A Good Letter To The Editor In The Tribune
City Commission, Great Falls Tribune

A Good Letter To The Editor In The Tribune

A thoughtful letter-to-the-editor recently ran in the Tribune, one that made us wonder: What if the Trump administration did this? What would be the resultant backlash then?

Here’s the letter in its entirety:

City ordinance goes too far 

Great Falls Ordinance 3148 allows the city to ban anyone from city property for one year for any violation of any part of the city code, the Montana Code Annotated or if the city manager or his designee decides you’re disorderly or abusive.

The “or” clause is particularly troubling, giving city personnel carte blanche to determine what is disorderly or abusive.

My research found no other major Montana community with a similar law—why Great Falls? There’s no sensible argument for this ordinance. It’s vague and over-reaching. They’ve given themselves the potential to abuse our civil liberties. It’s a bit suspicious.

A parking ticket could earn you a year-long ban, for example. City officials stated they don’t intend to use it that way but that’s only their words, which aren’t binding.

The city cited a library incident as reason for the ordinance. Public nuisance, disorderly conduct and assault laws already cover such incidents. The city claimed that without this ordinance, police can’t eject people from city property. Not true—I’ve witnessed police eject people from city property.

Why include the entire city code and MCA for a supposed “trespass” ordinance? There’s no reason to be this imprecise when defining law.

These recently passed ordinances give the city fiefdom-like power—sans moat and drawbridge.

—Jeni Dodd 

Great Falls

March 14, 2017

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