As expected, city council voted 4-1 this morning to extend the sit/lie law by five months while City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish do an "outreach" campaign to ask people more about it. The Mercury had heard rumors of a planned sit-in at city hall to mark the vote, and there were several cops in the council chamber to watch, not to mention an extra bodyguard for the mayor. Chambers were also well-stocked with more than a dozen street kids: I spotted pink hair, lots of multiple ear-piercings, biker boots, a drum or two, and bags, seemingly stuffed with black clothing. For two hours before council voted to extend the law, almost everyone seemed to be expecting the kids to act out.
But they listened, interrupted Commissioner Nick Fish once to ask him where his promised Resource Access Center is, and left quietly. "I'm just really impressed that most of us showed enough self-control not to disrupt the meeting," said a middle-aged social-worker to the street kids, after the vote. Well, I'm woefully unimpressed, mate. The only half-assed attempt at a protest came from Shaggy Simpson, a homeless Iraq war veteran, who screamed the National Anthem loud enough from outside chambers to distract everyone from listening to Commissioner Fritz talk about the process. Whatever happened to a healthy taste for anarchy?
As the TV cameramen trudged off, disappointed, I caught up with Michael Callaghan, who's parked his "silver bullet" outside city hall for the time being. "I want the bureaucrats to see this," he said. "It only costs $234 to build with six and a half hours labor, and when I light a candle inside it, I can raise the temperature by three degrees. They talk about requiring access to plumbing, but if that homeless guy who died over the winter had one of these, he would never have frozen."
Roll on the next five months of joyful public process...I guess.