To the editor:
Recent opinions in the Journal-World have dismissed the City Commission's resolution asking for monitoring the implementation of the Patriot Act in regard to constitutional concerns. These actions have been discussed as frivolous, partisan and, at worst, unpatriotic. To this I would like to respond.
Lawrence was the 295th city to add its name to the growing list of communities expressing concerns in regard to the Patriot Act. Most major cities have already responded similarly, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Kansas City, Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Dallas, Tampa and Washington, D.C. (www.bordc.org). Most notably New York City responded with one of the strongest resolutions to date. This grass-roots effort has stimulated Congress to begin addressing issues in making the Patriot Act conform more to the ideals of our Constitution and within the checks and balances of our system of government.
The Lawrence resolution is well written, detailing specific concerns regarding the Patriot Act. More than 600 petition signatures were presented to the commission. No one representing the community spoke before the commission against the resolution. When asked, a city commissioner told me that well more than 75 percent of the e-mail he received was favorable. Realizing strong support, the commissioners gave careful study to the issues. They came to the same conclusions as many communities already have. The Patriot Act does have local implications and does contain concerns that need to be re-examined to guard our safety and preserve our freedoms.