Seeking clarity on statement in December column

To the Editor:

Your "About the Observer" column states that "If you're writing a news article it should be clear and factual." That is the basis for my question regarding the "Heights of Democracy" article [in the December issue].

Regarding the proposed legislation, the article contains the statement: The ordinance would not violate state or federal laws.

Although this article is on the Opinion page, the above statement seems to be stating a fact. Neither of the authors is a lawyer or a judge, so what is the basis for the statement?

According to the article in the Sun News, the ordinance is still being reviewed by the city's law director. So, I need to question whether or not the statement in the Observer article is factual.

Can someone please clarify this issue for me? Thank you very much for your response.

Craig A. Hoffman
Cleveland Heights

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Editor's reply:

Thanks for taking the time to write, and asking the question.

As editor of the December “Heights of Democracy” column, I understood the statement to mean that the ordinance under consideration “would not violate state or federal laws.”

I’ve run your query by the writers; one replied with the following information: “I think Mr. Hoffman asks a very good question, and his point that the proposed ordinance is still being looked at by the city law department is, as far as I know, true.

"The statement in the column is based on Section 1 (l) of the proposed ordinance, which states, 'Any part or provision of this Section which is found to be prohibited by State or Federal law shall be ineffective to the extent of such prohibition without invalidating the remaining provisions.'

"Perhaps we erred on the side of brevity. It might have been more accurate if we had written that the intention of the proposed ordinance is not to violate any state or federal law.”

The proposed ordinance [Ordinance No. 106-2017 (PSH) Proposed Substitute] that the writers referenced can be found on the city’s website, as part of the packet for the Nov. 13 city council meeting:

Kim Sergio Inglis
Heights Observer editor

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:52 AM, 12.18.2017