EDITORíS DESK: Canít stop losers with a loser law
More and more, the no-solicitation ordinance, as presented to date by City Attorney Chris Melcher, is looking like the biggest egg that was ever laid.
The problem with the ordinance process is (seriously) that it has so many problems. The idea of limiting the law to a single zone (downtown) has City Councilmembers in such a twist that they've instructed the police chief to come back with a detailed plan to deal with all the beggars streaming out of the downtown, should the ordinance pass. And where does the police chief think most of those bums will end up? Why, in the comfortable confines of the Westside, which already has a full quota of freeloaders, thank you very much.
Melcher did come out and listen to Westsiders, as reported in our Sept. 6 edition. But it seemed then that he was only looking for comments that supported the views he already had, and this was confirmed in what he said to council Sept. 24.
What's been amusing, in a cynical way, is to see laymen seemingly doing a better job of research than the city attorney. Mike Crepeau of the Avenue Merchants has found examples of such ordinances that also focus on economic vitality. Councilmember Bernie Herpin delved into the Dallas law, which has several "solicitation-free" zones. But when Councilmember Lisa Czelatdko asked Melcher why Colorado Springs can't start with multiple zones, he could only recite his weak-kneed mantra about avoiding lawsuits.
Then there's the absurd aspect in the ordinance draft, the way it fails to identify the actual people who are causing the problems. Of course, that's to make sure that the ACLU doesn't file a lawsuit against the city, contorting the noble concept of freedom of speech to mean freedom of leech. So that was another heartburn for City Council, that unless Melcher can do a better job on his next draft, the no-solicitation ordinance won't just stop panhandlers, it will mean no guitar players, hotdog stands or even the capability of collecting for the very charities that could help the losers who created this mess.