The “E’ville Voices” guest blogger series was created to net a broader range of voices about our city in flux and initiate dialogue through opinion & conversation. We kick off the series with 14 year Emeryville Council Member Ruth Atkin. Ruth jumped at the opportunity to share her views on representing the city’s stance on social issues (even if merely symbolic).
Please contact us if you wish to participate in this ongoing series.
We are greater acting together than individually
By Ruth Atkin, Emeryville City Council Member
Over the years I have introduced resolutions at city council meetings that do not pertain solely to governing the City of Emeryville, but do pertain to larger social issues. My question to readers is whether you appreciate that your city council takes these symbolic positions or not. I used to hear from some people who say that we should stick to what the people elected us to do and not opine on larger issues. There have always been more vocal naysayers than vocal supporters.
I introduced, along with Council Member Davis, the first “social” issue resolution, which was against the second Iraq war. Not only does war affect all of us, it also reflects the ultimate breakdown in the best of human functioning. In 2004 I introduced a resolution calling on the County of Alameda to issue same-sex marriage licenses as the City and County of San Francisco had begun doing in defiance of the law at the time. Just recently Council Member West introduced a resolution against workplace bullying and I introduced a resolution calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
Informally, I’ve been told that some residents like having their individual thoughts, beliefs, and opinions elevated symbolically by their local elected officials if they agree with the sentiment. It seems that people who don’t appreciate the content tell us to stick to running the city.
Please let me know what you think by emailing me or participating in the poll below!
– Council Member Ruth Atkin