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Downtown Ordinances at Tuesday 12/10 Council meeting

Santa Cruz City Council to review repeal of one of the downtown ordinances on 12/10/02.
[TOMORROW 12/10/02]
On Tuesday, December 10th, 2002, at 8pm a brand new city council will consider the recent recommndations of the Downtown Commission to rescind a portion of the city's recent downtown ordinances.

The commission recommends that the display device section of the ordinances be repealed, after months of trying to find alternatives to strict restrictions and space limitations on local and visiting musicians, street performers and political tablers.

Alternatives suggested during the process ranged from a permitting process for anyone performing or tabling on Pacific Ave, to limiting the spaces on Pacific to a few crowded and unpopular spots for cultural activities. Even if the rest of the downtown ordinances were supported by residents, which many would argue, they are not, this part of the ordinance has gathered a great deal of musician and performer input and has encouraged the beginning of a public process to create more dialogue about the downtown ordinances.

The recommendations of the downtown commission received a majority of support from the commission in a 5-2 vote last week. Councilmembers will be reviewing the commissions recommendations and could choose to do one of the following:

A) Accept the recommendations of the Commission; thereby repealing the display device section of the ordinance, and reverting laws affecting street performers and musicians back to the 1994 law. This would mean that many musicians would still be illegally performing under the new laws.

Additionally, it would create a public process to support the efforts of a recently formed and well-organized Musicians Guild, create a conflict resolution process in the event that miscommunications or conficts arose between merchants and musicians, and support the collection of data and evidence proving why or why not any such ordinance should be enacted to resolve issues arising between a small group of performers and merchants.

B) Do nothing and all three of the downtown ordinances will stay in effect; amongst other things, severely limiting what locations where performers and tablers are allowed to exercise free speech in the downtown area.

C) Repeal all the ordinances until evidence shows they are necessary, or even that they have been effective.

The Downtown Association and other merchants are heavily lobbing the Council NOT to repeal any section of the ordinances, and are using misinformation to create fear amongst the merchants. They will likely have a huge turnout of merchants saying the public process around the musicians guild should not be trusted to provide reasonable solutions to the small number of incidents reported between musicians and merchants.

If citizens feel strongly about this issue, please attend and voice your recommendations to members of the Council at their first mtg together tomorrow. You can also email the Council at the following addresses:

tfitzm (at), skennedy (at), eporter (at), mprimack (at), ereilly (at), mrotkin (at), cmathews (at)

Or call City Hall at 420-5020 or email the whole council at citycouncil (at) The public can receive copies of the agenda packet in advance of the meeting, which include the commission recommendations and staff reports on this topic.

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