Community Resolution for Somerville, MA

Document Date: February 26, 2004



February 26, 2004


WHEREAS, acts and orders recently enacted by the Federal Government, including sections of the USA PATRIOT Act and several Executive Orders, threaten fundamental rights and liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the City of Somerville has a history of defending the civil liberties of its residents; and

WHEREAS, the City of Somerville has, with gratitude for their supreme sacrifice, memorialized those in the Armed Forces who have died in battle protecting these same cherished rights arid liberties; and

WHEREAS, the motto of the City of Somerville is Municipal Freedom Gives National Strength, and

WHEREAS, the City of Somerville comprises a diverse population, including working people, people of color, students, arid non-citizens, whose contributions to the community are greatly valued and who provide vitality and character to the City; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Aldermen of the City of Somerville, motivated by a commitment to the free exercise and enjoyment of any and all rights and privileges secured by the laws of the United States, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Somerville, passed an ordinance in 1993 that created the Somerville Human Rights Commission declaring the public policy of the city, its employees, agents and officials to be the protection and promotion of the constitutional, civil, and human rights of all people in Somerville; and

· WHEREAS, we believe these civil liberties are precious and are now threatened by:

· The USA PATRIOT ACT, which

· All but eliminates judicial supervision of telephone and Internet surveillance;

· Greatly expands the government’s ability to conduct secret searches without warrants;

· Gives the Attorney General and the Secretary of State the power to designate domestic groups as “”terrorist organizations””; and

· Grants the FBI broad access to sensitive medical, mental health, financial, and educational records about individuals without having to show evidence of a crime and without a court order;

Federal Executive Orders, which

· Establish secret military tribunals for terrorism suspects;

· Permit wiretapping of conversations between federal prisoners and their lawyers;

· Lift Justice Department regulations against illegal COlNTELPRO-type operations by the FBI (covert activities that in the past targeted domestic groups and individuals); and

· Limit the disclosure of public documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act;


1. The City of Somerville and its elected and appointed officials, employees, and local law enforcement continue to preserve residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and privacy; rights to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures even if requested or authorized to infringe upon these rights by federal law enforcement acting under new powers panted by the USA PATRIOT Act or orders of the Executive Branch;

2. The City of Somerville will reject racial profiling of any group within our community; and

3. The City of Somerville will urge the United States Federal Government and its various branches, representatives, and employees to act in a fair, open, and consistent manner by ensuring that all individuals are afforded their appropriate rights to due process; and

4. The City of Somerville will urge US Congressional representatives and Senators to monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act and actively work for repeal of the parts of that Act and those Executive Orders that violate fundamental rights and liberties; and

5. The City of Somerville will send copies of this resolution to our U.S. Congressional and Senate Representatives, the U.S. Attorney General, and the President of the United States; and

6. The City of Somerville will post this resolution on the Somerville City website, and copies will be sent to municipal offices, library branches, police stations, public schools, arid other public spaces or City organs where applicable and reasonable.

Somerville Board of Aldermen

Submitted By:

Alderman Denise Provost, President

Alderman Thomas F. Taylor

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