Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Free Speech

The Remington/Ostrow protest registration policy passed the Council last Friday. Only CM Gary Schiff and I voted against it. Before it passed however we we able to successful divide it into two proposals. The first, which included the registration provisions, is the only section that passed. The second, which included all the police conduct provisions, was referred back to the Public Safety Committee where it will be taken up again on Wednesday June 11.

Before the registration portion passed, however, we managed to win an important victory with the help of CM Elizabeth Glidden: this resolution will not become a permanent policy of the City, but will only be effective during the week and a half around the RNC. Interestingly, I put forward the exact same amendment in committee, and it was voted down 3-2. We're not sure exactly what changed Council Members' minds, but the support for our position of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Minnesota Civil Liberties Union, Women Against Military Madness, Minnesota ACORN and OutFront Minnesota seem to have helped.

Another amendment that was made in committee and attempted again at the full Council was to remove the clause regarding sole and exclusive use and change the word "must" to the phrase "are encouraged to." This amendment lost on an 8-5 vote. Those who voted for it: me, Gary, Scott Benson, Elizabeth Glidden and Ralph Remington.

Another amendment that lost was one that would have created an appeal process for those assembly plans that were not approved by the Director of Regulatory Services. Now, because this failed to pass, the only recourse people will have who object to being denied is the courts.

This policy is still a bad idea, but at least its impact will be limited. I'll be interested to see if even one protest group comes forward to register an event and receive their sole and exclusive use of a City sidewalk during RNC.

The Police Conduct part of the resolution, a set of very specific police policies for dealing with public assemblies, was referred back to committee for more work. This does have some very good aspect. I have several ideas for improving it and hope to strengthen it as much as possible.


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