Tom Michalow is running against sitting County Councilperson Matt Drozd for a northern suburban district. Tom made time to attend the Council debate on the Human Relations ordinance and expressed disbelief at the “arguments” of the 6 dissenting members. I like how Tom positions this as a human rights issue.
I am pleased to see progress occurring in Western Pennsylvania. Namely, I am proud to see that the ordinance creating a [Human Relations Commission] was passed by Allegheny County Council earlier this week. This ordinance is a small but important step in national struggle in achieving equality for all persons regardless of race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation. For Allegheny County, I believe it to be not only a major milestone for the GLBT community, but for all persons who live in the county because it protects everybody from abuse not just the GLBT community.
I do have two concerns about the ordinance. My first concern is a matter of implementation. Will the bill have teeth and will the ordinance as amended hold up in court? I, of course, am pleased to see the ordinance passed and put into effect rather than languishing in committee limbo. I particularly liked Councilperson Green’s response that if all we have to fear is a law suit, then we are on easy street compared to the physical danger that the original civil rights activists faced. I did state several months ago to Councilperson Green that the city’s commission and the county’s commission should be unified, but again, that process will take a year or more and is no reason for delay.
My second concern is the opposition. During the debate, I was stunned by comments from those opposed to the ordinance. Though there are many I wish to rebut, I will focus only on one specifically from my opponent. He compared human rights legislation to restrictive business legislation. I am furious that many persons in the opposition believe that respecting an employee’s human rights and paying a decent wage is some-how un-American. I assert that equality under the law and fair reward for hard work is more American than pandering to companies for hand outs. Lastly, concerning human rights, I am sure than every major corporation in the United States already has anti-discrimination policies in place that have similar language.
I hope that if elected to Allegheny County Council, I will be able to help protect the Human Rights of all residents.
The issue about consolidating the commissions would be debatable as the City does not legalize faith-based discrimination like the County. Yet, to my knowledge, no churches have self-destruced or been invaded by hordes of crossing dress men taking up residence in the ladies' rooms to corrupt young children. I'm pretty sure KDKA would have live on the scene at 5, 6 and 11 if that were the case.
Watch Michalow for County Council. As I've said before, this is a race where your $25 donation can make a difference and could alter the balance of power on the County Council.