Resolution calling for Reparatory Justice removed from South Bend Common Council agenda

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(Photo Supplied/City of South Bend and southbendin.gov)

The resolution to consider reparations was removed from South Bend Common Council agenda before Monday’s meeting.

It’s a move that Black Lives Matter-South Bend calls “obstructionist political tactics” deployed by council President Sharon McBride and Council Vice-President Sheila Neizgodski.

The two issued a statement saying that standard practices and procedures require that every resolution “be accompanied by a separate cover letter from the party initiating the resolution” that provides specific information about the Bill, including the Bill sponsor, a requested Committee to hear the Bill and dates at which the sponsor would like the Bill to be heard. However, the Resolution Calling for Reparatory Justice” didn’t have an accompanying cover letter, did not identify who was tendering the resolution or include any other information required.

After consulting with the Common Council Attorney, the City Clerk was instructed to remove the proposed resolution from the agenda.

The resolution could come up again for consideration in two weeks.

Public Statement of Council President Sharon McBride and Vice-President Sheila Niezgodski:

South Bend City Ordinances and South Bend Common Council standard practices and procedures require that every resolution “must be accompanied by a separate cover letter from the party initiating the resolution” providing specific information about the Bill, including the Bill sponsor, a requested Committee to hear the Bill and dates at which the sponsor would like the Bill to be heard. Resolution No. 22-62 “A Resolution of the Common Council of the City of South Bend, Indiana, Calling for Reparatory Justice” apparently tendered by Henry Davis, Jr. does not have an accompanying cover letter and therefore could not be filed. The proposed resolution that was tendered did not identify who was tendering the resolution or include any other information required by the City ordinance before filing.

At the meeting to finalize the agendas for Monday night’s Committee and Common Council meetings, it was acknowledged by all, including the City Clerk, that there was no accompanying cover letter as required by law. After consulting with the Common Council Attorney, Vice-President Sheila Niezgodski, acting as Council President in the absence of President McBride, instructed the City Clerk to remove the proposed resolution from the draft full Council agenda (it had never been assigned to a Standing Committee). The Clerk voiced no objection to this decision. The proposed resolution therefore could not be heard at Monday’s meetings because it had not been filed.

Pursuant to standard practice and procedures, the Clerk’s Office e-mailed a draft of the agendas, as determined at the agenda meeting, to Common Council members for final comment prior to releasing the final agenda to the public. Resolution 22-62 was not included on the agenda as decided at the prior agenda meeting ending approximately 2 hours before the draft was released to Council members.

Shortly thereafter the agendas were released by the Clerk’s office to the public, including the media. The agendas released to the public included for the first time a meeting of the Residential Neighborhoods Committee to consider Resolution No. 22-62. The proposed resolution had also been added to the full Council agenda. The City Clerk included the proposed resolution to the agendas without any prior notice or approval of Council officers and  without any legal authority to do so. The City Clerk apparently decided on her own to schedule a Residential Neighborhoods Committee meeting without talking to Council officers or the Chair of that Committee and added the Resolution to the meeting agendas without any authority to do so. These actions violated both City Ordinances and State Law which provide that the Council President and Committee Chairs determine the agendas, not the City Clerk. The City Clerk’s statutory duties with respect to the Common Council are administrative in nature and do not include any discretionary functions such as determining the agenda for Common Council or Committee meetings.

President Sharon McBride will appoint a special committee to work collaboratively on the very important topic of the proposed resolution and states, “it is unfortunate that Mr. Davis began the public dialogue regarding his Bill without ensuring that proper legislative procedure was followed as is done with every other Bill the Council hears and considers. We do not want to hear or vote on a Bill not duly filed, making the Bill and Council susceptible to later criticism or legal challenge. I have asked the Council Attorney to work with Mr. Davis to ensure that all requirements for legal filing of the Resolution are completed so that we can have a discussion about racial discrimination, some of the things this Council and City have done to repair the harm done, and things that the Council and City can do going forward to continue lifting up our community that has suffered due to past discriminatory practices.” 

The following statement was issued by Black Lives Matter-South Bend:

This is a message to inform you that today’s Residential Neighborhoods Committee meeting is cancelled. As expected, Common Council members Sharon McBride and Sheila Neizgodski removed the resolution from today’s agenda.

The resolution will likely come up again for consideration in two weeks. We will be holding a virtual meeting this Sunday at 7 PM EST over Zoom to discuss the resolution before its re-filing. If interested in participating in this discussion, please respond to this email and we will share the Zoom link with you.

Four council members have indicated their support for reparations, so the issue remains salient. In order for this to pass, we have to overcome the obstructionist political tactics deployed by Sharon McBride and Sheila Neizgodski.

We will not stop. This is a local election year and we will continue to push this resolution and our Black People’s Budget.

We will not stop. This is a local election year and we will continue to push this resolution and our Black People’s Budget

7 COMMENTS

  1. How about restitution to all the families of Veterans who died in the Civil War? This in my opinion is so divisive. Using politics to make one group think they are entitled to a huge sum. California as an example is considering paying each black family $ 250,000. NOW that said , I am all FOR paying families directly affected by prejudice and violence. Example a black family had their sea side property sized. The residents of Tulsa killed and their business burned by rioters. along with Roseland? Florida riot by White’s. Also here is an example In the 1950s, for instance, the city of San Francisco razed Fillmore, a Black business district, destroying 883 businesses and displacing about 20,000 people from nearly 5,000 homes.
    The task force proposes that people who lost homes to government seizures, urban renewal projects, freeway construction, or racist attacks be eligible for housing grants and zero-interest loans.
    My point is just because you are black you need to show direct harm to get funds By encouraging victim hood you hurt folks and make them angry when they do not get what groups keep telling them they are entitled to

    • Will you also pay white families who were affected by prejudice and violence? Or will you pretend that only whites are capable of prejudice and violence? How about all the people passed over for jobs or school slots because of affirmative action mandates eliminating them from contention?

      Or maybe we just need to stop playing the victim card altogether and get on with our individual lives…

    • It is not very noticeable, but all African Americans are negatively affected by the remnants of slavery. It is visible in their levels of aggression, interpersonal communication skills, family functionality, how they interact with other cultures, societal roles they find comfortable.

      • You’re acting as if nobody else’s ancestors were enslaved. The aggression and interpersonal skills are largely due to their ancestral environment – they were warriors! – and their family functionality was fine until the Great Society destroyed their family unit. I dare say that more handouts will not improve their lot in life as a whole.

        Over the last 6 or 7 decades, our insistence to “help” has done more harm than good. What has been done to blacks in America in the name of “helping” them is horrible.

    • ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH YOU. FAMILY MEMBERS FROM ILLINOIS, INDIANA AND MICHIGAN ALL WENT TO WAR TO END THE DEMOCRAT SLAVE ERA FOR GOOD AND GOD’S GLORY.
      WILL THE RESOLUTION BE AMENDED TO MAKE SURE THE FAMILIES OF THESE MILITARY MEMBERS ARE TREATED EQUAL? FOR THE SAKE OF EQUITY OR FAIRNESS TO EVERYONE, WILL THE WORDING BE AMENDED TO INCLUDE THE “RACES” THAT WERE MISTREATED BY DEMOCRAT SLAVE OWNERS BY INDENTURED SERVANTHOOD TRAPS?
      IF ALL LIVES ARE NOT TREATED EQUALLY FOR/BY ALL GOVERNMENT MEMBERS AND FACETS OF GOVERNMENT, SO ONLY ONE TYPE IS ENRICHED ALONE, THAT VIOLATION OF THE REST OF AMERICAN CITIZENS RIGHTS IS NOT PERMITTED.
      IT’S RIGHT UP THERE WITH THE GOVERNMENT ORDERING/COORDINATING WITH THE BIG TECH SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESSES TO CENSOR SPEECH IN ORDER TO INFLUENCE ELECTIONS AND GET THEIR SELECTIONS IN OFFICE. SEEMS LIKE THAT IS CLOSE TO TREASON, BUT CERTAINLY IT’S OUTRIGHT TYRANNY.

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