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LOCAL Commentary :: Resistance & Tactics

Promises, Promises: Betrayal by City Council

Last January City Council made a series of promises about the restrictive new Downtown Ordinances that "move along" performers, tablers, and poor people with begging cups. Now with a six-month review of those laws promised (but not yet on the agenda), we view the wreckage of broken promises.
“Don’t Quote Me? Curious Quotes on the Move-Along Law The Public and the City Council Go On the Record on the Law to ‘Move-Along’ “Display Devices?
--Santa Cruz City Council meeting of 1/14/03:

THE DISPLAY DEVICE FORBIDDEN ZONE AND MOVE-ALONG LAW

Chapter 5.43 NONCOMMERCIAL USE OF CITY STREETS & SIDEWALKS FOR SALES & SOLICITATION

5.43.000 DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this chapter, certain words and phrases are defined as follows: (a) "Noncommercial use"
means any political, civic, religious or other public service or charitable activity, including speech, or the distribution of literature, whether or not such activity is conducted with the assistance of a display device, & where the use is conducted for either the sale of merchandise or the solicitation
of donations. (b) "Display device" means a table, rack, cloth, stand, or any structure or other object used or capable of being used for
displaying tangible things, together with any associated seating facilities; "display device" does not include any street furniture such as
benches or planters, or any other structure permanently installed by the city of Santa Cruz or with the consent of the city of Santa Cruz, or
newsracks placed in conformity with the provisions of this code regulating newsracks.
5.43.010 CONDITIONS OF USE. Persons may place, erect, or maintain a display device for non- commercial use on any public sidewalk only as provided in this chapter. A display device may not exceed six feet by three feet in size. A display device may not exceed six feet
in height.
5.43.020 PROHIBITED LOCATIONS. (1) In order to assure safe, orderly & adequate public access & pedestrian traffic on city streets & sidewalks, no display device shall be placed in any of the following locations in the C-C Community Commercial; C-N Neighborhood Commercial; C-B Commercial Beach; CBD Central Business District; & R-T Tourist Residential zone districts: (a) Within 10’ of any building
entrance or fence or other structure separating private property from the public right-of-way other than cyclone fences between vacant lots & the public right-of-way, or 10’ directly in front of any window. Where any such entrance or window is recessed from the public sidewalk, the ten feet shall be measured from the point at which the building abuts the sidewalk; (b) Within 10’ of any street corner or intersection; (c) Within 10’ of any kiosk or mid-block crosswalk; (d) Within 10’ of any drinking fountain, public telephone or bench; (e) Within any portion of the sidewalk between the license-area limit line of any sidewalk cafe or other open-air eating establishment & the curb of the sidewalk & in no other location within 10’ feet of any such license-area limit line; or (f) Within 10’ of any vending cart.
(2) No person shall allow a display device to remain in the same location on the sidewalk for a period of time exceeding one hour.
After one hour the person who placed the display device on the sidewalk shall not place a display device on the sidewalk within 100 feet of
the original display device location. After one hour the person who placed the display device shall not place a display device in the original
display device location, or within 100 feet of the original display device location, for twenty-four hours.
(3) No person shall be cited under
this section unless he or she has first been notified by a public officer or Downtown Host that he or she is in violation of the prohibition in this section, and thereafter continues the violation.

Note: The City Council unanimously endorsed the above ordinance. It expanded from 6’ to 10’ the “forbidden zones? for placing display devices, limiting the amount of sidewalk space theoretically available to less than 1/4
of the sidewalk, and eliminating it entirely from sidewalks that are only ten feet wide that abut buildings.

The ordinance also introduced the mandatory “Move-Along? provision which bans keeping a political table in one spot for more than an hour, requires it move 100’ after an hour, and bans its return for 24 hours.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE LAW AT COUNCIL
Emily Reilly (Mayor): "We are succeeding (in taking positive steps to restore balance downtown) due to community engagement in the dialogue. ... We fail when we do things that lead to less dialogue."

Sheila Coonerty (Downtown Commissioner): "We moved too quickly to law. ... There could be other
solutions other than heavy-handed law. ... The message to street performers is that you're moving straight to law, with no time consideration given."

Robert Guzley (Downtown Commissioner): "We never engaged in the process of dialogue. ... No police or merchants showed at Coleen Douglas' stakeholder meeting. ...Exiting the process with goodwill did not happen. ... Maps [indicating impact of ordinances] were faulty."

Angela Marie (street performer): "You're passing laws that Mike Rotkin assures us will only be enforced by complaint. ... you're passing laws that you don't intend to enforce equally."

Phil Free (street performer): "I'm cited for 'unreasonable noise' all the time. 'Blocking the sidewalk' is already on the books. No new laws are necessary."

Justin Mayer (street performer): "It's important that the police get a very clear message from the Council. ...Will you educate the police to be selective? ... What about a NEW City Council as regards 'non-rigid enforcement'?

Becky Johnson (activist): "Top 5 merchant complaints were: shoplifting; vandalism; not enough bathrooms; drug dealing; and, sexual harassment. ... These ordinances don't deal with any of them."

Mish Ryder (activist): "Petitions and information distribution are vitally necessary. ... Council should give a leg up to political tabling."

Tim Zorach (activist): "Instead of restricting, Council should be encouraging free speech activities."

Thomas Leavitt (activist): "Council is punishing the many for the sins of a few."

Frank Lima [The Great Morgani] (street performer): "It is up to you tonight to save the street performer
from extinction."

Amy Courtney (activist): "Council is not listening."

Bruce Engelhardt (street performer): "Performers have been dehumanized in a way they wouldn't be if they were a business owner downtown."

Pete O'Reilly (activist/psychologist): "If you pass these ordinances, the psychological health of the streets will deteriorate. ... Protesting is good for your health. ... You are downgrading that ability."

Sherry Conable (activist): "Enforcement has been off the hook since last summer. ... Police are telling performers false information already."


THE CITY COUNCIL “DEBATE?

Emily Reilly: (Mayor): "It's certainly not our intention to overlook any of the Downtown Commission recommendations. ... 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. .. We can recraft the solution to make it better."

Ed Porter (Councilmember): "This Council would have gone along with revitalized [voluntary] guidelines, if there was consensus, and the revitalized guidelines were here tonight, but it's taken too long. ... I thought we asked for other relief for political tabling and I don't know what's become of it."

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... ... Council could define 'display device' to remove smaller items, such as cups and guitar cases, but can't exempt larger things, like tables, because the ordinance becomes irrational and the court would find it indefensible to exempt larger sidewalk obstruction."

Emily Reilly (Mayor): "It's vital that dialogue continue. ... If [the new ordinances] send a message that we don't appreciate our musicians, it's a mistake. ... As well as the message that we recognize the importance of political
tabling. ... We also need signage that's positive and celebratory."

Scott Kennedy (Councilmember): "Bring it back in six months for review of move-along. Does it make the distance restrictions irrelevant? ... Review benches and crosswalk distances. ... Over the counter stream-lined permits. .. I want exemption zones. ... 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."

Tim Fitzmaurice (Councilmember): "Yes, come back in six months. Evaluate the move-along in cooperation with the Downtown Commission. I want exemption zones, and a map indicating them. ... We're not disposing of this issue right now. That we continue to commit to thinking about it."

Scott Kennedy: "Re-evaluate at the second meeting in July; the 4th Tuesday."

Emily Reilly: "It's really important to me that the people who are involved in this are the ones who come up with the solutions."

Scott Kennedy [re: exemption zones]: "...in order to significantly increase the spaces in which performance, tabling and solicitation is explicitly permitted under these ordinances. ... Direct staff for permits. .. City manager
says no problem [with permits]. .. We want robust performance, tabling and solicitation."

Mark Primack (Councilmember): "Make public gathering spaces clear, so it's obvious to people."

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, and interesting downtown, and therefore we understand we're lifting any direction from the Council
towards strict enforcement of these ordinances, and we understand the staff, police and City Manager will communicate. ... I think the Council did give direction that indicated stricter enforcement, and what I'm saying now is we want sensible discretion in enforcement, with the central value of public safety and movement on the
streets."

Cynthia Mathews (Councilmember): "But only for the current ordinances, right? Not the ones in June? I don't want the message to be that we're going back on an earlier direction. I want it only to be for the current ordinances."

Scott Kennedy: "We recognize the need for discretion, want it to be complaint driven. ... We can some back with the exact language."

Tim Fitzmaurice: "I'll work on that." Scott Kennedy: "Anyone else?" Mike Rotkin: "Yes."
Emily Reilly: "So, Mike, Tim, the City Manager, and City Attorney will work on this."

Mike Rotkin: "It's important that we NOT send that, ,'Oh, we don't want police to deal with the problems down there because we just want problems left alone,' and that was part of the problem last summer that was perceived by the community. ... The police gave the community the impression that City Council didn't want anything done about problems. Perception was a problem. .. But we don't want, 'Hour's up, go get 'em', or '10 feet, go get 'em.'"

Tim Fitzmaurice: "I have absolute faith in officers' ability to make right decisions about public health and safety. ... Push discretion to mean that complaints will be the basis of enforcement. ... We [Tim/Mike] will put together a
proposal. ... It's complicated enough that we should talk about it for a couple weeks."

Scott 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."

Emily Reilly: "Should we involve the Conflict Resolution Board?"

Scott Kennedy: "Whoever. 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. ... 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."

Martin Bernal (City Manager): "Maps are hard... ... Yes, we'll develop brochures. The police department has developed some pretty good brochures, I think, and we'll continue to do that."

Scott Kennedy: "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 and it was an oversight not to have done it then."

Cynthia Mathews: "Give us until July to see how things shake out."

Scott Kennedy: "Ok, City Attorney to have language by July. ... I agreed to work on a committee for 'exemption areas,' per se, not a macro committee for everything. Mike/Tim are going to work on discretion/enforcement language. But other than that, I have no assignments coming out of this."

Mike Rotkin [re: City Attorney language]: "No to an automatic appearance in July. In writing, in advance. No automatic agenda."

Scott Kennedy: "OK, Cynthia/Emily will work with City Attorney for possible language in July."

Emily Reilly: "Great. We all get involved in dialogue with different people in the community."
Scott Kennedy: "Me and Mark on exemption zones."

Tim Fitzmaurice: "That's a great idea."

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

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

John Barisone [re: exemption zones]: "Council can identify areas, or areas that meet certain criteria, and then delegate the staff to make a determination."

Tim Fitzmaurice: "The 'back to wall/back to street' issue will be part of the exemption discussion. This is crucial."

Emily Reilly: "In July, the 10 foot might not be required at all, if move-along works."

Tim Fitzmaurice: "I applaud Scott for the one month timing on the exemption zones."

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."

Cynthia Mathews: "Those who have an apocalyptic view of this Council declaring war on street musicians need to 'get real.'"

Scott Kennedy: "Activists can now turn their attention towards addressing the impending war."
Tim Fitzmaurice: "I need suggestions from the Downtown Commission. Please advise me."

Emily Reilly: "Good idea. The Downtown Commission can monitor downtown, and we can include them, invite them and communicate."
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 one month is persuasive. Basically, with the idea that we're going to do a lot of work on this in the near future, and in the spirit of supporting that, I'll vote yes."

Emily Reilly: "I'm encouraged. There's nothing more important to the vitality of downtown ... than that we have the energy alive downtown."

Coming Soon: An annotated version of the many unkept promises strewn throughout this Council “debate?, a history of the police use of the Move Along law to harass peace activists, street musicians, political tablers, and
poor people downtown.
 
 


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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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