by David Safier
Regina Romero sent out an email (h/t to Carolyn Classen for forwarding it to BfA) saying she will propose a moratorium on ticketing protesters and waiving of permit fees and curfews. Along with that comes the expectation Occupy Tucson participants respect permitted events in city parks. Romero also will propose the city look at investing public funds in local credit unions.
Along with her agreement with the basic principles of the Occupy movement, Romero cites the costs of extra policing as well as court costs involved with the arrests.
It's great to see this kind of proposed action from the Council. We'll see how far it goes with the other members.
Here's the email.
My fellow colleagues and I have been receiving lots of input from the
community regarding the Occupy Tucson protestors that have been camping
in Downtown Tucson.
I have read the Occupy Tucson Declaration and support them in concept
and action. This week I will propose that:
● Mayor and Council request a moratorium on ticketing protestors
in Veinte de Agosto Park
● City of Tucson Parks and Recreation staff waive permitting fees
and curfews for Occupy Tucson protestors at Veinte de Agosto Park.
● Occupy Tucson participants respect any and all traditional and
permitted events that are taking place in City of Tucson parks.
● City staff explore investing certain public funds into local
credit unions, and moving away from larger financial institutions where
I understand the frustrations of Occupy Wall Street protesters
everywhere on a deeply personal level. The excesses of our financial
institutions have been the driving force behind this economic recession,
the worst our country has seen since the great depression. Many
Americans are unemployed and underemployed, and scores of workers are
finding themselves without healthcare coverage and the economic security
enjoyed by generations past. Income inequality in our nation continues
to grow, homes are being foreclosed upon in record numbers, and the
opportunity for social mobility within our country has diminished. This
squeeze on middle-class working families has led to wealth disparities
unseen in decades, and the challenge is even more pronounced among
communities of color, which have taken the hardest hit during the
I am calling for a moratorium on issuing citations because the ongoing
and indefinite burden of TPD and City Court expenses on taxpayers to
police this peaceful protest is not in the best interest of the City of
Tucson. Since the genesis of this local movement, we have been spending
thousands of dollars to cite and release Occupy Tucson protestors. Our
TPD overtime expenses since the demonstration began have topped $83,000,
and collective costs including regular time are nearing the $100,000
mark. This does not consider the court costs that taxpayers will come
to bear in order to bring the 500 plus citations to trial in City
courts, nor the potential booking expenses for physical arrests should
the imposition of park curfews come to such extremes.
The steps I have described here allows the community an opportunity and
a space to make their voices heard, and emphasizes what we can do to
make substantive changes in our own backyard.
Council Member Regina Romero