Chelsea Community Forum Summary for May 8, 2021

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The Chelsea Community Forum Summary for May 8, 2021, provided by forum moderator Vince Elie:

The Chelsea Community Forum met, via Zoom, on the 8th of May. Approximately 10 people participated. The Forum opened with a housekeeping task and the attendees agreed to delete previous CCF recordings rather than pay for an increase in storage capacity.

The group reviewed our discussion guidelines and chose two topics to discuss:

1) Why is the city having another audit done of the police department?

The Bruce Judge Report concluded that there were no laws broken, but CPD did act in a manner that was perceived to be intimidating, as evidenced by the use of photographing protesters. Other members opined that the report was mildly critical, but that the department is well run. There were concerns voiced about “stakeholders” being a euphemism for outsiders and leading to another “long hot summer,” because the audit may go beyond its scope and try to find things that are “not there.” Others voiced the concern that the police, in view of the Court’s ruling that the issued citations were unconstitutional and the city’s decision not to appeal the ruling, would not be able to enforce certain ordinances and/or would have to issue felony warrants if the ordinances were ignored. Others believe that Chelsea Police Department is good but is tasked with situations in which they are not trained, i.e., mental health crisis events. This raised the question of the mental health millage that was passed a couple of years ago. Another felt the expenditure of $30,000 was not warranted and the city council had abrogated their responsibility of city departmental oversight. It was also noted that city council members are not experts in policing, that the audit was a responsible use of our tax dollars and was in response to the city’s listening sessions regarding the events of the political and pandemic summer of 2020.

2) The “Wrong Crowd” and its future?

Attendees voiced a common concern regarding our nation’s discourse and the fear that we continue to move into “two different planets” and deep within our own tribes. “We have lost the ability to listen,” said one participant. Another stated, “we need to have discussions about painful things.” Another asked, “can we function as a democracy, based upon where we are, as a nation, in our discourse?” Others noted that they were optimistic, as we “share more things in common and our differences are at the margins, but our discourse has become coarsened because social media enables the expression of anger and ridicule without consequences.” Many expressed the desire for our country to have open, non-judgmental, and honest discussions similar to what was experienced Saturday morning during our Chelsea Community Forum Coffee Klatch or as sometimes called: “The Hour of Power!”

The next Chelsea Community Forum is scheduled for June 12 at 9 AM. The Chelsea Community Forum is open to all with an interest in the affairs of the Chelsea School District area and meets the 2nd Saturday of every month at 9:00 AM, currently on Zoom. The meeting link can be found on the Forum’s website: https://sites.google.com/site/chelseamiforum/home

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