UNIVERSITY CITY (KMOX) – Faced with protests at past meetings against a controversial ordinance to make sidewalk loitering illegal, the City Council plans to consider it at a special session tonight.
Notice of the meeting, which will be held in the City Hall basement instead of the City Council chambers, was posted at City Hall last week, but was not listed on the University City website until today.
Civil rights activist Ed Reggi, in a statement emailed to KMOX, said he believes the special meeting’s purpose is to “deceive the good citizens of University City. Why else would elected officials tell the public to come back on June 13; but then hold a special secret vote one-week earlier?”
Other items on the agenda include a “budget memo” and a review of Council rules and procedures.
Public comment is not listed on the agenda.
The anti-loitering law, Bill 9112, would make a crime for “any person, singly or in concert with others, to stand, loiter or walk upon any public sidewalk or street so as to obstruct or unreasonably interfere with free use.”
Violators would be slapped with a $1 thousand fine.
Council members have twice postponed a vote on the measure, after being questioned about whether it duplicates laws already on the books and whether it singles out African-American youth.
The proposal comes after a couple of weekends in early spring which saw young people clogging sidewalks and streets and intimidating patrons along the Delmar Loop.
Since then, no problems have been reported.
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