New Sandpoint Mayor Welcomes Syrian Refugees
by Shari Dovale
New Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad wasn’t happy with the Bonner County Commissioners passing a resolution against Obama’s refugee resettlement program.
Discounting the overwhelming public support for the commissioner’s action, he has placed on the city agenda, for the first meeting of the year, a resolution he hopes will negate their actions.
Rognstad issued this statement on his facebook page:
I ask all supporters of religious and ethnic tolerance to come to the council meeting Wednesday night …to show their support for a Sandpoint City Council resolution which affirms Sandpoint’s support of Syrian refugees to the US. This resolution is in response to the recent opposition by Bonner County and Governor Otter on this issue. This opposition reinforces the unfortunate image of this region as a haven for bigotry, discrimination and racism. It is important that the City of Sandpoint and its citizens show solidarity in our support for religious and ethnic tolerance through this resolution. Please attend at Council Chambers… to show your support. I hope to see you there!
There is much confusion over Rognstad’s position, as they are wondering if he has put his own agenda ahead of the welfare of Sandpoint Residents.
Rognstad does not believe allowing the Muslim refugees to settle in Sandpoint will have a financial impact on the city. He has yet to address the social services, including health care, welfare, etc. that the refugees will require.
He has not addressed the security ramifications of bringing in refugees that have not been properly vetted by the Federal government. What will he tell the residents to calm the fears they have for their family’s safety?
He has acknowledged that the region did contain hate groups in the distant past, though has not cited any current groups residing in the area.
Some of the questions swirling through social media include whether Sharia law will be allowed next, or whether or not the way of life for farmers and other residents will have to change. It is being widely discussed as to how to accommodate people that have difficulty assimilating into the local culture.
The room should be full, so plan on arriving early Wednesday evening at 5:30pm, at 1123 Lake St, Sandpoint, if you would like to be a part of the excitement.
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