I was going to add an exclamation point to the headline, but I’m way beyond the annual quota, and it isn’t even May.
Sorry for being tardy on this one — I got a request for details on precisely what Councilman Dick Haines wanted to do with the illegal discrimination ordinance.
For starters, City Attorney Jim Nugent said Monday was the last chance for council folks to ask for any reconsideration. Which as you know, the council decided against. So that’s settled.
As for Haines, he generally said he wanted to strengthen the ordinance language so it would withstand future fights in court. That concern might be something the ACLU lawyer who drafted the ordinance had on her mind, too. Anyway, a couple specifics to satiate you, and then I’ll tell you something new. Well, kinda new. News to me, anyway, albeit small.
First, the Haines draft moved a portion on housing discrimination from one section to another. It changed the term “disabled” to “otherwise qualified,” too. Also, it struck the following sentence from the “discrimination” definition: “Discrimination based on physical or mental disability includes the failure to make reasonable accommodations that are required by an otherwise qualified person who has a physical or mental disability.”
OK. There’s your examples. The kinda new thing, which Police Chief Mark Muir will visit with me about on Tuesday for a story later in the week? (I know, should be “about which,” but this is a blog, not an ordinance.)
I asked him if police have started doing their extra downtown patrol this season, the first spring and summer with new pedestrian interference and aggressive panhandling laws in place. You may have seen a few more folks swarming the sidewalks and benches … ?
The answer: Not yet. When will they start? I don’t know — ’cause I haven’t asked him yet! Ooh. There’s that exclamation point.
Downtown last week, one belligerent man on foot was screaming for cigarettes and racing toward me in my car. I don’t smoke, and I hope he got his nicotine. Lucky for me, the light turned green, and lucky for him, I like my car.
I hope it likes me ’cause I need it to go all the way to Oregon tomorrow. See you Tuesday, and maybe reporter Chelsi Moy will deliver you some more delicious morsels here before then.
— Keila Szpaller