Last year, members of a local church working with other churches and through a third party organization made requests for a City Resolution promoting their fair trade cause and were turned down. Yet, with the zeal of never-ending door-to-door preaching they continue to make requests of the City of La Mesa elected officials for them to provide a publically paid for resolution in support of their church ministry for social justice through the same third party fair trade organization. FOI requests from city hall has resulted in several documents posted here. This is no small effort, as the church's world wide efforts are teamed with for-profit companies and national coordinators to have local officials, falling prey to heart rendering pleadings, use public resources and the good and valued name of the City of La Mesa in this effort to endorse their particular religious based view of political and business fairness.
Government should not endorse or promote a sectarian religious view on what business practices and marketing strategies are fair and, by extension, then make a determination which others not so organized are unfair or worse, evil. It is not surprising that some of the more ardent fair trade advocates exhibit an institutionalized hostility towards those persons and business' who do chose to not convert to the their world wide program and style of social justice. It is eerily similar to religious fundamentalists zealotry behavior around the world. An interesting part of this battle is the schism over Fair Trade claims of their superior program where different groups are competing in the "my Fair Trade is better than your fair trade" holy coffee and chocolate wars. Just as in the full-on religious competitive market place of ideas, so the various fair trade factions call out and use different methods to bring converts to their truth. Still, fairness and equality, as decided by the purveyors of in-vogue political and religious correctness, must not trump our liberty, or direct taxpayer funded resources.
There has been, and even now is, nothing stopping the fair trade proponents from shouting their message far and wide with their own energy and resources and enlisting all who choose to participate. Indeed, they have claimed they are making successful converts to their cause at this writing by such efforts. In a normal business this would be seen as progress, and even success. Their own publications even speak of this success and that I say congratulations. However, this is obviously not enough for the national fair trade holy ministers who demand by virtue of their battle plan that the local fair trade missionaries obtain the coup d'état endorsing resolution as proof of our city's official baptism in the cleansing holy waters of fairness and rebirth to their new and everlasting fair trade covenant. This would be the local desciples' crowning achievement in this global outreach and conversion effort. It would further allow for this local victory in the war with the sin of unfairly derived or distributed profit to be trumpeted hither and thither that more local enemies of their social justice political agenda have been cut down by the mighty sword of the fair trade gospel.
In as much as the local fair trader movement folks have publicly stated and continue to write that they will never stop proselyting for a resolution, it is incumbent upon the rest of us to remind our local elected officials, as often as is necessary, of their duty to the entire citizenry to keep the city government aloof from, not controlled by or beholden to any particular religious sectarian beliefs, regardless of the attractive secular packaging, or their own similar religious affiliations.
The city council members should not agree to this wish list item simply because they see "no problem" with it. If they do they are exhibiting the worst kind of sloppy, unstudied and illprepared stewardship of the public trust. Rather they should be jealously guarding against any frivolous and unwarranted use of taxpayer resouces or intrustion on sacred individual rights. Only upon the most careful and deliberatly debated cause should the power or influence of the city government, in the name of the citizenry, be considered.
If the city council wishes to go down this road they should also be prepared to support front groups heavily supported by other religious and political organizations with their own social position to promote. How about the City Council pass a equal resolution for fast food perveyors, including Chick-Fil-A and In-and-Out Burger, who happen to use their interpretation of their sacred texts in their business model and marketing? Or the city elected officials may individually and personally endorse the group and it's mission on their own as private citizens without any reference, connection or slightest appearance that they speak for the City, the same as they would any other political or religious issue.
But better still, no matter how often the religious sectarian fair trade advocates request a resolution supporting their profit making, religious based, big corporation backed marketing scheme, it need not be brought forward by an elected official or even entertained at the city council level. Just as one must deal with swarming youngsters who simply "want", the firm answer "NO" must always be the same for this or any similar group, so that all know La Mesa Citizens govern themselves without coercion or false pretense. In fact, the City Council should abide by a policy adopted in 2009, in a 5-0 vote by each current elected official, pertaining to requests to place items on the Council's agenda. The last sentence is as follows:
The Council shall only consider items requested by the public which directly impact City administration or operations.
This FTT request fits neither criteria. Let instead a message of true fairness for all be reinforced. The freedom for these well meaning political social justice advocates to promote their religious based messages with neither the help, nor the hinderence, of city hall and citizens decide for themselves what to believe, and what to buy.