Wednesday’s news items [notes from last night’s meeting; monarchs; tomatoes & more] – 7/15/2020

meeting notes

Last night | Columbia’s borough council meeting met; that meeting was live streamed and is archived at the borough’s facebook page. Because of the camera placement, citizens don’t know how many people — other than the folks around the table configuration at the front of the room. At the time of this post, 711 persons did view the video recording of the meeting.

But … | just after the meeting was convened, the council president announced an executive session concerning a clouded, non-transparent reason (“appeals process for pending litigation”) for the session.

During the meeting | beginning at around the 16:57 minute mark of the video recording, several citizens addressed the council with their concerns about the lack of transparency concerning the police department’s “use of force” policy. Their impassioned testimonies asked for an end to police department secrecy about “use of force” policy and systemic racial equity issues. Following the reemergence of the council from the “executive session” the council president precluded the issues with a statement that on Friday, July 17, Columbia Borough’s police department’s “use of force” policy would be posted at the borough’s Website — in a redacted version. [Redacted defined: edited especially in order to obscure or remove sensitive information.”

One of the speakers, | Kathleen Meley, pointed out the blatant racism and nativism and hostile, xenophobic statements in Columbia that is evidenced by overt and covert comments at facebook pages.

Citizens learned | upon council’s return from the executive session, that a second executive session would convene at the conclusion of last night’s meeting: the meeting was so that council and counsel could review the redacted “use of force” policy — before it would be posted. The mayor, who had voiced his opposition to public posting of the policy at previous meetings, was not in attendance last night.  

Change of posture | Last night, all the councillors and persons seated at the horseshoe arranged tables wore masks unlike their decision to not wear masks at the last meeting.

Winding its way through the legislature in Harrisburg | a bill that will require Police Departments to have a “Use of force” policy for its police department AND publish the policy. “Policy availability.– A policy adopted under this section shall be made available to the general public upon request and shall be posted on a publicly accessible Internet website maintained by the law enforcement agency.”

Tomorrow evening | The Columbia Borough School District’s Board of Directors meeting is announced at the District’s Website:

7/16/2020 Virtual Meeting Link (6pm)

Board Meeting Agendas

tomato festival

“Washington Boro Tomato Feast | Friday July 17th 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday July 18th 11 a.m. to 7 p.m — ( We are having a feast of foods in place of the Festival this year) Most of the same foods will be served from food trucks that you enjoyed previous years. However there will not be chicken corn soup! We were not able to use the kitchen to prepare the soup this year.” – Washington Boro Tomato Festival public facebook group

monarchs

“Monarchs and Milkweed | have an intrinsic connection. Learn the benefits of growing milkweed and about several varieties that you might grow in your garden.” – Penn State Extension

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