Refugees Used as Sandpoint Continues Dividing Residents
For the 3rd time the last 2 years Sandpoint City attempts to divide citizens using policies which range from impeding on people’s religious beliefs by attempting to remove existing monuments, bringing forth controversial legislation with IDT which attempted to divide Sandpoint in half using a 6 lane highway, and now our security itself.
Sandpoint has always welcomed all Americans as the residents understand we live in a free country under our Constitution. Never before did Sandpoint feel they had to go out of their way to invite any minority as we all share this space equally. Until tonight! When our elected city officials went out of their way to make a public invitation to Syrian refugees even though our FBI says they cannot be vetted.
Under the guise to invite all “properly vetted” refugees and eliminate public backlash. The resolution was intended to be written to calm the public while also being open to refugee resettlement. That was until Mayor Elect Rognstad sent out a post on his Facebook account asking anyone open-minded to show up for the Council meeting the next evening and show support to welcome Syrian Refugees who are not “properly vetted” causing a public outcry on both City and County levels.
Arriving into the meeting room which can seat appropriately 120 residents within minutes had reached it’s maximum capacity. Commissioner Glenn Bailey attended the meeting as County Residents had already voted to allow Syrians after a “proper vetting” system was established. While State Senate Candidate Glenn Rohrer seemed confused as to the intent of the resolution he was speaking about. “This is the same resolution your Governor and County supported”. This is not the case as the city’s resolution made anyone who did not agree into a racist of one class or another.
Although there were ‘hundreds’ of applications to speak sent before the Council, the clarity of the process was so confusing most forgot to fill out the paperwork properly leading to an executive decision by now Mayor Rognstad stating “ we are just going to assume they don’t want to speak”. This was amended to allow only the residents in the room to line up and speak adding another 20 or more opinions to the discussion.
As this aspect of the City Council meeting was ending the Council expressed their individual support for diversity and freedom of religion but the bill went a little too far. So many amendments were offered dismantling the bill to the point it had to be tabled with the intent it be rewritten and brought back to the floor with no public input on January 20th at 5:30 P.M.
by Christian Schwab