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In response to hate speech, Spokane Valley Councilman Ed Pace proposes proclamation to uphold anti-discrimination laws

UPDATED: Fri., March 24, 2017

Spokane Valley City Councilman Ed Pace proposed what he calls a “human rights proclamation” at Tuesday evening’s Spokane Valley City Council meeting.

Pace said he meets with African American pastors once a month in an effort to build community “one cup of coffee at a time, rather than putting on flashy events or leaning on popular personalities.”

Pace said one pastor advised him that now would be a good time for such a proclamation.

“The proclamation is about protecting people’s constitutional rights,” Pace said. “This is about protecting the rights of all people.”

Last week, racist posters were posted on the Community Building in downtown Spokane, and Spokane Valley resident Scott Maclay attracted attention with what was widely condemned as a racist post on Facebook.

People have a right to freedom of speech, Pace said, but not a right to deface other people’s property.

“You have no right to post posters on someone’s building,” Pace said, “or to spray paint racial epithets on someone’s property.”

In a Facebook post after the meeting Pace wrote: “People in this country illegally do not have rights.”

Rick Eichstaedt, executive director of Spokane’s Center For Justice, said that’s not true.

“Undocumented immigrants are protected by parts of the Constitution, like most of the rights in the Bill of Rights,” Eichstaedt said. “Even as far as deportation goes, in most cases undocumented immigrants have due process rights.”

Councilwoman Pam Haley wrote in an email that she supports the resolution because it verbalizes the thoughts of the community.

“We need to make sure that the view of a few is not construed as the feelings of many,” Haley said. “Our community is one that welcomes all.”

The proclamation will be read at the City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and then the council will hold a vote.

“I hope other council members back me up,” Pace said.

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