You may have read H-Pack’s post last week about the supposed $30,000 worth of damage to Woodruff park as caused by Occupy Atlanta protesters. Well it seems that press release was just the opening salvo in the city’s new war on protesters. Three proposed city ordinances, which will be up for consideration on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at the Community Development/Human Resources (CD/HR) Committee, would add further limitations to what citizens are allowed to do in the parks they fund.
This new ordinance would criminalize the act of laying “any of the following items on any permeable surface in a Park: plywood, a non-permeable tarp, or any other item used as a ground covering that is made of a material that does not allow water to penetrate to the ground below.”
Gee, I wonder where this is headed?
“Tents… any tent or canopy erected in a Park must meet the following criteria:”
“(1) The structure may have no more than two opaque sides. The non-opaque sides must remain visibly unobstructed. Side sides may be made of netting or mesh provided that said netting or mesh does not materially impede visibility into the structure from the outside…”
“(2) The structure may not have a floor…”
“(3) Tents must have a distance between them of no less than twelve feet.”
“(4) The following items may not be located inside of any tent or canopy absent all required permits and licenses… (A) Generators, heaters, and/or stoves powered by gasoline, kerosene, propane, or other flammable substance; (B) Flammable gasses, liquids, or accelerants of any kind, including but not limited to, gasoline, propane, and kerosene; (C) A flame/flames from any source, whether open or enclosed, including but not limited to, candles, lanterns, and torches.”
So with the Occupy movement dead in their sights, the city council will vote, for all intents and purposes, to ban camping in public parks. I’m passionate about my parks. I’m also passionate about my first amendment rights. It seems to me that this ordinance will be enacted strictly to ban long-term public protesting of the sort we saw in the past year. So what do you think Atlanta? Do we pass more laws limiting our individual freedoms just to target one group?