By now I am sure you know about the OccupyCharlotte group which is campi–er, protesting outside of the government center. This morning I dropped by to see what the hullabaloo is all about. I counted 39 sleeping tents, two mess tents (food), one first aid tent, and one welcome tent. There were only about 6 people milling about, but then again, it was only about 9:20 in the morning, and clearly 9:20 in the morning is too early to be protesting anything. Coffee first, please.
The “occupiers” have been launching a twitter campaign at Mayor Foxx and Commissioner Roberts to convince them to let them have a permit to place PortaJohns at that location. They have been stating that sanitation and restroom facilities are a basic human right (their words), and that they should not be denied the decency of a place to relieve themselves. Last I heard on twitter, this request has been approved, though I have not been successful in confirming that with the City of Charlotte. OccupyCharlotte is planning on paying for the PortaJohns; that is not the issue. The issue is that the Charlotte Tea Party requested permission to place PortaJohns at the same location, and we were told:
-No PortaJohns on the grass, because after several hours the grass would be damaged.
-No PortaJohns on sidewalks and walkways, as this creates pedestrian traffic issues, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act conflicts.
-PortaJohns could be placed in parking spaces, but those spaces would need to be vacated by the time business hours resumed.
We ended up placing them in the parking spaces, and then making sure they were gone well before businesses opened. As always, we obeyed both the letter and spirit of the law.
If the city approves OccupyCharlotte placing PortaJohns at their current location, there will be a very clear double-standard. That is the issue here. The Occupy movement is linked to, and supported by, many leftist and progressive organizations, and they will be receiving special consideration from the city and the Mayor’s office because of this.
I encourage you to write a brief, respectful, email to Mayor Foxx, and urge him to apply the same standard to all organizations. The city should treat OccupyCharlotte no different than any other protesting organization. The issue here is not whether they as humans have a right to sanitary protesting conditions, as they have suggested, but rather that all people, and all organizations, should be treated equally, regardless of their political motivation. The city should not show partiality, nor favoritism, in this matter.
You may reach the Mayor at email@example.com
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