Laughing at racism signals time for new Gladstone City Council
Outgoing Gladstone City Councilor Neal Reisner is making a farce of city governance, as a final act of defiance, by proposing Resolution 1188 one month after laughing at and doubting his constituents' concerns. You can watch the discussion at youtube.com/watch?v=bte5RmBxPhs.
At the Gladstone City Council meeting in November, the quitting Reisner tried to stop the passing of Resolution 1184: Condemning Violence and Racism Directed at Black African Americans and All People of Color and Affirming the City of Gladstone's Commitment to Equity. He laughed openly at Council President Matt Tracy's comment that racism toward their constituents was wrong.
"I am not sure if it's wrong, but OK," chortled the withdrawing City Councilor Reisner.
Now, as a last ditch effort to maintain a social system that over 50 constituents publicly commented in favor of and Resolution 1188 addresses, he has secretly placed a similar resolution on the City Council's agenda for the Tuesday meeting, Dec. 8. The resolution, complete with many spelling and grammatical mistakes, suspiciously mirrors the last resolution's title, wording and intent — but goes out of its way to include ALL residents of Gladstone as a not-so-secret nod to the fact that lame duck Councilor Reisner felt taking a public stand against racism wasn't needed for Gladstone.
If his last contribution to the City Council was innocent, why keep it secret, why does it have to mention the resolution is for all regardless of their race, and why does it mirror the other resolution? Why did Neal fight so hard for Resolution 1184 against Racism and Violence, if he had intended to write this one?
Why did it require many constituents, a listening session, and months of hard work to get Resolution 1184 in support of Black, African Americans and people of color, when Neal's resolution skated through so easily? And what does Neal's resolution actually do — for whom — it's far too vague to do anything meaningful.
In light of the mayor's sister's abhorrent posts on social media during the last election, yes, an anti-bullying proclamation could help Gladstone's residents. After the waste of Gladstone dollars discussing only Councilor-elect Annessa Hartman's use of the Pow-Wow Tree, yes, a resolution addressing mistreatment is probably needed. Let's put more thought into the important task of protecting our neighbors, instead of making a proclamation as a thinly veiled attack.
Perhaps the people of Gladstone may have voted for the surrendering city councilor had he cared enough to run, but we will never know because he is quitting. It is irresponsible for the City Council to entertain and especially to pass a resolution from an outgoing councilor, as his last hurrah; a final grenade and middle finger to the city of Gladstone on his way out. Time for a new council to lead our city.
Gerry Blakney is a resident of Jennings Lodge.
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