’s advocates.
    Instead of improving the circumstances of the target groups, I believe it keeps them “down on the farm”, just barely able to get by yet having the progressive shill singing in their ears “look at what we did for you … look at what we did”.

    Education and career opportunities are the keys rather than artificially propped up minimum wages.

  15. Bert

    “Education and career opportunities are the keys rather than artificially propped up minimum wages.”

    How do you get that education if you don’t have a living wage? Especially if you have kids and you’re working crazy hours. I’m sympathetic to the idea government can’t solve all problems, but I think anyone who is willing to work should be guaranteed a living wage. That’s not evil big government, that’s a function of a decent society.

  16. Jane, I think Gordon and I are both pretty committed to Government in the Sunshine. It turns out that the City is already pretty much adhering to the proposal that Gordon and I presented to both City and County governments a year or so ago.

    We newbies had a meeting with Staff and the Mayor before we were sworn in and, in addition to lots of housekeeping details, we were advised concerning the quorum rule. The state law says we cannot meet in private with a quorum of Council present (i.e. four). However it is the advice of the City Attorney that we avoid meeting privately in groups of three.

    The recommendation Gordon and I proposed suggested that we follow Florida’s Sunshine rule which makes ANY meeting between TWO (or more) governing officials a public meeting which must be announced in advance. I have heard in the interim that such a rule is often unwieldy and the question arises, “Can Council members phone or e-mail each other about upcoming issues? Or, is every e-mail necessarily a press release?”

    All of that has made me rethink my earlier endorsement of the Florida model. This is not to suggest that I think that policy discussions should be secret, but it does seem that we need to be able to discuss possible ideas on a casual basis.

    Speaking for Gordon and I, as long-time bloggers, I think we both put our ideas out in front of the public pretty well. Yes, we exchange some e-mails about the issues we support (and those e-mails are public record now that we are in office), but the substantive discussions will take place in Council or Committee meetings. If there was no give and take between Council members ahead of time, I suspect that Council meetings would be twice as long with no different results.

    One very positive change since the election is that we have reinstituted work sessions, where we will be able to more casually discuss ideas. This will not only further City work, but will eliminate some of the need for other contact about matters facing Council.

    I know this may look like I have drunk the Kool Aid, but I remain fully committed to transparency.

  17. Angry: “WHY would Bothwell seek to allow ILLEGAL Aliens sanctuary? NO SIR, Mr. Bothwell NO SIR. ”

    Very substantive argument there.

  18. Piffy!

    [b]Instead of improving the circumstances of the target groups, I believe it keeps them “down on the farm”, just barely able to get by yet having the progressive shill singing in their ears “look at what we did for you … look at what we did”.[/b]

    Umm, yeah. paying people more money is totally oppressive, and will most certainly keep people ‘down on the farm’.

    [b]I certainly do not have all the research on this matter[/b]

    No foolin?

  19. travelah

    How do you get that education if you don’t have a living wage? Especially if you have kids and you’re working crazy hours. I’m sympathetic to the idea government can’t solve all problems, but I think anyone who is willing to work should be guaranteed a living wage. That’s not evil big government, that’s a function of a decent society.

    My wife and I worked for squat wages and borrowed what we could not cover to complete our education. We did that while still raising four of our five children (the 5th came after).
    Somebody who is willing to work should be paid what the prevailing wage is for the job they have and that is best determined by economic supply and demand curves. If they need more, do a couple of things. Take a second job or look for a better one. In addition, cut your expenses.

    Mow, my point is not that people should not earn more. It is that government n any scale is not the solution to improving standards of living for anybody.

  20. travelah

    Umm, yeah. paying people more money is totally oppressive, and will most certainly keep people ‘down on the farm’.

    That is a rather ignorant statement and avoids the point being made. Not much more needs to be stated.

  21. Bert

    “Mow, my point is not that people should not earn more. It is that government n any scale is not the solution to improving standards of living for anybody.”

    It isn’t the solution, but it can be the impetus in stirring the private sector into being more effective. Perhaps the city could offer tax breaks to Asheville businesses that provide a living wage to employees. Of course, the city needs every penny right now so that’s not going to happen.

    When FDR did the things he did, it ended up making capitalism stronger.

  22. entopticon

    Mow, my point is not that people should not earn more. It is that government n any scale is not the solution to improving standards of living for anybody.

    Perhaps one day traveliar will put his money where his mouth is and relocate to Somalia, where there is no government trying to “improve the standards of living for anybody.” Until then, our resident right wing extremist is not to be taken seriously.

    It is mind-boggling that someone who has the audacity to call themselves a Christian would be against a living wage. Ironically, the living wage meme is rooted in a Christian tradition, popularized by Pope Leo XIII in the late 1800’s, in response to the extremes of both laissez-faire economics and communism.

    traveliar constantly obsesses over the living wage as some kind of compulsory pizza and beer fund for lazy workers, but in reality it is about the importance of employers paying a minimally adequate amount for their workers to have their basic, humane needs met. It is indeed the only Christian thing to do.

    Right wing extremists like traveliar just can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that they worship a money-loathing (he turned over the money changers tables for good reason) bleeding heart liberal that forewent possessions, who commanded in absolute terms that you give to EVERYONE who begs from you. Apparently traveliar can’t distinguish Jesus Christ from Donald Trump.

  23. travelah

    This Christian pays his employees far above what the average Rahmtard in Asheville earns.

  24. entopticon

    A Christian wouldn’t be against paying people a living wage.

    Sarah Palin hates you and your constant “‘tard” jokes traveliar.

  25. travelah

    A Christian wouldn’t be against paying people a living wage.

    … er … well, yeah .. This Christian pays his employees far above what the average Rahmtard in Asheville earns.

  26. Piffy!

    i demand mr mallet’s immediate resignation based on his horrible usage of the term ‘tarded. it’s an outrage.

  27. entopticon

    Ironically, the term “Rahmtard” is outright imbecilic. We already established long ago that there is nothing Christian about somebody who spends all day railing against the core teachings of Christ; namely you Mr Mallett. If you honestly think that it is Christian to lobby against fair wages, you are even more astonishingly clueless than I had imagined, and frankly, that is no small task.

    Sarah Palin hates you and your ‘tard jokes.

  28. travelah

    If you honestly think that it is Christian to lobby against fair wages, you are even more astonishingly clueless than I had imagined, and frankly, that is no small task.

    … wha …er … well, yeah .. This Christian pays his employees far above what the average Rahmtard in Asheville earns.

  29. entopticon

    Yeah, you said that already traveliar. The thing is, that doesn’t change the fact that you constantly lobby against the living wage, which is about as unChristian as could be.

    It is sadly pathetic that you are so thoroughly convinced that you are a Christian, but in reality nothing could be farther from the truth. Any way you slice it, Christ was the most famous bleeding heart liberal of all time, and to be a Christian means to aspire to be Christlike, not to rail against his core teachings on a daily basis as you do.

    You worship at the alter of bigotry and greed. You may be a lot of things, but you are certainly no Christian. Calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make you one any more than calling yourself a duck would make you one.

    You think Christ would call people “Rhamtards” (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean)? You think Christ would be okay with that? Your understanding of Christianity is a joke; you are just too busy always patting yourself on the back about what a good Christian you think you are to notice that fact.

    I assume you keep singling out Rham Emanuel in this context, even though I have never heard of a single Democrat who thinks of him as some kind of leader, because Rham is Jewish, and that somehow offends you? Or is your sense of humor just so obtuse that you can’t come up with a joke that is even relevant, let alone funny?

  30. travelah

    humm … it’s prolly pretty ‘tarded not to grasp the gooberness of such comments when this Christian pays his employees far above what the average Rahmtard in Asheville earns.

    Shad … I know you learned that the hard way but hopefully you have not made THAT mistake again.

  31. entopticon

    Since there is no such thing as a “Rhamtard,” I do indeed believe you that you pay your employees (probably your own children) more than fictitious characters born out of the imagination of a right-wing extremist that spends all day railing against the core teachings of Christ, ironically calling himself a Christian the whole time. YOu may be a lot of things: a windbag, delusional, unconscionably bigoted, ignorant, and even a bit demented at times, but one thing you certainly are not is a Christian. No amount of church going, and feigned piousness can change that. Again, you seem to have confused Jesus Christ with Donald Trump.

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