Thursday’s City Council meeting didn’t include an agenda item related to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, but that didn’t stop a handful of folks from making public comment on it.
Almost a dozen people turned out to support those who spoke against the authorization act, also known as NDAA. The attendees are part of a recently formed group here in Kodiak known as PANDA, which stands for people against the NDAA. PANDA is a national, non-partisan, grass roots organization that was founded in 2012 by Dan Johnson, who actually presented here in Kodiak last month.
Kodiak resident Betty MacTavish spoke during the public comment portion of the city’s regular meeting and said PANDA specifically takes issue with sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA. According to MacTavish, those provisions violate civil liberties in a number of ways.
“One, you may be arrested and indefinitely detained if the President merely alleges that you are a threat – expected or convicted. You no longer have the right to legal representation and are not entitled to a phone call to an attorney or to a family member. Three, you can be held for life without being convicted of a crime. Four, you no longer have a right to a jury by your peers. Five, you can be executed without being convicted of a crime.”
Rolan Ruoss also spoke during Thursday’s meeting and said the group would like the city to draft a resolution that opposes certain sections of the 2012 NDAA and protect the constitutional rights of Kodiak citizens.
“The citizens here that support this action, we can write letters to senators and put ads in the newspaper, as Jamie Fagan has done, or letters to the editor – we can raise consciousness on the issue, but we can’t accomplish an official action, other than just being active citizens. But you can. As people who sit as the city council then you have an opportunity and perhaps an obligation to perform this civic duty to support our constitution. And that’s a fair thing to ask. You are the direct employers of our police department and as a whole community then we employ the police department to provide security. And that should be to make us feel safer, not to make us fee hazarded.”
Dana Carros also spoke, and said the resolution might not be enforceable, but it would certainly send a message to the national government. He said city’s and towns across the nation have passed similar resolutions, including Albany, New York.
During councilmember comments Councilman Terry Haines thanked people for coming out and voicing their concerns to the council.
“I think that kind of citizen input is very important to our process. I also think that all politics are indeed local and I think the erosion of our citizens’ – the potential erosion of our citizens’ rights is something that should be within our purview and wherever that discussion may go, I do think that’s a discussion that we should have.”
MacTavish commented again at the end of the city’s meeting and thanked the council for welcoming the evening’s comments and acknowledging that it is a local issue. She said the group would be willing to present during a future work session and help the council draft resolution the city could adopt.
“Definitely we would be more than happy to bring that information forward in a packet, presentation – whatever you might need. We would love that opportunity. So thank you and thank you for your comments tonight.”
There was no discussion on which future work session that presentation might be included in.