Paducah city commissioners vote 3-1 to keep Veterans Day parade resolution
PADUCAH — The resolution stands. That’s the decision by Paducah City Commissioners regarding the Veterans Day Parade Resolution passed in 2017.
It limits the types of flags allowed to fly during the parade to the U.S. flag and military flags. Those who have criticized the move included the Sons of Confederate Soldiers, who said the city used the resolution to keep them from flying the Confederate flag.
Mayor Pro Tem Richard Abraham wanted to rescind the resolution. He brought it up two weeks ago during the first city commission meeting of the year.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Abraham voiced his concerns to the commissioners and the public.
“I, myself — an African American man growing up in the south — have seen seen some horrible things, but this resolution has nothing to do with a flag. The resolution has nothing to do with what we’ve been talking about tonight. That issue was addressed with the application and was adhered to this past November,” Abraham said.
Commissioners Sandra Wilson, Gerald Watkins and Brenda McElroy opposed repealing it. There was also a room full of people who voiced their opinions before the commissioners made a final decision.
Dozens of people expressed opinions on one issue inside Paducah City Hall Tuesday night. One by one, they voiced their concern over the consequences that would come with repealing a resolution passed nearly two years ago.
“I’m embarrassed that there are people who live near me claiming to be proud of their Confederate heritage. I’m embarrassed that people of color are being discriminated against en mass,” one person said.
Brad Holland, a military veteran, was among the people who spoke out during the public comment portion of the meeting, and he said the discussion rehashed an old issue.
“The discussion shouldn’t have been brought up ever again anyway. The decision was made last year,” Holland said.
Some commissioners voiced opinions similar to those who made public comments.
“I really do not know why this is on our agenda,” Wilson said.
Following nearly an hour of discussion, the commission voted to keep the resolution. Abraham was the only vote in favor of repealing it.
Holland said he’s encouraged by Tuesday night’s discussion and hopes more productive conversations come from it.
“I think race as a whole should be brought to the conversation, because it’s been a long stepped over, swept under the rug conversation in this country for many years,” Holland said.
City Manager Jim Arndt said the city screened the resolution through three different law firms. Those law firms were Denton Law, KKHB, and Kentucky League of Cities. Arndt told me all three said the resolution is constitutional.
We are working to get copies of the written legal opinions of all three law agencies.
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