Athens City Council members expressed their support for a resolution to oppose future federal government shutdowns during their meeting on Monday.
The resolution was introduced at last week’s city council . Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, introduced the resolution, which expressed City Council’s concern for its citizens who are affected by government shutdowns. The recent shutdown impacted local businesses, SNAP recipients and housing.
“They’re playing with people’s livelihoods,” Fahl said.
Other members of council echoed Fahl’s sentiments. Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, was absent when the resolution was introduced last week. Upon hearing the resolution read aloud, he supported it. Butler said that all politics are local and affect everyone.
“It’s unfortunate that we are held victim, to a certain sense, to what’s happening at the federal level,” Butler said. “And I think it’s appalling.”
Mayor Steve Patterson commended City Council on its effort for the resolution.
“I applaud you for moving forward,” Patterson said. “I’m glad you didn’t table it. I think it’s needed.”
Patterson heard of the affects the government shutdown had on Athens families firsthand. When visiting third grade class at Alexander Elementary School, Patterson was asked by a student what his thoughts on the government shutdown were. The student’s family was directly affected by the shutdown. Patterson said that this was one of the hardest questions he had to answer.
“I answered it pretty much in line with the way your resolution reads,” Patterson said.
When asked by an audience member how the city of Athens is preparing for another possible shutdown, Council President Chris Knisely said the topic had not been discussed by council, but that the city will do everything in its power to aid its residents.
“I think to work as earnestly as we can, and in a coordinated way, to make sure that our agencies are working to get the resources that we need to Athens citizens,” Knisely said.
Copies of the resolution will be sent to United States President Donald Trump and Congress.
After council finished discussing ordinances and resolutions, the floor was opened for citizens to speak on items not found on the agenda. Bolo J. Henderson spoke about alleged bias from multiple Athens locations.
Henderson was going to put on a drag show at Casa Nueva on Dec. 8. The show did not end up happening, as multiple members of Henderson’s group faced bias.
“Due to implicit bias that I incurred as well as three POC and two LGBTIA, I was unable to host my show,” Henderson said.
Henderson also thinks that more bias is now being experienced in a contract dealing with ARTS/West. ARTS/West will not let burlesque dancers be in Henderson’s show despite Henderson paying for all of the show’s costs. Henderson said conversations have already happened with city administration, but they haven’t helped.
“Why is the city of Athens putting up roadblocks for the show?” Henderson said.