Climate proclamation about people, not partisanship


(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on various topics of local concern or impact are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)

July 29, 2020 — The passage of a proclamation addressing Climate Change was never about me, despite Mayor Joe Henry’s assertion that it was during the July 20 Florence City Council meeting. It was a group effort representing hundreds of Florence citizens, including those who drafted the proclamation, along with the climate activists who signed petitions in favor of it.

In the past, the Mayor has been given several opportunities to present and proclaim it but, instead, chose to attempt to unilaterally edit the proclamation at the last council meeting. 

Nowhere in the City Charter or Council rules is the Mayor authorized to do that. Why would we accept the edits of someone who is a clearly a climate change denier?

So, our group changed the wording and asked the City Council — not the Mayor — to recognize the proclamation instead.

Florence has a committee, the Environmental Management Advisory Committee (EMAC), which would certainly be able to work on the issues raised in the Proclamation if not for the mayor telling them they could not because it was deemed too political. 

On the major issues we are facing today including COVID-19, our economic situation here in Florence (high unemployment, business closures, city staffing at a high both in numbers and cost), along with broader issues dealing with racial inequality and injustice, as well as climate change, the mayor has chosen to remain silent.

That is not leadership, it is ducking the issues that must be addressed if we are truly a “Premier Coastal Community.”

In the first four years of my six years as the Vice President of the City Council, we accomplished a great deal. We then experienced a significant change in the attitude of the Council as the balance of power shifted to the Mayor once the latest council members were seated and almost unfailingly acquiesced to his way of thinking and voting.

As a result, our city has sadly become like many others: Very divided.

Our city is better than that.

Florence residents deserve leadership that cares about the well-being of all its people.

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