Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Coffey: Planets and employers must be protected from human rights.
On July 19, 2012, New Albany's city council approved the establishment of a Human Rights Commission.
City council unanimously approves a human rights commission.
All eight council persons in attendance last July (Pat McLaughlin was absent) approved the final reading, including the 1st District's Dan Coffey. Reporter Daniel Suddeath of the News and Tribune even mentioned there was "little discussion" of the measure, which is the way I remember it, too.
Last night, at the council's first of two May meetings in 2013, the Human Rights Commission was back on the agenda. As city attorney Stan Robison explained, the new ordinance is meant to correct errant wording and change the HRC's meetings from every two months to quarterly.
(Shouldn't someone eventually ask aloud why all parties involved worked so long to procure this shiny new HRC vehicle, and now behave as though they're terrified at the prospect of it being rolled out of the garage? But it is late, and I digress)
A quick vote on first and second readings seemed imminent, but then it happened.
Gone for so long, the Copperhead suddenly returned to the fray. The old Dan Coffey oozed to the surface to begin an impromptu filibuster in objection to the stipulations of the Human Rights Commission, ones that he happily approved thrice before in 2012, evidently without ever reading the document he rubber-stamped.
So, what were Coffey's specific objections to the new corrective ordinance?
Did he seek to reject the pagination change, the subject-verb agreement reconciliation, or the meeting calendar reboot?
It seems that somewhat belatedly, it has occurred to Coffey that when "Mars changes and becomes Jupiter," we must realize that employers are people, too, and keep these silly human rights considerations from applying to actual human beings in the private sector -- especially if said considerations are being passed along by (shudder) ... a "non-elected committee."
Rather like the one Coffey voted to enable just last July.
Is this about Chick fil-A again?
Ah, but it seems that there's now a vague and unrevealed "situation," one that a councilman perennially obsessed with gaining all the relevant information could neither explain coherently nor describe apart from inscrutable code words normally reserved for whole planets.
Coffey's artless prattling continued as his fellow council persons scratched their heads. Even Shirley Baird forcefully objected to Coffey's formless meandering, and finally Greg Phipps asked whether the secret word just might be "transgender."
Coffey mumbled assent, still unable to bring himself to say the word aloud, but holding that in cases of interplanetary change, then it's "not the same person" any longer.
Leave it to John Gonder to state the obvious: The entire discussion, being entirely irrelevant to the ordinance being considered, sounded suspiciously like something for the Human Rights Commission to discuss.
That is, if the city ever lets it meet.
Phipps did not change the wording. The first two readings passed 8-1, with Coffey for once refraining from abstaining and hitting the "no to non-persons who dare to hold jobs in New Albany" button.
That's the situation, dear reader. We thought the old council was gone. Last night, there was a startling return to form.