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Shafting Non-Shoppers: Expanding the Destructive Downtown Ordinances
by Robert Norse
In a disguised attack on the entire non-commercial street scene, tomorrow's afternoon City Council meeting will rubberstamp restricting still further the very limited public space currently allowed the community downtown. Under the guise of health concerns, reducing congestion, and preventing a "trip-and-fall" hazard (none of which is documented), the reactionary new laws will essentially force street performers, vendors, homeless people, local residents, and tourists to compete with each other for the small amount of "legal" spaces allowed for sitting, vending, performing, sparechanging, or political organizing. The hope is clearly to reduce "congestion" by eliminating what remains of the street counterculture. Another brilliant salvo from the bowels of the City Manager's office. It's another direct attack on the right to publicly assemble or simply use community space without paying a fee to merchants.

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