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Fw: [bordcgd] (Please Forward): In Final Week, Congressman Sessions Attacks Dallas Bill of Rights Effort

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  • Robert M. Pritchett
    ... From: chip.pitts ; To: BORDCDallas ; Cc: Chip Pitts Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2004
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: chip.pitts <chip.pitts@...>;
      To: BORDCDallas <bordcdallas@yahoogroups.com>;
      Cc: Chip Pitts <chip.pitts@...>
      Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 06:06 PM
      Subject: [bordcgd] (Please Forward): In Final Week, Congressman Sessions
      Attacks Dallas Bill of Rights Effort

      For those of you who may not have heard, I'm sorry to report that
      Congressman Pete Sessions spoke against our resolution, and in favor of the
      Patriot Act, to Dallas City Councilmembers yesterday. He shamefully linked
      our resolution against the excesses of the Patriot Act to millions of
      dollars in homeland security funds which Dallas is counting on. The threat
      (or even suggestion) that the federal government would retailiate against
      Dallas and endanger funding of homeland security measures and safety of
      Dallas residents is particularly misleading and reprehensible in that (i)
      there is no legal basis for such retaliation against citizens for exercising
      their rights to protect the safety and rights of all community members, (ii)
      none of the hundreds of cities that have already passed resolutions like
      this -- including large cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin, Denver,
      etc. -- have been so retaliated against, and (iii) were such retaliation to
      occur in response to the peaceful exercise of constitutional rights, it
      would be not only politically untenable, but truly tyrannical. I don't know
      about you, but I can't help but be reminded of the historical antecedents to
      our own group: the "Committees of Correspondence" organized by the "Sons of
      Liberty" that set in motion the events that led to the Constitution and Bill
      of Rights themselves over two centuries ago. A Ft. Worth Star Telegram
      story describing yesterday's events in more detail is pasted below.

      deal. They're counting emails/letters, and some have only received about 7
      or 8 from within their districts. Yet rumors to the contrary
      notwithstanding, I confirmed today that we still have seven strong votes
      with us, and one or two weak votes with us. So WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN. In
      order to consolidate the eight or more needed to win, please take action and
      urge your network to take action THIS WEEK to:

      1. Strongly urge Councilmembers Sandy Greyson and Ed Oakley to support the
      resolution, and persuade Councilmembers Finkelman and Lill to do so. In
      addition to your own letters to these key members, IF YOU KNOW OR CAN CHECK
      (generally mid-and-North Dallas) to write letters before next Wednesday's
      final vote (Jan. 14th), NOW IS THE TIME. CONTACT INFO for these four key
      members and the Mayor is at the end of this email. Anyone can instantly
      find their representatives on the City Council or in Congress by going to:

      2. If you've not already written your Congressional representative to
      express concerns about the Patriot Act, and urge them to support the Dallas
      resolution against the excesses of the act, please do so this week (you can
      confirm who represents you from the website above or by clicking on the
      Project Vote Smart link on the right of our website, www.bordcdallas.org).

      3. Don't forget to please calendar to show up and urge others to show up
      for as long as possible NEXT WEDNESDAY, January 14th, at 6th Floor City Hall
      Council Chambers, 1500 Marilla St. downtown -- wearing BLUE to show your
      support. (We'll have some speakers in favor of the resolution starting at
      9:00 am, and the agenda item will come up later that day, so please be there
      at 8:45am if you can).

      Thanks much --

      Chip Pitts
      214 906 9424

      Lawmaker defends Patriot Act before council

      By Eva-Marie Ayala
      Star-Telegram Dallas Bureau

      DALLAS - Cities that accept federal homeland-security dollars should not
      take a stand against the act that helped create such funding, U.S. Rep. Pete
      Sessions, R-Dallas, told members of the Dallas City Council on Monday.

      Sessions was invited to the council's Public Safety Committee meeting to
      discuss homeland security funding but also commented on the council's
      upcoming vote regarding the USA Patriot Act's effect on civil liberties.

      "You should not be hypocritical in taking money" while opposing the act,
      Sessions said after the meeting.

      He said the city will receive about $3.5 million as a result of the act.

      Sessions said the act is a vital "toolkit" for fighting terrorism and is not
      being misused. He said the act helped the government gather intelligence
      that led to the diversion of recent international flights that authorities
      believed may have posed a threat.

      But Mayor Pro Tem John Loza, who helped bring the resolution before the
      council, said the city must address concerns about civil liberties.

      The act "does affect the rights of the citizens of Dallas," he said.

      The proposed resolution states that city officials would uphold citizens'
      constitutional rights, and it urges representatives to monitor the
      implementation of the act.

      The Patriot Act, passed soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,
      expands law-enforcement officers' surveillance and investigative powers,
      allowing them to, for example, examine library patrons' records.

      It has been criticized by some civil-rights organizations.

      Early last year, Dallas officials were concerned that the city had spent
      $4.6 million, none of it from the federal government, on anti-terrorism

      Sessions, who sits on the House's Select Committee on Homeland Security,
      told council members that Congress is working to streamline the process so
      that local governments can more quickly get their share of the $29.4 billion
      that will be spent on homeland security.

      That especially includes cities such as Dallas that have a first-responder
      network with other cities and the FBI, Sessions said.

      But the process is being slowed by states' financial problems and
      disagreements among state, county and city officials on how the dollars
      should be spent, he said.

      Mary Suhm, first assistant city manager, briefed the council members on
      other issues and explained that Dallas was designated as a point of contact
      in charge of organizing security efforts for surrounding counties and
      assisting in allocating federal grant funds.

      She said Tarrant County was not included in the designated area for
      receiving funds, although it was listed as a county Dallas must help

      Suhm said Dallas' lobbyist is working to correct that problem.

      Contact info for four key swing Councilmembers follows (Regular Mail Address
      for all of them: Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla Street, Dallas, TX 75201):

      1. Councilmember Veletta Forsythe Lill
      Main Phone: (214) 670-5415
      Fax: (214) 670-1847
      EMPHASIZE: impact on libraries, repression even of artistic expression;
      negative impact on Dallas’s cultural diversity; need to have fact-based law
      enforcement for true security

      2. Councilmember Lois G. Finkelman
      Main Phone: (214) 670-7817
      Fax: (214) 670-0765
      EMPHASIZE: local issue, because rights already being affected, including
      e.g. ability to advocate for women’s issues, environmental causes

      3. Councilmember Ed Oakley
      Main Phone: (214) 670-0776
      Fax: (214) 670-1833
      EMPHASIZE: need for solidarity with vulnerable populations

      4. Councilmember Sandy Greyson
      Main Phone: (214) 670-4067
      Fax: 214-670-5650
      EMPHASIZE: Excessive, unchecked power already affecting local residents
      rights and security.

      The Mayor's info is:
      Mayor Laura Miller
      Main Phone: (214) 670-4054
      Fax: (214) 670-0646
      (cc Crayton W. Webb: cwwebb@...)
      EMPHASIZE: Local issue. Resolution needed to protect local resident

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