The ACLU, local club promoters, and JAMPAC keep flogging the Seattle City Council's proposed special events permitting ordinance--and the council keeps moving forward with it anyway. On September 19, the ordinance got the nod after Council Member Jim Compton's Public Safety and Technology Committee voted three yeas (Compton, Margaret Pageler, and Jan Drago) over two abstentions (Nick Licata, Peter Steinbrueck) to send the ordinance to full council.
According to promoter Dave Meinert, the proposed ordinance should go back to the drawing board because it gives the city constitutionally questionable direction to approve or deny special events permits. ["Tsk-Tsk Force," Aug 23, Dave Osgood; "Bad Advice," July 19, Josh Feit].
As JAMPAC pointed out in a September 17 letter to the city, the special events permitting proposal is similar to the recent "added activities" permitting proposal (brought to you by Mark "Unconstitutional" Sidran), which was discarded by the council after the U.S. District Court ruled in 1999 that the concept was an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of speech.
It's unfortunate that the city has to get schooled in court before it will back off on bad legislation. That's certainly where this ordinance, if passed, is headed.
Speaking of Seattle's inseparable duo--unconstitutional ordinances and Mark Sidran--the city attorney-turned-mayoral-wannabe recently offered another show of disregard for constitutional rights: On September 11, nearly four months after four concerned city council members (Nick Licata, Richard McIver, Judy Nicastro, and Peter Steinbrueck) requested an in-person meeting with Sidran's office to assess the legal risks associated with enforcing Sidran's car impound ordinance (last May, King County Superior Court Judge Michael Trickey found that Sidran's ordinance butted up against the state constitution), Sidran sent a curt memo to all four members simply claiming that Trickey's ruling was wrong.
Speaking of the mayor, our condolences to Paul Schell, who made a dismal showing in the September 18 primary ["Going... Going... Gone," Katie Couric, Sept 20]. While The Stranger did not endorse Schell, we acknowledged in our endorsement issue that Schell mopped the floor with Greg Nickels during our endorsement interview. Despite the WTO and Mardi Gras, we nearly endorsed Schell based on his excellent city budget priorities. Ultimately, though, we felt Schell wasn't an inspiring leader. Apparently, 78 percent of voters agreed.