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Specific Promises Broken

Promises, Promises !
City Council’s Broken Commitments

Promises & assurances from the City Council from the 1-14-03 Council discussion of the Downtown Ordinances, followed in brackets by those making the assurances, and/or responsible for implementing them.

Promise: A continuing dialogue [Reilly]

"We fail when we do things that lead to less dialogue." -- Reilly
"We never engaged in the process of dialogue." -- Guzley
"It's of paramount importance that we do [this] in a way that includes all of the people in the community, and extends the offer to continue to talk about this." -- Reilly
"It's vital that dialogue continue." -- Reilly
"It's really important to me that the people who are involved in this are the ones who come up with the solutions." -- Reilly
"Great. We all get involved in dialogue with different people in the community." -- Reilly

Reality: No dialogue All discussion has been in secret. Nothing announced. Critics ignored or abused.


Promise: Positive signage, maps, and printed material [Bernal]

"We also need signage that's positive and celebratory." -- Reilly
"We direct the City Manager to make adequate public signage, maps, and printed material readily available to hosts, police, et al., detailing instructions on permits, penalties for violations, maps of exemption areas, etc.
These are to be developed ASAP." -- Kennedy
"Yes, we'll develop brochures." -- Bernal

Reality: No material. The same inaccurate maps were recently used in the Bench controversy.


Promise: --Stream-lined permit process [Bernal]

"Direct staff for permits. .. City manager says no problem [with permits]." -- Kennedy

Reality: No Permit Process. Staff huddled in panic after recent “juggling? permit request.


Promise: Authority of the Council to mediate any merchant/performer disputes [Kennedy/Reilly]

"The Mayor or Vice Mayor can intercede in disputes. ... Use the authority of the Council to ask merchants to sit down with performers and tablers. ... take an active role in this." -- Kennedy
"When problems arise and informal processes fail, Council will give direction to the Mayor, a commission, task force, etc., to convene stakeholders to identify issued and find solutions." -- Kennedy
"If merchants are indifferent or not responsive ... insofar as the city has any authority or influence, we can use that to bring people into discussion. ... the city can play a positive, even forceful role, and we're just
acknowledging that." -- Kennedy
"I applaud Scott for the one month timing on the exemption zones." -- Fitzmaurice

Reality: No mediation, abolition of Citizens Police Review, rejection of Conable’s planter mediation plan.


Promise: “Exemption zones' have to be identified {Kennedy/Primack]

"[Exemption zones]...in order to significantly increase the spaces in which performance, tabling and solicitation is explicitly permitted under these ordinances. ...We want robust performance, tabling and solicitation." -- Kennedy

"We'll have exemption zones in one month." -- Kennedy
"Scott's exemption zones in one month is persuasive." -- Porter
Reality: Not one hearing for an exemption zone in last five months. Kennedy stonewalls.

Promise: 'Public gathering spaces' to be made clear [Bernal/Primack]
"Make public gathering spaces clear, so it's obvious to people." -- Primack
Reality: Not done. Political tablers surveilled downtown. Performers frequently harassed.

Promise: Language regarding discretion/enforcement to be created [Fitzmaurice/Rotkin/Bernal/Barisone]
"We recognize the need for discretion, want it to be complaint driven. ... We can some back with the exact
language." -- Kennedy "So, Mike, Tim, the City Manager, and City Attorney will work on this." -- Reilly
"We [Tim/Mike] will put together a proposal. ... It's complicated enough that we should talk about it for a couple
weeks." -- Fitzmaurice
Reality: No reports, no clarifications, no action. Police making up their own standards.


Promise: Amendment to the display device ordinance promised[Barisone/Mathews/Reilly]

"We direct the City Attorney to return with an amendment to exempt small containers from the display device ordinance....The City Attorney recommended this before & it was an oversight not to have done it then." - Kennedy
"City Attorney to have language by July." -- Kennedy
"OK, Cynthia/Emily will work with City Attorney for possible language in July." -- Kennedy

Reality: Police and Hosts call everything from cups to guitar cases “containers?.

Other quotes of interest from 1/14/03 City Council meeting:

John Barisone (City Attorney): "It's about sidewalk obstruction, it's not about speech. ... Advice to your subcommittee and Downtown Commission was if you want to exempt political tables, then repeal the display device ordinance."

Mike Rotkin (City Councilmember): "The police are not going to get instructions to go down with a
stopwatch and a tape measure and bust everybody that's 10 feet, or as soon as somebody shows up, whoop, start the stopwatch. ... As long as they're not causing problems, the police aren't going to be down there trying to arrest people who are not making anybody unhappy. In fact, there's not that many police officers down there any more and there'll probably be even less after we're done with our budget cuts."

Scott Kennedy [proposing enforcement language]: "The City Council reaffirms our commitment of a vital diverse, & interesting downtown, & therefore we understand we're lifting any direction from the Council towards strict enforcement of these ordinances, & we understand the staff, police & City Manager will communicate. ... I think the Council did give direction that indicated stricter enforcement, & what I'm saying now is we want sensible discretion in enforcement, with the central value of public safety and movement on the streets."

Mike Rotkin: "But we don't want, 'Hour's up, go get 'em', or '10 feet, go get 'em.'"

Ed Porter: "Technically, then, until July, political tables are limited to one hour?"

Scott Kennedy: "No, we'll have exemption zones in one month."

Mike Rotkin: "In 1994, there were lots of places political tables couldn't set up, and there've been no problems, the police have NEVER enforced it. I table there, even anti-police groups, there's a wide diversity. I don't see some new wave of repression of people that are down there trying to gather [signatures on] petitions, or
circulating information on political ideas. That hasn't happened since 1994m and I don't think it's going to start happening now. I think people are overly concerned about something that there's not a real basis for in practice. Don't take my word for it. Look at what's happened since 1994."

Ed Porter: "I take solace in the non-enforcement [against political tablers]. ... I'm encouraged that all council members will participate in the process. Scott's exemption zones in 1 month is persuasive. Basically, with the idea that we're going to do a lot of work on this in the near future, & in the spirit of supporting that, I'll vote yes."

[quotations in this and the prior article compiled by Joe Williams from City Council tapes]
 


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