Two city councilmen recently voiced strong opposition to proclamations related to gun violence awareness and Pride Month.
At the June 1 meeting, Councilmembers Chuck Price and Al Taylor asked that the proclamations be discussed before voting on them, so that they could clearly voice their views. Both items passed in 4-2 votes.
Price announced on June 15 that he planned to resign at the end of the month.
“I think these two can be very divisive to the public,” Price said at the June 1 meeting. “And I think that the public should understand what the comments are going to be made, who supports what and who doesn’t.”
The first proposed proclamation was to designate the first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. It’s the second year that Woodinville joined other cities in formally recognizing the day, according to a staff report. Nationally, the day has been declared annually for the past seven years.
The campaign is designed to honor victims and survivors of gun violence and “declare that we as a country must do more to reduce” it, the report states.
“I think we’re overreacting to gun violence, and we should be promoting more police protection,” Price said. “I think that’s the answer to that and stopping this stuff in our society that’s creating violence. That’s the problem, not the guns.”
Taylor agreed with Price that the issue was divisive and said the city shouldn’t be getting involved “in a Second Amendment national discussion.” He said the issue should be left to politicians at the state and federal level.
In supporting the proclamation, Councilmembers Mike Millman and Rachel Best-Campbell both said the document did not mention the Second Amendment and that raising awareness to the issue wouldn’t affect the rights of those to legally own guns. Both council members said they supported that right.
“If we had a national swimming health awareness day, it wouldn’t mean that we’re banning water,” Best-Campbell said. “… I think awareness of a problem does not mean that we are going to take it away and take it to the nth degree. That is a false flag.”
Taylor also said raising the rainbow flag and signing the proclamation to designate June as Pride Month was dividing the community. The city has raised the flag for the last few years during June, according to the staff report. Last year, council issued a formal proclamation to recognize the month.
“We’ve always had red, white and blue stars and stripes, and that has been the flag for everyone,” Taylor said.
“I cannot support any flag that seeks to take away from the united, and the United States and the country that we pledge,” he later added.
Councilmember Les Rubstello said the flag’s meaning can be “in the eye of the beholder,” but he didn’t agree that raising the rainbow flag along with the U.S. stars and stripes was dividing the community.
“I would see flying the two flags, not as divisive, but saying that we the United States embrace and include this community that’s among us that has been persecuted in the past,” Rubstello said.
Price saw the proclamation and flag as more of a partisan issue. He said there’s a “quiet majority that’s going to be very upset with this.”
“What you’re doing is you’re picking the flags that you want that are far left,” he said. “There’s a lot of right-wing people here too in the city.”
“It’s not the idea of this,” he later added, “It’s how they twist the idea and manipulate it and change the politics of this country, and I’m just against it.”
He did not respond by press time to a request for clarification on whom he was referring to.