• Joseph A. Colombo

All Power to the Council?

Since the beginning of her campaign, Ward 5 City Councilor Laura Salamendra has been a self-proclaimed activist fighting for the voice of “The People” to be heard.


“All Power to the People!” has been a phrase she has posted repeatedly on her social media, said during public events, and even expressed during Geneva city council meetings. It makes complete sense as to why this is the amateur councilor’s go-to phrase. The radical political group she is a member of, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), preaches “Power to the People” to make young, impressionable minds believe that they are being fully oppressed by their government, and must regain control through activism.

Power to the People Sign on Salamedra's Front Door

This psychological manipulation is clever on the part of the PSL AND their loyal member, Salamendra. Both stand to gain misguided, activist foot soldiers from this quote. Followers who believe they are fighting for their own voices to be heard, when in fact they are fighting for their own future oppression under their end goal of a communist regime. The Party for Socialism and Liberation is an anti-capitalist, anti-police, communist/Marxist militia. If you aren’t familiar with their mission, we strongly recommend you research them. They have a strong following, right here in Geneva.


“All Power to the People” is strategic (as are all of the phrases commonly used by the PSL) call to create activists who will fight for a cause they will never fully understand, until it’s too late… but we digress.


Ironically, Councilor Salamendra’s favorite phrase seems NOT to apply, conveniently, when it comes to the idea of a Police Review Board in Geneva. In fact, Salamendra’s stance regarding the PRB is “NO Power to the People, ALL Power to the Government/Councilors!” A stance misaligned with the very essence of her anti-system approach.

Prior to amending the Geneva City Charter, a public hearing must always be held. This hearing gives the public an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed change and, in turn, gives the councilors the chance to hear feedback on the law from those they represent- before they vote on the proposed amendment.


So what did “The People” say during the Public Hearing for Local Law 1-2021, and about the creation of a Police Review Board in their city?


THE PEOPLE OVERWHELMINGLY SAID NO!

Despite the fact that the meeting took place in a virtual setting, one hundred and ten people offered public comment in regards to the creation of the PRB.


44 comments were in favor of the Police Review Board.

66 comments were fully opposed to its creation.


But, what was heard the loudest that night, by far, was a petition presented to Councilor At-Large Anthony Noone, who then presented it to council. This petition, backed by 321 City of Geneva residents and taxpayers, expressed absolute opposition to Local Law 1-2021 and requested that it be “abandoned in its entirety”.


Imagine the public’s utter confusion when the Geneva City Council ultimately voted to approve Local Law 1-2021, changing the city’s charter for the first time in over 30 years (in the midst of a pandemic), to create a police review board that was opposed 7 to 1 during the public hearing.

Salamendra Preparing for a Protest

How could the Geneva City Council pass a new local law in good conscience, when it was so heavily opposed at the public hearing? If certain councilors are no longer listening to the residents of their wards, then just who are they listening to? Has the Party for Socialism and Liberation gained a few more loyal followers (who just so happen to be Geneva city councilors)? What other issues would this council of “representatives” tackle in their next 3 years in office, while disregarding and dismissing the will of their constituents?


These huge questions are what motivated a group of concerned Genevans to embark on a search for answers. Thus Geneva United a bi-partisan coalition of concerned residents, taxpayers, and business owners was formed.


Through generous donations, Geneva United quickly raised enough funds to retain legal counsel in an effort to put Local Law 1-2021 to a referendum. To put it plainly, Geneva United (GU) wants to put the fate of the Police Review Board to a public vote, and not simply a vote by council.


The GU attorney drew up all legal paperwork for a formal petition for referendum, and the group went to work right away to gain the 574 signatures needed to present the petition to the city clerk. With less than a week to secure in-person signatures, they were able to easily surpass the minimum requirement before the submission deadline.


The legal petition formally requesting a public vote on the matter of Local Law 1-2021 has been presented to the Geneva City Council by submitting the petition to City Clerk Lori Guinan. The councilors will then be faced with making an incredibly important and telling decision. Will they continue to ignore the concerns surrounding the PRB and refuse the peoples request for referendum? Or, will they take this legal petition seriously, as they should, approve a public referendum, and let GENEVANS decide whether a Police Review Board is right for their city?

Salamedra Believing The Power to the People

Certainly, the Police Review Board would be better received, or rejected, by the city as a whole if the city, as a whole, voted on it. A public vote would put the fate of the PRB in Geneva in the hands of, well, Geneva.

If Councilor Laura Salamendra really believes in giving “All Power to the People” she and other councilors will certainly support putting to a public vote, and allowing “the People” to decide for themselves whether they want a Police Review Board in their city.


Councilor Salamendra, if you truly believe in giving “The Power to the People” you will support the public referendum. If not, perhaps you should consider changing your favorite phrase to what you actually mean when you say it- which is “All Power to the Anti-Police Communists.”

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