Inappropriate actions At the Jan. 7 Littleton City Council meeting, my council representative, Carol Fey, failed to follow council procedures. Fey verbally attacked one of her constituents from the …
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No place for exclusion
We were saddened and dismayed upon reading in the Jan. 16 Littleton Independent that three city council members, Pat Driscoll, Carol Fey, and Jerry Valdes, voted against the resolution to continue to allow refugees to resettle in Littleton. Their reasons — that refugees could overwhelm housing, schools and services — display ignorance and falsehoods. Even worse, a few citizens argued, according to the Independent, that refugees turn to welfare, lower school test scores, increase crime, cause social disintegration, and adversely affect our cultural fabric. These claims smack of bigotry.
Only 408 refugees settled in all of Arapahoe County during the past two years, hardly an overwhelming number. In addition, resettlement agencies help find housing and employment, alleviating societal burdens. Our own Littleton Immigrant Resources Center and Immigration Pathways Colorado further support integration of refugees into the community. The attack by Fey on Immigration Pathways chair Susan Thornton, incorrectly accusing her of pushing the resolution onto council’s agenda, was inexcusable.
The 1980 Refugee Act has succeeded during both Democratic and Republican administrations. Refugees typically flee certain death due to war, famine, violent crime or persecution. They undergo rigorous screening while living outside the U.S. before admittance.
Ancestors of council members and citizens who argued against the resolution likely came here for similar reasons that refugees seek entry today. I wonder whether these ancestors would be aghast and ashamed by statements and votes of their descendants. Exclusion, inhumanity and hate should have no place in Littleton.
Jeff May & Karen Crossen
At the Jan. 7 Littleton City Council meeting, my council representative, Carol Fey, failed to follow council procedures. Fey verbally attacked one of her constituents from the dias, by name, without giving her a chance to respond. I hope the rest of her constituents will not be silent and will not be silenced by their representative using her “bully pulpit” to intimidate citizens she disagrees with.
The issue Fey spoke against was regarding the city passing a resolution to consent to the resettlement of refugees in Littleton, just as we have historically done. Littleton has a long and proud history of welcoming immigrants because we recognize the huge contributions they make to our community. For example, one of the founding members of the Littleton Business Chamber is a highly successful immigrant.
I hope Councilperson Fey will refrain from attacking her constituents in the future.
I would like to thank the Littleton City Council for approving the refugee resettlement resolution at the Jan. 7 regular meeting. Council members Elrod, Melin and Milliman all articulated excellent reasons why this action was important for our community. Inclusivity is one of our city’s core values outlined in our comprehensive plan.
I was surprised to see the resolution narrowly pass 4-3 when every other Colorado community passed similar resolutions unanimously. I was also disappointed by some of the offensive and misguided comments made by some citizens, and especially, council member Fey. Her suggestion that council should not take a stance on "national political hot potato" was illogical. Had this resolution failed, Littleton would be in the national news just as Texas is for Gov. Abbott taking the drastic stance of opting out of the refugee resettlement program. Additionally, council member Fey's inappropriate personal attack on former Mayor Susan Thornton was unnecessary and unprofessional.
Our community deserves to have elected officials who behave in a manner befitting their positions and who are prepared at council meetings by thoroughly understanding the issues beforehand. Some of the behaviors I’ve observed over the past few months are disconcerting. I hope this new council can come together and behave professionally in order to make important positive decisions for our community like the refugee resettlement resolution!
Kyle Schlachter, former city council member
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