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News / Clark County News

Clark County to hold another public hearing on ‘In God We Trust’ motto

Concilor Madore says he wants additional input

By Kaitlin Gillespie
Published: February 19, 2015, 12:00am

After saying he did not want to waste any more time on the issue, Clark County Councilor David Madore said on Wednesday he wants to host a second public hearing on posting “In God We Trust” in the county’s public hearing room.

At Wednesday’s board time, Madore recommended that the council wait to vote on the issue until after giving people the opportunity to speak again. Acting County Manager Mark McCauley said he would add it to next Tuesday’s consent agenda.

“In this setting, it doesn’t provide for citizens to be able to participate,” Madore said.

Board times do not include time for public comment, though about 15 people attended Wednesday’s meeting, clapping and booing at several points.

Madore said on Feb. 10, after Councilor Jeanne Stewart said she wouldn’t support the motion, that he wanted the board to appear unanimous on the issue.

However, Madore backtracked on Wednesday, saying he didn’t second the motion because he didn’t want to rush into a decision, adding that he wanted to hear more comments from the public.

“We could hear something we didn’t consider before,” Madore said. “We could hear compelling arguments.”

When a Columbian reporter asked Madore for additional comment, he refused.

Councilor Tom Mielke, however, pointed out that the county has already heard public comment. Mielke championed the proposal more than a month ago after In God We Trust-America, an organization from Bakersfield, Calif., reached out to him to fight to display the national motto somewhere in the Clark County Public Service Center.

“We had some people call it frivolous, time-wasting,” Mielke said. “I think that’s exactly what I think that would be if we had another hearing consisting of another two, two-and-a-half hours,”

In addition to nearly three hours of public comment on Feb. 10, the council also discussed the issue during board time on Wednesday, Feb. 11, and heard about another dozen people speak for and against the issue at Tuesday’s public hearing.

Stewart, meanwhile, suggested waiting to discuss adopting any motto until after the November election, which will bring two new councilors to the dais, so that it does not appear the three current councilors are making self-serving decisions.

“It’s to find a way that we can move forward on this collaboratively, rather than what has ended up being more divisive than it ever should have been,” she said.

Mielke and Madore, however, both disagreed with Stewart.

“We make important decisions,” Mielke said. “I’m not going to put them off until we have five (councilors) sitting here. We have business to do and now’s the time to do it.”

The council will revisit the issue on Tuesday at its 10 a.m. hearing in the hearing room on the sixth floor of the Clark County Public Service Center on 1300 Franklin St.