5/19/2008 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Stand Up for the Right to Protest (While You Still Can)
  • Stamp Out the Lurking Ordinance

STAND UP FOR THE RIGHT TO PROTEST (WHILE YOU STILL CAN!)
Minneapolis City Council's
PS&RS Committee Meeting
Wednesday, May 21
1:00 p.m.
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S 5th Street, Rm 317

We need your help to prevent an unreasonable new ordinance that restricts free speech from being passed by the City of Minneapolis. This Wednesday, May 21, a subcommittee of the Minneapolis City Council will meet to vote on a proposed ordinance that would require groups of 50 or more to apply for a permit to demonstrate, even if they are planning to gather on the sidewalk and do not intend to block the sidewalk. Groups can apply for a permit up to 60 days before the date of their protest, but must apply within 15 days of that date. This requirement denies people the right to organize protests quickly in direct response to an immediate event, and prevents people from gathering spontaneously.

There is no appeal process if a permit is denied. The proposed ordinance also gives police the right to change the terms of a permit that has been granted during the protest itself, and to disband the group at their discretion.

There is currently no Minneapolis city ordinance requiring groups who gather on the sidewalk to get a permit. This ordinance was written with the RNC in mind but its author, Paul Ostrow, said at the last PS&RS meeting that he intends for this law to become permanent.  At that meeting, a quartet of mouthpieces for the local business community got up one after the other and expressed their support for Ostrow's measure, stating that it will allow them to maintain a neat and orderly business climate (unmolested by a little thing known as the First Amendment).  One guy went so far as to demand "business as usual."  Well, we're in the middle of a war predicated on lies under an administration that uses torture in violation of international human rights standards.  The murderous cops who killed Sean Bell in NYC were let off scot free while MPD and St. Paul cops who thug on people continue to get a free pass.  This AIN'T the time for business as usual!

Cam Gordon has said he will introduce a counterproposal that eliminates many of the issues with this ordinance and he also plans to introduce a separate proposal that will control police behavior.  The fireworks from that will definitely be worth watching!

Take action NOW to oppose this ordinance before the it gets out of this committee and makes it to the full City Council can vote on it. The Public Safety and Regulatory Services subcommittee meets this Wednesday, May 21 at 1 pm in room 317 at Minneapolis City Hall (350 S 5th St) to consider the ordinance. THIS WILL BE A PUBLIC HEARING AND WE NEED YOU TO SPEAK OUT!  Please attend this meeting or contact the Minneapolis City Council to express your concerns. The following council members are part of the PSRS subcommittee:

Don Samuels don.samuels@ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2205
Paul Ostrow paul.ostrow@ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2201
Diane Hofstede diane.hofstede@ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2203
Barbara Johnson barbara.johnson@ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2204
Cam Gordon cam.gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us (612) 673-2202
Gary Schiff http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-schiff.asp (612) 673-2209


STAMP OUT THE LURKING ORDINANCE

Public Hearing
Minneapolis City Council's
PS&RS Committee Meeting
Wednesday, May 21
1:00 p.m.
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S 5th Street, Rm 317

While you're down at city hall standing up for free speech you can make it a 2 for 1 by sticking around for the public hearing on overturning the Minneapolis lurking ordinance.  This terrible ordinance makes it a crime to "lurk with intent"--meaning the cops get to pretend they can read your mind.  The ordinance is so vague that it would be impossible to know what not to do to avoid being arrested under it.  The vast majority of people arrested under this ordinance are homeless Blacks.  As a result, a homeless person is arrested every 2.1 hours in Minneapolis with most charges being lurking, loitering or public urination.  Roughtly 80-90% of lurking charges are thrown out once they reach court.

Speak out against this truly terrible ordinance, which exists only to give cops an excuse to arrest poor people.  Council member Cam Gordon plans to introduce measures to strengthen the loitering ordinance as an inducement to the other council members to support overturning the lurking ordinance.  We wish to make it clear that CUAPB absolutely does not support this strategy or any further strengthening of the already vague and overused ordinance.  We want nothing less than an outright repeal of the lurking ordinance.


Get our Newsletter or Volunteer Donate Contact Us

connect

get updates