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Morro Bay council passes resolutions on abortion, health care 

Should local governing bodies take stances on issues they can't pass laws on? Ask the Morro Bay City Council.

In recent weeks, council members have weighed in on hot button state and federal issues, leading some residents to question the productivity of doing so.

click to enlarge HOT TOPICS The Morro Bay City Council has passed a couple resolutions lately expressing their support for state and federal legislation. Some community members think they overstepped. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • HOT TOPICS The Morro Bay City Council has passed a couple resolutions lately expressing their support for state and federal legislation. Some community members think they overstepped.

On Jan. 25, the council passed a resolution "affirming the city of Morro Bay's support of reproductive freedom." Then, on Feb. 8, the council passed a resolution of support for AB 1400, the California bill covering health care for all. That legislation died in the appropriations committee at the beginning of the month, City Manager Scott Collins said at the Feb. 8 meeting.

Councilmember Dawn Addis, who requested that the reproductive rights resolution be brought before the council, told New Times she believes it's important that council members make their voices heard on these issues.

"In the greatest state in the nation, there is no reason for millions of people to go without adequate access to health care or to reproductive care," she wrote in an emailed statement. "We know that when any community member goes without, it hurts all of us. It's incumbent upon each of us to do what we can to help each other."

During the Feb. 8 meeting, Councilmember Jeff Heller questioned where the resolution on health care for all came from.

"I was surprised to see it," he said.

Collins replied that the four other council members—Addis, Jennifer Ford, Laurel Barton, and Mayor John Headding—supported bringing the health care resolution forward at the previous council meeting.

"One could argue that ... there's a connection between this item and the City Council goal of community health," Collins said.

Heller was the sole dissenting vote for the reproductive rights resolution, calling it an inappropriate issue for the council to opine on. He also voted no on the health care resolution.

"We seem to have morphed into bringing things forward that we don't really have jurisdiction over," Heller said on Feb. 8.

Some community members agreed that the council was overstepping its bounds. During public comment on Feb. 8, Morro Bay resident Carolyn Brinkman said that while she personally supports reproductive rights and universal health care, she doesn't support the council passing resolutions about these issues.

"I realize that the resolution before you states that the council supports health care for all Californians, but as elected officials, you in essence speak for all of us," Brinkman wrote. "Both resolutions don't respect the reality that they support a position on complex issues about which people in Morro Bay may passionately and even painfully disagree."

Others questioned the council's motives.

"The City Council should never approve this type of resolution supporting a statewide, very political issue just to help a member, Dawn Addis, in her campaign for state Assembly," Lorie Noble of Morro Bay wrote in.

Yet, other community members felt differently.

"As college students, my husband and I had a very sick child and no health insurance" wrote Morro Bay resident Lynda Merrill in a public comment. "We all suffered. We need a health care for all for the people of California for so many reasons."

Addis stood by the council's actions.

"I'll always fight for the right to reproductive care and high quality health care," she told New Times. Δ

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