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Why what Joyce Hatton said was wrong

Tribune Staff • Apr 28, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Joyce Hatton sees nothing wrong with her comment comparing Spring Lake’s parking ordinance to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

We do.

Hatton is upset that the Village of Spring Lake wants to charge residents to park in front of their own homes. That’s fine. As the village president, Hatton is certainly well within her rights to express her disgust of the new ordinance, which Village Council approved earlier this week.

Comparing that parking ordinance to the Holocaust, however, is entirely out of line.

During the Holocaust, approximately 6 million Jews lost their lives to Adolf Hitler’s Nazis. The Nazis, who came into power in Germany in the early 1930s, believed Germans were racially superior to the Jews. As a result, the Nazis killed two of every three Jew living in Germany. Another 200,0000 Gypsies were killed, along with 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients living in institutions across Germany.

Comparing it to a parking inconvenience completely minimizes the horror of the Holocaust — one of the greatest tragedies in human history.

If Hatton’s comments were off the cuff and were later apologized for, that would be one thing. But that’s not the case.

When contacted by a Tribune reporter a few days after her comments, Hatton stood by her words, claiming she thinks the village would be like “a police state” if it adopts the new parking ordinance.

“By accusing them of acting like Hitler did with the Jews is pretty tough talk,” Hatton said of her work session comments.

But did she regret making the comments? “No, not at all.”

That’s a problem.

Hatton should publicly apologize for her comments and acknowledge that her statements were entirely inappropriate for a civil servant.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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