Monday, June 23, 2008

More DNC protest details released

The News:
City officials released a few more details Monday for groups that want to protest outside the Pepsi Center during the Democratic National Convention, including the fact a wire mesh fence will be used to mark the protest area.

But other key components — including what portion of the parking lot will be designated for protest groups and how high the fence will be — were not disclosed. However, the city said it didn't plan on topping the wire mesh fence.

When they say "topping" one assumes they mean this rather than this.

And then there was the issue of the marching route for protest groups and how far away it would be from the Pepsi Center during the convention Aug. 25-28.

Apparently, it was far enough to bring howls of protest from some of the protest groups.
Apparently? The ever-reticent Glenn Spagunolo:
"New York City let us march right in front of Madison Square Garden. I could put my foot on the first step," said Glenn Spagnuolo of Recreate 68. "If New York can let 600,000 people march in front of Madison Square Garden, then they should let 25,000 people march in front of the Pepsi Center."

But city officials assured protest groups that delegates going to and from the Pepsi Center during the convention would be within earshot of protestors and that there would be plenty of other chances for protestors to speak out throughout the city.

Katherine Archuleta, senior policy advisor to Mayor John Hickenlooper, said in a statement that the so-called "public demonstration zone" would allow the views of protest groups to be heard by delegates. She also said the protest area of 50,000 square-feet would accommodate several thousand people.

Several thousand? That's all? What if even 10,000 show up?

"Our intention is to maximize opportunities for people to express themselves in a safe manner that also respects the rights of others as well as local, state and federal laws," Archuleta said.

The one thing protesters don't want to do, of course, is respect the rights of others.

According to Denver City Attorney David Fine, the city won't treat the protest area any differently from other public sidewalks and walkways in Denver. The city will not require permits to enter or use the area and will not allow others to obstruct the viewing area.

Fine also said that people using the protest area may be subject to search and seizure laws under Constitutional standards but would be protected from unreasonable search and seizure.

Spagnuolo said the city's action was designed to "chill free speech" and that it was setting up "freedom cages" in what he viewed as a disregard for First Amendment rights.

As always, that the guy most vehement in trying to deny free speech to others on Columbus Day can whine about his First Amendment rights being chilled (they're not, of course) is hard to take. This makes up for it:

"It will make us look like animals in a zoo," he said. "Don't touch the animals behind the cage."

And Ben Whitmer thinks Spagz is good with the media. One of many possible responses: It's not the wire mesh that'll make you look like animals in a zoo, Glenn. You've prepared people to have that perception of Recreate-68! from the beginning.

U.S. Secret Service and city officials are also trying to keep some other aspects of the protest area under wraps — including the actual height of the fence and how close the demonstration area will be to delegates.

But based on information released by the city, the marching route ends at the entrance of the public demonstration zone in Lot A at 7th Street and Auraria Parkway — the far southeast corner of the 350,000 square-foot lot.

Second pic here was taken from the far northwest corner of Parking Lot A looking across to the far southeast corner (just to the right of the tower). Doesn't seem too bad to me.

Update: O/t, but Fred notes in comments that the only CU regent to vote against firing Spagz-pal Ward Churchill last year, Cindy Carlisle, is being opposed for reelection by (as the Boulder Daily Gamera puts it) "past and present Democratic colleagues," who are "endorsing and financially backing her opponent," Rollie "the" Heath. Cindy must really be something special.

Update II (even more o/t!): Madonna Constantine, the African American Columbia prof and activist who gained national attention last year when a noose was found hanging from her office door, was suspended indefinitely for two dozen instances of plagiarism, the New York Sun says. Now a grand jury is looking into whether she and/or a minion hung the noose to gain sympathy during the plagiarism investigation. This is Churchillian:

"During the months since the College levied sanctions against her," the letter [to faculty] said, "Professor Constantine continued to make accusations of plagiarism, including in at least one instance to the press, against those whose works she had plagiarized."
Update III: It's a keeper: Racial Microaggression.

(via an LGF spinoff linkie to this post)

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