City Council Nixes Free Speech Zone Ordinance

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously Monday to file an ordinance creating free speech zones, essentially killing the legislation, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

The vote came after the Community Development/Human Resources (CDHR) Committee voted unanimously June 12, 2007, to recommend to the City Council to file the legislation.

CDHR Chairman Jim Maddox, who first introduced the legislation on behalf of the Mayor’s Office, briefed the City Council Monday on the ordinance and the discussion members had June 12, 2007.

“I believe the intent [of the ordinance] was good but it did not sit well with citizens,” Maddox said Monday.

Maddox then moved to file the ordinance and the City Council voted 14 to 0 to do so.

Mayor Shirley Franklin’s Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon had come to the June 12, 2007, CDHR Meeting to request on behalf of the Mayor’s Office that the CDHR Committee and the City Council file the ordinance.

“We are here today to say to this audience and this Committee that we may have been premature in the ordinance that we set forward,” Pridgeon at the CDHR Meeting.

Several citizens briefly spoke before the vote Monday to remind and urge the City Council to file the ordinance for good during a public comment segment.

Activists and concerned citizens first received word of the ordinance when the City Council was prepared to approve it June 4, 2007.

Citizen outrage and concern among certain City Council Members forced the Full Council to send the ordinance back to the CDHR Committee for reconsideration.

Atlanta Progressive News has followed this ordinance in depth.

About the author:

Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at jonathan@atlantaprogressivenews.com

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