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06/23/2020

Town manager authorized to produce signage stating 'Cape Rejects Racism'

Following the Town Council special workshop of June 22, 2020, the Town Council voted 6-0 in favor of authorizing Town Manager Matthew Sturgis to produce signage stating "Cape Rejects Racism" in response to community members requesting the town display signs in support of fighting racism. Prior to the vote, the Town Council discussed the possibility of posting "Cape rejects racism. Hate has no place here." Both Councilors Jamie Garvin and Chris Straw added that while they would like to simply state "Black lives matter," they would be reluctant to do so as the statement itself is also a political organization. Straw said that the Town Council should strive to be apolitical. Councilor Penny Jordan shared that she did not want to include, "Hate has no place here," as it suggests a denial of implicit bias.

Sturgis shared that he had reviewed the legality of such a sign with the town attorney, Mike Hill, and was informed that putting up a sign was within the Town Council's rights.

Councilors discussed whether the sign should be a new, free-standing sign or be included on the electronic message board. Councilor Caitlin Jordan pointed out that out in order to be in compliance with the sign ordinance, signs need to be temporary and be removed after eight weeks. Sturgis added that after speaking with the town's Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal, including this type of statement on the electrical sign would be a violation of that ordinance. Councilor Jeremy Gabrielson suggested that in order to comply with the maximum posting-time of eight weeks per sign, that new signs be installed on a continuous cycle. The Town Council agreed that future sign statements could be included in the charges of the yet-to-be-formed committee dedicated to diversity, fighting racism and racial inequality. [news article]