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Council Aims to Give Human Rights Commission More Power

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

April 15, 2013

Charlottesville City Council moved a step closer to creating a Human Rights Commission.

Council voted down, 3-to-2, a version of the commission that focused on education, studies, and dialogue with no enforcement power.

Councilors agreed to discuss a modified version of a proposal by Councilor Kristin Szakos that also gave the commission enforcement powers.

"If we're going to have an ordinance to say something is wrong then we should put our enforcement where our mouth is," Szakos said. "If we're gonna have an ordinance at all...I would love to see us spend the money that we need to have full enforcement."

Councilor Kathy Galvin called the the Human Rights Commission an "unpredictably costly gesture," saying that only 30% of city employees live in Charlottesville, making it hard to gather local discrimination data. She voiced concerns that the money might be better spent on services such as daycare.

"I think we are prescribing the wrong medication," Galvin said. "I hope I'm wrong."

Council will discuss this new draft at its second meeting in May.

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