Precinct 333

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Pol Demands Court Twart Will Of The People

People in Estes Park, Colorado are trying to recall trustee David Habecker. Why? Because he won't stand for or say the Pledge of Allegience before meetings. Now Habecker wants a federal court to stop the recall on grounds that it violates his rights under the US Constitution, since he is an agnostic.

Habecker's recall election is scheduled for Feb. 15. Several board members helped organize the recall committee, saying voters have lost confidence in Habecker's ability to represent patriotism and "common decency."

"He has his rights, and so do we," said committee member Dewey Shanks. "We're at war. And I don't think now is the time to be fighting over this. He shouldn't have brought it up at this time."

Habecker sued the recall committee, the town, the board of trustees and several officials in Estes Park, a town of about 5,500 residents about 60 miles northwest of Denver that is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, asked a federal judge to stop the recall election until after the lawsuit is resolved.

The lawsuit says Habecker, who has served on the town board for 12 years, is patriotic and doesn't oppose the pledge's meaning.

The board began reciting the pledge in May. Habecker, 59, initially recited the pledge except for the words "under God," but he later decided to remain seated.

I understand the man's argument, and have a certain amount of sympathy with him. If this were the case of someone being fired from employent or being denied the right to run or take office because of his unwillingnes to say the Pledge, I would side with him.

But elected officials are supposed to represent the people. It seems clear that a fair number of people in town no longer are comfortable with his representation. They are pursuing an avenue available under law to remove him because they lack confidence in his representation. That is sufficient under Colorado law, which requires no reason be given for the recall.

You don't own that office, sir -- the people do. Let them speak.


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