Mayor advocates for pledge

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Elk River Mayor John Dietz is hoping the city’s boards and commissions will begin reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings.

The Elk River City Council has started its meetings with the pledge since Dietz suggested it in 2011.

Now he hopes other city officials will follow suit. He asked council members at their April 15 meeting if they were OK with having all board and commissions recite the pledge at the start of their meetings.

But Council Member Paul Motin balked at requiring it, saying it should be left up to the boards and commissions to decide.

“I don’t think we should necessarily be mandating what they want to do,” Motin said. “I’m fine with it if they do it … I don’t like to force speech on somebody or to keep them from speaking.”

Motin suggested recommending rather than requiring the pledge.

The council agreed by consensus to ask the city’s boards and commissions to consider reciting the pledge at the start of their meetings, but not require them to do so.

The pledge was originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892. It was formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942.