Silver City takes stand against Patriot Act provisions
November 1, 2005
The people of Silver City aren’t just concerned with zoning, children’s programs and other local issues, they’ve joined the national debate over the USA Patriot Act and related anti-terrorism legislation.
The town’s advisory council and about 20 residents of the small community voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a resolution urging Congress to rescind portions of the controversial act.
Those assembled were all of one mind – some aspects of the act go too far in restricting or violating civil liberties
“This administration is tearing my country apart and I don’t like it,” said Grahame Ross Sr. of Silver City. “I have ancestors that fought to put it together. I did my time in the military and they’re running my country down the toilet drain.”
No one at the meeting spoke against approving the resolution.
Laura Mijanovich, the Northern Nevada coordinator for the ACLU and Bob Tregilus, an organizer for the Nevada Campaign to Defeat the Patriot Act, urged the action, saying if enough communities – large and small – pass the resolutions it will compel Congress to repeal parts of the act.
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“This is one of the most unprecedented and alarming invasions of privacy,” she said. As an example, she cited a case where FBI agents compiled records – airline, gaming, financial and other data – on 3,000 tourists in Las Vegas in 2004.
“This was without a reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed,” she said. “They’re opening the door to abuse. When these checks and balances are gone, that’s when abuse happens.”
He added that an amendment to spending legislation pending in Congress would nationalize drivers’ licenses to allow for collecting more information on everyday Americans.
“The government wants as much power as it can get with as little accountability,” he said.
The USA Patriot Act was passed in the weeks following Sept. 11, and has come under increasing criticism from both liberal and conservative groups because of the increased surveillance and police powers given to federal investigative agencies.
The resolution asks the Lyon County Board of Commissioners and the Lyon County Sheriff to publicly clarify that they will not participate in or use public resources to assist in investigations or detentions where there has been no finding of probable cause.
It also calls upon Lyon County officials to use any public resources to enforce immigration matters and collect information on political or other groups that engage in racial, religious or ethnic profiling.
Silver City joins the city of Sparks and the city and county of Elko among Nevada communities approving the resolution.
The city of Reno, Washoe County, Carson City, Storey, Nye, Lyon and Clark counties and the city of Las Vegas have similar resolutions still under consideration.
n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.