Submitted by the League of Women Voters of Lake Forest & Lake Bluff:
The League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff requests the Lake Forest City Council hold a public meeting on July 18th to discuss a city ordinance regarding regulation on assault weapons. The League believes that democratic government depends on informed and active participation by citizens, and government needs to give adequate notice of proposed actions by holding open meetings.
After the City Council meeting held July 1, everyone in the audience, watching on TV, reading media accounts, or downloading the video believed there would be another meeting on July 15th. While the Mayor, Aldermen, and City Manager acknowledged they would be “under the gun” to draft and approve an ordinance, they all agreed there was enough time to do so. They wanted a “placeholder” ordinance that would preserve the City’s rights as a home rule community to legislate assault weapons as the City Council may deem necessary. Alderman Palmer’s earlier recommendation of “do nothing” was not considered. City Manager Kiely advised the City Council and audience how passing an ordinance in one day is possible.
The audience fully expected to be able to participate in the City Council meeting on July 15th, with the reading of a new proposed ordinance. With a changing society and other developments, for future city councils retaining the City’s home rule authority is important.
On Friday afternoon, July 12th some people learned that a proposed ordinance was not on the agenda for the following Monday meeting. By removing this item from the agenda, the City Council is taking the “no action” step. This decision has been made without public input. In the interest of transparency, the public’s right to know, and the public good, the City Council should hold a meeting immediately while there is still time to pass an ordinance. The public has not had an opportunity to address some aldermen’s overriding concerns about constitutionality and cost of lawsuits. While some information has been presented, other facts have not. Public awareness of the issues is growing and many people want to be heard.
A new meeting should be possible, as the Mayor previously told City Manager Kiely that the City Council members will be wherever they need to be to do whatever needs to be done. The Community Engagement Meeting for July 18 can be changed.
With the City’s concern for open government, the League calls on the Mayor and aldermen to set a new timely public meeting.