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From the start, I have been very consistent: promote a neat, clean, and legally defendable anti-discrimination ordinance with the housing and employment legs, and either eliminate or work through the public accommodations portion until it could gain broad community buy in and be legally defendable." - Sharon Parry

Sharon D. Parry has been on Idaho Falls City Council since November 2007 and is running for mayor.

"There are so many important issues in this mayoral race, and they all need to be discussed," Parry said. "However, I recognize the important issues surrounding the anti-discrimination ordinance and want to be responsive to concerns expressed."

Thus, on Sept. 18, Parry issued a Position Paper on the Idaho Falls 2013 Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.

Since December, I have listened to several dozen personal stories about why we should have an antidiscrimination ordinance. I have one too. A smart and wonderful friend of mine received her degree and had agreat, professional, white-color job until recently. As soon as my friend came out of the closet, she was fired.

An anti-discrimination ordinance might have prevented the loss of her job.

Why This Position Paper
"On September 12, 2013, I voted for passage of the city anti-discrimination ordinance without the public accommodations section," Parry wrote.  "This pleased many and displeased some on both sides of the issue." There has been, however, significant confusion over this ordinance, and despite my writing a guest opinion which appeared in the Post Register on September 5, 2013 (Attachment 1), confusion over and intentional distortion of my views  on the public accommodations portion of the ordinance have surfaced, according to the candidate.
In the spirit of having an accessible and open campaign, I have allowed extensive comments on my Facebook Page, most from certain leaders in the LGBT community who are critical of my vote and cast fairly harsh aspersions against me personally. This has been disappointing as I have many friends in the LGBT community and have worked hundreds of hours toward a consensus on what I view as a very important issue. Although I have posted numerous comments and responses on my Facebook page (Attachments 2 and 3), one would have to spend hours reading and compiling these statements. Hence, the purpose of this piece is to consolidate and compile my position on the ordinance in context.

In January I said to the LGBT community that I would promote a neat and clean ordinance with housing and employment legs. LGBT activist Theron McGriff is right-- I also did say that I would work toward unanimous support among the council. I believed at the time, and I still believe, that the two legs were not too controversial, and unanimous support could be attained.

Then the neat and clean ordinance got side tracked (see Attachment 1). Three months later, in April, I met with our new city attorney and two council members. In that meeting, council members Tom and Karen insisted that the public accommodations portion be included in the first draft because other Idaho cities were including it or had already included it by then. I distinctly said that I was not in favor of a including a public accommodations portion written for other cities. I had read many other cities' versions of the public accommodations portion, and I knew it was a quagmire. Anyone who knows me knows I am a stickler for details and doing my homework. Nevertheless, the first draft included public accommodations because two council members outnumbered me.

In order to put an ordinance into law, Idaho requires three separate readings (essentially an ordinance needs to come before the council at three separate meetings). This law, however, can be suspended, and the three council, and that takes a steady hand at the helm.

In the end, as I predicted, the two legs of the ordinance did have broad-based support, and they were not overly controversial.

Parry continues:

All sides
Parry said that One very key component of my platform is “accessible and open government.” Those who have followed my statements and actions as a member of the City Council know that the importance of this concept is not new to me as I have advocated for more openness and accessibility on numerous occasions, sometimes very publicly, she continues, going on to say:

As an extension of this concept to my campaign, I have made myself and my views open to all—to the point where I have placed my cell phone number on several thousand campaign brochures (523-6339). I have always been a big advocate of opening city hall for all residents to speak. If I refuse to listen to one side or the other, I am not doing my job. Among the hundreds of people on all sides of the ordinance I have met, talked to on the phone, read their emails and read their postcards, I met with Brett Wright. I have known Brett for 15 years or so, and have admired his long and generous service to our community in many ways. Long before I knew of the postcards, Brett and I sat down to discuss the ordinance at his request. About that time, I also met with four transgender people at their request, and with Pastor Todd Wood at his request, and as with all others, I carefully considered their input. Brett stated his support of the two legs of the ordinance without support of the public accommodations portion, and I said that was essentially the same position I had taken (see Attachment 1). A couple days after our meeting, Brett mailed a donation to my campaign, and I received it in my mailbox several days before the postcards arrived. Hence, I only saw the postcards when everyone else did. The 2nd  and 3rd  postcards arrived in my home mailbox; we never received the first postcard in our mailbox for some reason. Although this will be on my upcoming campaign reports, I have no qualms in stating that Brett was in general agreement with my basic position, impressed by the extensive research I had done, and contributed to my campaign.Before the emotionally charged rhetoric emerged these past few weeks, Brett clearly stated to me and to others that he was in favor of the housing and employment legs of the ordinance.

Read the rest of her position paper here.

Prior to serving on the city council,  Parry was elected to three terms on the Idaho Falls School District Board of Trustees, and she served over 8 years on the city's Planning and Zoning Commission. Sharon holds a master's degree in education, and has done doctoral work. She is an avid whitewater raft guiding and is a practicing fiddler. Sharon and her husband, Idaho Falls attorney Steven R. Parry, have three grown children -Matthew a graduate of medical school, Derek in law school, and Lauren in public administration graduate school. Sharon is grandmother to one very cute Evelyn Lovell Parry.

Sharon's Mayoral Platform:

    SAFETY:  Formulate a Mayor's Safety Plan; Redesign the fire department, including fire and EMS coverage for every neighborhood. Maintain Our Great Drinking Water. Aim for Safe Street Designs and Street Re-designs for Bikes and Pedestrians. Promote Volunteerism and Community Service. A Safer Location for a Splash Park where Children can Safely Come and Go.

    ECONOMY:  Business Diversification and Development. Lower Tax Levy Rate to Encourage New Jobs. Responsible Use of Your Tax Dollars. Maintain Low Electric and City Fees. INL Research and Development. Promote the concept that the new dollars coming from annexation and new construction should be put to best use.

    A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE AND VISIT: And LET'S CREATE A... (Go to the Work To Do page of this website to find out). Balance all of these important interests: Zoning, Gateways, Parks, Library, Airport, Recreation, Developments, City Services, Higher Education, Tourist Sites, The Arts

    ACCESSIBLE AND OPEN GOVERNMENT:  Conduct the public's business in public.  Put the mayor’s office and city council in the best light—sunshine! Bring back council committee meetings where everyone is welcome to participate, and council members are unfettered in their responsibilities.

    Design Optimize Idaho Falls-- Mayor's Economic Plan
    No new city office of economic developement
    Create Open City Hall, IFTexts, Serve Idaho Falls, City Speakers Bureau, I.F.Playz-- on-line forums, messaging, updates for civic engagement and open city government, qr codes, and community calendars
    Establish a "Good Citizen/Good Government" Award

Sharon's 4 areas of focus:
Safety, Economy, Tourism/Beautification, & Open Government

For more information, see:

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