City council hears debate, doesn’t change vision statement



BONNERS FERRY – Bonners Ferry City Council has maintained its vision statement as it stands after Tuesday’s council meeting sparked heated debate both for and against the document.

The council cited the need to separate church and state and include all individuals, whether you agree with their choice of gender identity or sexual orientation. City council weighed in on the vision statement, saying it is essential to include everyone, regardless of a person’s personal beliefs or feelings.

“I believe this (vision statement) speaks to anti-discrimination across government,” said Councilor Valerie Thompson.

Bonners Ferry resident Barbara Russell said the Boundary County Human Rights Task Force was founded in 1987 as a collaborative effort between the ministerial association and stakeholders local.

“A coordinated effort by the city, county, clergy, law enforcement, civic leaders and local citizens to oppose an out-of-state church seeking to settle in Boundary County by bringing perspectives on intolerance and bigotry, ”she said.

The meeting followed a large turnout from city and county residents for and against the previous week’s statement. Public commentary at Tuesday’s meeting was also lively, with comments culminating with Warren Mark Campbell, the pastor of Lordship Church, shouting at Bonners Ferry Mayor Dick Staples and members of council.

During the public comments, Craig Kelson, Liaison Officer for the Task Force on Human Rights, spoke about Mayor Staples’ response to upholding the vision statement during his mayoral campaign.

“I’m here to thank you for what you’re doing,” Kelson said. “I’m sorry that this statement has brought so much time and trouble to your leadership, but I thank you for what you have done and I think you have done the right thing.”

Voicing his opinion against the vision statement, Campbell said he wanted “sexual orientation or gender identity” removed from the vision statement and detailed “gay cruise” encounters in the region. from Three-Mile Road.

Deprived of extra time to speak, Campbell started yelling out of his turn, prompting Staples to yell and say public comments were closed. Staples then apologized for his outburst.

Indignant at not being able to respond to comments made about Lordship Church being a hate group recorded by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Campbell began to shout that he was not a racist.

“I’m not a racist… My son has dark skin and a meth baby and I love him,” Campbell said.

Since last week’s meeting, the town has received support from residents of Bonners Ferry and Boundary County for the vision statement. City officials said there were more than 12 letters and emails from city residents in support of the statement.

• In the remaining business, Councilor Ron Smith presented an Enforcement Proclamation which was passed unanimously. Smith began passionately to explain why local law enforcement needed the proclamation at a time of backlash against the police.

• Council detailed a plan to extend the community pool closure date until September 5 due to the late opening of the pool facilities. While a board member raised concerns about costs, he chose to support him due to budgeted funds available for the extension due to the late opening of the pool.

The council will check the feasibility of the pool and determine if the lifeguard staffing can be made to accommodate the additional month.

• After publishing a poll on the name of the Wilson-Solomon corridor, city council chose Selkirk as the most nominated choice; according to city engineer Mike Klaus, the street designation is vital for opening the corridor because of the potential confusion for emergency services.



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