Hopkinsville City Councilman Darvin A. Adams I released a letter to the media at 5 p.m. Tuesday, urging his fellow council members to table the first reading of the nonpartisan election ordinance at tonight's meeting.
In the letter, the Ward 1 councilman states:
"Many residents have labeled Nonpartisan Elections in Hopkinsville as the COVID 19 Bill or the 2020 Corona Virus Bill. A lot of people see Nonpartisan Elections as a piece of legislation that is being implemented during the 'interrupted downtime of churches, businesses, schools; not to mention the cancellations of many events and meetings coupled with employment crises and economic uncertainty'; all created by the COVID 19 pandemic. Or they see it as something that is being done virtually or privately in a very sneaky and unethical way. Public support has either been lukewarm, abstract or mysterious in that many of our Ward constituents are not versed in the doctrine of Nonpartisan Elections. Historically and politically, they have been identified by their choice of party. Their political identification is, in essence, what they are used to voting when they go to polls to cast their individual vote. Whether one votes their straight party ticket or they take their time to vote within all parties for whom they feel is the best candidate, their primary voting identification is still within their choice of party. This is the case for democrats, republicans and independents alike.
The City Council does not know enough about the particulars of what we are trying to vote on; nor do we know enough about Nonpartisan Elections, generally speaking, to push this legislation through while we are in the seasons of uncertainty and crisis. We are also the middle of the 2020 election season and this strategic attempt to implement nonpartisan elections only adds to the overall confusion of how our constituents should cast their votes in the upcoming primary and general elections. As elected leaders of the city, we should not make a hasty or rushed decision during an election year which features the COVID 19 pandemic. There are issues of timing, issues of motive, issues of method and various other informational unknowns that are at play when it comes to the Council pushing this very important piece of legislation throughout the city of Hopkinsville in virtual zoom meetings.
"Because there are many people who are in favor of Nonpartisan Elections and many who are not in favor of Nonpartisan Elections, it is an issue that should not be decided amongst 11 or 12 City Council members in a virtual City Council meeting; at least not until we can physically get back in the City Council chambers for an in-person meeting where we can hear what the residents of the city of Hopkinsville have to say. Subsequently, the city of Hopkinsville should be able to look us in faces and observe us publicly as we make such a critical decision; one in which has consequences for everyone who is registered to vote. The lack of transparency and legitimacy that is associated with Council's stewarding of the city makes for a difficult process. Because there is too much confusion, too many unanswered questions and too many unknowns, I make the motion that we table the vote for the first reading for the purposes of creating a committee headed by Councilmen Parker, Johnson, Henson and others to define all of the particulars of this legislation; and allowing the constituents of our Wards to express their concerns and state their respective positions."
Adams said in his email he plans to read the letter at tonight's city council meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. The nonpartisan elections ordinance is on the agenda.