Homeland Security tops Oak Creek meeting

Board of Trustees will discuss resolution opposing USA Patriot Act

— The Oak Creek Board of Trustees says Homeland Security has gone too far in its efforts to quell terrorism.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. tonight to discuss a resolution opposing the recently passed USA Patriot Act.

"It gives examples of provisions of the act that violate our constitutional rights," Oak Creek Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said. "But, the results of the resolution are nothing really, except showing our disapproval of the act."

On October 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the 342-page USAPA into law, giving more power to both domestic law enforcement and international intelligence agencies to invade the privacy of U.S. citizens in an effort to quell terrorism.

The new law did away with the checks and balances that previously gave courts the authority to ensure law enforcement powers were not abused. It also has many provisions that are not aimed at terrorism at all and are more focused on domestic computer crimes, according to an analysis of the act by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

While some sections of the document seem appropriate, the Oak Creek Board of Trustees says many, such as nationwide roving wiretaps, are inappropriate.

With nationwide roving wiretaps, the FBI or CIA can now go from phone to phone, computer to computer without any evidence that one is a suspect of a crime.

The Oak Creek Town Board is not the only local governmental body condemning this new law. The city of Boulder passed a similar resolution, called the Civil Rights and Liberties Resolution.

Boulder Deputy Mayor Tom Eldridge said he doesn't agree with the resolution.

"I philosophically don't think that we ought to do those things with relation to resolutions against national government," Eldridge said. "I mean, we all wish those kinds of things weren't necessary and didn't happen, but they're here. And, that's the unfortunate part of life."

Still, the majority vote from Boulder City Council was in favor of the resolution and passed it on July 23, 2002.

In other action to be taken be the Oak Creek Board of Trustees, Trustee John Crawford will discuss Oak Creek's snow removal ordinance.

The ordinance calls for downtown shop owners to have snow removed from the sidewalks by noon on business days, or the town will have someone else do it and bill the merchants. Crawford says the merchants need more time to remove the snow and the noon deadline should be pushed back.

Also up for discussion is pay for on-call public works employees. Now, on-call employees are paid four hours of wages.

"The question is, if they actually get called out and have to work, do they get paid time and a half or time and a half after four hours?" Crawford said.

Also at the meeting, the board is expected to draft a formal response to a letter from the Routt County Board of Commissioners asking for a decision regarding payment of disputed a disputed bill from the Routt County Sheriff's Office for covering Oak Creek law enforcement during a period of time when the town did not have its own police force.

"The county believes that the town owes more money for this," Crawford said. "The town's argument is that they have paid what the contract says they were to pay."

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