Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Tucson City Council: Ill-Conceived Ordinances Wiped from Agenda (video)

Jim Hannley

PDA Tucson Coordinator Jim Hannley speaks against both the crowd management ordinance and the urban camping ban at the City Council meeting.

The Tucson City Council was scheduled to vote on two ill-conceived ordinances at their St. Patrick’s Day meeting this week. The Crowd Management Event ordinance would have given the police chief considerable discretion in controlling groups of 100 or more people. The second ordinance would have outlawed urban camping on all city property, thus criminalizing the homeless.

When word got out via email blasts, Facebook posts, and the blogs, public outrage built against these two measures. Social media posts called for protests and for phone-calling to Council members. A Facebook event to protest the Crowd Management Event ordinance had more than 100 potential attendees on Monday afternoon. An hour before the protest, the Tucson Sentinel reportedthat the city had  taken that ordinance off the agenda.

Before the Tuesday meeting, 20-30 homeless and homeless advocates gathered outside of the Council chambers. When I arrived with my video camera, one of my homeless Facebook friends told us that Councilman Steve Kozachik had talked with them just a few minutes earlier and said the camping ban ordinance would be tabled.

We went into the meeting anyway because my husband and I had both planned to speak against the ordinances. Between us we represent two major progressive groups– PDA Tucson and the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus– and we wanted the City Council to know that progressives stood against both of these measures.

When we got inside, Mayor Rothschild came up to us to let us know that both ordinances had been pulled from the agenda.  The Mayor and Council seemed eager to let everyone know that the ordinances would not be heard or voted on that night. Good but we didn’t leave.

Except for one or two other issues, the call to audience was dominated by the pulled ordinances. No one spoke in favor of either ordinance, and several spoke against them. (I’d love to know many people called or emailed the Mayor and Council.)

The question remains regarding how these measures got on the agenda in the first place. Homeless criminalization ordinances have been popping up in cities across the country. Is there is an ALEC-style group providing right-wing “model legislation” to cities? On the same night– St. Patrick’s Day, a day when people usually aren’t paying attention– the City of Berkeley also voted on homeless criminalization ordinance and passed it, despite the people’s calls for compassion for the homeless and despite research studies that show criminalization doesn’t work and costs more. In my opinion, this is too much of a coincidence.

It sure looks as if the Tucson City Council– unlike the Berkeley City Council– bowed to public pressure, which is a good thing. I like it when government listens to the people.

One comment on “Tucson City Council: Ill-Conceived Ordinances Wiped from Agenda (video)

  1. Suzanne
    April 15, 2015

    Very glad you posted this; there are some EXCELLENT call-to-audience talks in this video!


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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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