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Houston voices doubts about anti-Confederate resolution

Thursday, August 9, 2018 by Jack Craver

It appears that the only member of City Council who has a problem with a resolution aimed at preventing the participation of Confederate groups in this year’s Veterans Day parade is Council Member Ora Houston, the only African-American on the dais. At Tuesday’s work session, Houston raised concerns about a resolution declaring that “city resources, including fee waivers, be used only for Veterans Day events and parades that only honor those who have served in the United States of America’s Armed Forces.” The resolution is ostensibly aimed at preventing the participation of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who last year were told they could take part in the march but not fly the Confederate flag. Houston said that the resolution was pre-emptively excluding potential applicants from the typical process for fee waivers. “What’s the purpose of memorializing the statement of exclusion?” she asked. Mayor Steve Adler, one of the resolution’s co-sponsors, said that the measure was intended as direction to staff that Council wants the parade’s “focus to be on veterans of the United States of America armed forces,” but that it would not prevent any group from applying for a fee waiver. Houston wondered aloud if that meant that “allied forces” – she suggested the United Kingdom – would also be excluded. Adler replied that that was correct and reiterated his desire for the focus to be on U.S. troops. Houston replied: “I think it’s exclusionary. I think you’re trying to say something without actually saying it because I think it would probably be against free speech to be able to say that.”

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