I wrote a story that appears in today's newspaper about a news conference called by State Reps. Todd Stephens and Mike Vereb, and Montgomery District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, about a Norristown ordinance aimed at reducing disorderly conduct that also ended up penalizing a domestic-violence victim who called police to report abuse. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on the ordinance on behalf of a domestic-abuse victim who stopped calling police during incidents because she feared she would be evicted from her rental home as a result of the ordinance.
Here are fuller comments from Norristown Municipal Council President Gary H. Simpson, responding to the news conference and criticism of the ordinance.
"I am not certain if the two state representatives or MontCo’s D.A. are familiar with all the facts surrounding this matter. We believe, the prudent thing for them to do would be to reach out and speak with council instead of calling a press conference. When you look at it from the outside, one would think this press conference had some political overtones. Nowhere, in this current ordinance does it suggest we are not sympathetic to those victims of domestic violence. Council is looking to protect not only those who suffer from these deplorable acts, but also, those who believe they deserve a better quality of life. We are looking to place greater levels of accountability on the landlords. Instead of renting substandard units, they should focus on cleaning up their properties and using every tool in the toolbox to make certain they are providing a clean, safe and respectable living environment for their tenants and the residents of the community."