Back to Metroland's Home Page!
 Columns & Opinions
   The Simple Life
   Comment
   Reckonings
   Opinion
   Myth America
   Letters
   Poetry
 News & Features
   Newsfront
   F.Y.I.
   Features
 Dining
   This Week's Review
   The Dining Guide
   Leftovers
 Cinema & Video
   Weekly Reviews
   The Movie Schedule
 Music
   Listen Here
   Live
   Recordings
   Noteworthy
 Arts
   Theater
   Dance
   Art
   Classical
   Books
   Art Murmur
 Calendar
   Night & Day
   Event Listings
 Classifieds
   View Classified Ads
   Place a Classified Ad
 Personals
   Online Personals
   Place A Print Ad
 AccuWeather
 About Metroland
   Where We Are
   Who We Are
   What We Do
   Work For Us
   Place An Ad

Comes the Resolution

To a burst of applause from the dozen civil libertarians who came out to support the measure, the Albany Common Council passed a resolution Monday (May 19) calling for a repeal of the USA P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.

In doing so, Albany joined 108 other towns, cities and counties nationwide whose local governments have expressed opposition to the federal legislation pushed through Congress after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Patriot Act (which stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) grants law enforcement greater and easier access to telephone, medical, library and other personal information of individuals suspected of terrorist activities. Civil libertarians have long decried the law, saying many of its provisions infringe upon the basic civil liberties granted to all U.S. citizens by the Bill of Rights.

The Council passed the resolution, sponsored by Alderman James Sano (Ward 9), 10-3 after nearly two months of deliberation and three drafts of a measure that came up against a fair amount of opposition. Alderman Daniel Herring (Ward 13), Joseph Igoe (Ward 14) and Sandra Fox (Ward 15) voted against the resolution Monday night.

“I do have serious issues with the Patriot Act, but we lost focus in the grandstanding—passing the resolution became a P.R. exercise rather than a look at the serious issues,” Herring said. “This resolution didn’t even recognize the current debate about repealing the sunset provisions attached to the Patriot Act.”

But Alderman Dominick Calsolaro (Ward 1), who initially introduced a resolution in March asking local law enforcement to inform the council when taking part in terrorism-related investigations that could possibly infringe on citizens’ civil liberties, was pleased that his months of work had come to fruition.

“We’ve had this open and free discussion for months, yet we have some who were afraid to vote on the issue,” said Calsolaro, who cosponsored the resolution. “It took a few months, but I’d rather take the time and have a good resolution rather than do it hastily and have it fail.”

Melanie Trimble, executive director of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said local resolutions like Albany’s are important because they help raise issues of constitutionality related to the Patriot Act.

“There is great debate about whether localities can blatantly ignore federal law and go by their local law,” Trimble said. “There are a lot of legal issues involved as to how well these things can be enforced, but unless you find a brave local legislative body [to challenge the Patriot Act’s provisions], we will never see the law tested in court.”

—Travis Durfee


Send A Letter to Our Editor
Back Home
   
0104_116E
In Association with Amazon.com
columbia house DVD 120X90
Banner 10000159
Pick7_120x60
jcrew.com 120x60
 
Copyright © 2002 Lou Communications, Inc., 4 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12210. All rights reserved.