Prove to us you care about equality and act

The Daily Tar Heel reports that Town of Chapel Hill staff recommended to council that it "take no action on two immigration-related petitions presented to the council in February."

The State Supreme Court has ruled that public expenditures must benefit the public, not particular persons, Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos advised the council in a memo.

Karpinos also wrote that Fallahi still is able to file a claim of alleged wrongful action, which the town's insurance program would handle.

Providing "expenditures" to Sima Fallahi WILL benefit the public. The main benefit to us all is to provide meaning to words. I want to continue to believe that our Mayor and Council will do more than speak about the importance of equality in our community. They need to direct their staff not only speak of equality but to act upon it. If the police don't remember their charge Mayor and Council must repair their mistakes. Not behind the scenes. Right up front in full view.

Having the pleasure of speaking to many council members and listening carefully to their heartfelt words I know they believe in justice. I know for a fact that Mark Kleinschmidt and Sally Greene do much more than talk the talk. So I wonder what the rest of council is willing to do? Can Mayor and Council find consensus to apologize to Sima Fallahi publicly and pay legal bills incurred by the actions of the police?

The Town of Chapel Hill should do much more than Karpinos recommends. What we need for the Mayor and Council to do is consider the advice received from staff and then act upon the FULL advice of both petitions brought before you. Put real teeth in your resolution to prevent the needless arrest of our neighbors.

What lies in the balance of this decision is monumental. Without a decisive action by council geared towards real social justice the proud claim of Chapel Hill being a tolerant and liberal place will mean so much less.



The easy way out of this is for the Council not to act. Their attorney apparently says they shouldn't. So will they? She can, after all, sue for redress, so that is the proper way. But, wait, Sima is struggling to find the funds to pay for her immigration appeal incurred as a result of the arrest by Chapel Hill in violation of its own policy. Where will she find the funds (and time and effort) to petition Chapel Hill? Who knows; that is not the town's problem. Perhaps the town could at least find the funds to pay for the day care that her daughter Leila needed while she waited alone after school for five hours for her mother to come home the day she was arrested? Such a dangerous person she had to be whisked off to jail without even telling her friend waiting outside where she was? Chapel Hill is a humane, creative and progressive town. The question should not be "if" but "how" this expenditure is made in the public interest. I know you can do it and help this gentle, worthy, misused neighbor.

My favorite saying on government is the one on the impartiality of law and how it is equally illegal for the rich and the poor to sleep under the bridges of Paris. Or, paraphrasing, it is equally possible for the comfortable as for those facing deportation to defend their rights. Sure it is....

I just don't get what is accomplished through spending taxpayer dollars on this. Private donations are the way to go. If you want to donate, you can donate; if you don't want to, you don't have to. Enough taxpayer money was already completely wasted holding her in Charlotte for months. Officials don't mind spending money when it's other people's, and that attitude needs to stop.

Also, I believe I read on this very site that her brother and sister-in-law were surprised that people even wanted to make private donations, because they were perfectly willing to pay for the whole thing themselves.


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