Monday, April 14, 2003
Town outlaws compliance with Patriot Act.
Arcata, that tiny North Coast bastion of the robustly liberal, has quietly made itself the first city in the nation to outlaw voluntary compliance with the USA Patriot Act.
Town leaders know their new law outlawing the bigger law is probably illegal. And they don't know anyone local who's had troubles because of the Patriot Act.
But the very existence of the sweeping federal policy -- passed by Congress swiftly after Sept. 11, 2001, to expand powers to search, conduct surveillance and throw people in jail during terrorism probes -- so rubbed them the wrong way that they felt they had to make a stand.
So about a week ago, the Arcata City Council approved an ordinance telling its management workers they cannot "officially assist or voluntarily cooperate" with any investigators trying to carry out what the city considers provisions of the Patriot Act that violate the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.