City Council pondering banning public assembly?

Towards the beginning of the month, there was mention of a possible ordinance being enacted by the City to prevent, or make it hard to start a public assembly on Church Street:
City of the banned? – Vermont Guardian 1/6/6

Due to the huge public outcry against the ordinance even being discussed, Peter (a.k.a. Mayor Clavelle) issued the following statement in his 1/13/6 Friday letter:


The early draft of a parade and public assembly ordinance, which was referred to the City Council Ordinance Committee on December 19, has already generated considerable controversy. This ordinance was first requested several years ago by the Police Department and the Marketplace, and has been discussed by various departments for quite some time. The intent is certainly not to restrict public demonstrations or to stifle free speech. Rather, the ordinance is primarily about parades, festivals, and other major events. It is intended to clarify the situations in which a permit is needed, the reasons for granting and denying permits, and other ground rules to that allow the City to balance the competing needs involving the use of streets, sidewalks and parks, and to address the costs and other impacts on city department resulting from these activities in a way that is constitutional and not cost prohibitive. I can assure citizens that any recommendations from City departments that are overly restrictive will be reversed prior to the ordinance’s adoption. The entire proposed ordinance will be reviewed by the City Council Ordinance Committee and the City Attorney’s Office will continue to review case law and ordinances from around the country. There will be ample opportunity for public discussion before any ordinance is adopted. The ordinance as currently drafted will not be enacted.

Now, just over the weekend, I receive an email from one of my councilors, saying the proposed ordinance is scheduled to be discussed at the City Council’s Ordinance Committee meeting, under the title of “Parade” ordinance.
Seeing as Peter says there willl be ample opportunity for public discussion, I am thinking the opposing view to the ordinance should be heard at the first Ordinance meeting to let them know how we feel about it.
The meeting info & agenda are below:


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

City Hall

149 Church St., Burlington, Vt.

(Corner of Church and Main Streets)

Conference Room #12

7:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

1) Approve Agenda and Minutes of 8/30/05, 9/12/05, 9/29/05, 10/20/05,

10/26/05, 11/10/05, 11/15/05 and 11/21/05

2) Union Deterrence

3) Parade Ordinance

4) Zoning Rewrite:

a. Continuation of Residential Districts

b. Mixed Use Districts

5) Any Other Business

6) Adjournment

Committee Members: Councilor Andrew Montroll, Chair

Councilor Tim Ashe

Councilor Joan Shannon

*Special Committee Members re Zoning Rewrite: Councilor Ian Carleton

Councilor Cheryl McDonough

Agenda available in alternative media forms for people with disabilities. For disability access information call 865-7121 (865-7142 TTY).

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