Safe city ordinance passes


Published: 11/5/2019 11:57:04 PM

GREENFIELD — Greenfield became a “safe city” in Tuesday’s election, passing an ordinance intended to make it welcoming to immigrants.

The vote was 3,025 in favor and 2,391 opposed.

The ordinance prohibits city officials from asking about a person’s immigration status; targeting someone or discriminating against an institution providing refuge to immigrants and their families; taking law enforcement action against someone on the basis of perceived immigration status; and other methods of “maintaining a safe city.”

The election results were likely influenced by Yes on 2, a group that campaigned in support of the ordinance, said Yes on 2 organizer Rachel Gordon. She said that the group’s outreach efforts helped people who didn’t know much about the ordinance to decide on how to vote, and that the group marshaled people to contact city councilors and the mayor’s office in support of the ordinance.

“Honestly I’m a little disappointed it won’t have passed by a greater margin,” Gordon said Tuesday night. “It’s people’s basic civil liberties that are on the ballot, and I would have hoped that Greenfield would have voted overwhelmingly.”

Katherine Golub, of the Yes on 2 Campaign, said the passage of the safe city ordinance “codif(ies) current practice” in the Police Department.

Executive Director of the Resistance Center Jeff Napolitano, also part of the Yes on 2 Campaign, said, “It’s also across municipal services.”

“Other branches of the city can’t be, essentially, weaponized by the federal government against Greenfield’s own population,” Napolitano said. “It’s also relevant to the School Department. You don’t want to send your kids to school and be worried about if your kid is undocumented, or if your kid is documented but they’re of a mixed-status family, how teachers or administration might treat them. There are instances of discrimination based on status that would extend beyond the Police Department. That’s why cities have been extending this beyond the Police Department.”

While the City Council approved the safe city ordinance July 17, the affirmative vote was temporarily suspended when Precinct 1 City Councilor Verne Sund submitted a motion to reconsider. Following that motion came a citizen’s referendum submitted to the clerk’s office on Aug. 12, seeking to overturn the vote.

The council affirmed its vote in favor of the safe city ordinance again, which was the subject of Mayor William Martin’s veto. At a special meeting in early October, the City Council overrode the veto and determined the language on the ballot.

The ordinance was originally brought forward by City Council President Karen “Rudy” Renaud in July.


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