Let’s talk about racism, Mr. Mayor. In the July edition of the Mayor’s Roundtable, Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad suggested that people in the community of Sandpoint are “white supremacists” and “xenophobes.” Based on the words and actions of a few individuals, our mayor made harmful generalizations about our community. He asked the city to fund an “inclusivity initiative”. As further proof of the mayor’s perceived community-wide racism, the Sandpoint Reader published an article the week of Aug. 8 about a visiting San Francisco-based band who reported they were the victims of racism in downtown Sandpoint. Did the band members have any evidence that the person who committed this act was a local community member? Take into consideration that at the time of this incident Sandpoint was flooded with tourists for the The Festival at Sandpoint. It cannot be assumed that this act was committed by a local community member.
The mayor has failed to provide evidence that this is a community-wide issue requiring a community-wide solution. Do we allow the mayor to misrepresent our entire community and request to use public funds to legislate a non-issue? What else is going on here? As a local community member I hope that the mayor’s initiative request is dismissed as unnecessary and harmful to our community. I hope for the next election voters will remember the mayor’s divisive hyperbole.