Tampa City Council members not about to allow single RNC protest group to take over Public Viewing Zone

Speaking to CL from Michigan where she has just begun a vacation, Mulhern said the idea of allowing one group to manage the protest zones "doesn't make much sense." She said, "This is supposed to be the place for anyone at anytime to protest, so to let one group manage it doesn't sound like some kind of solution."

Councilwoman Capin said that, although she didn't want to comment until having read the letter, her gut reaction was not favorable, either.

Last week Tampa officials announced three separate viewing zones and a specific parade route for protesters during the RNC, all within sight and sound of the convention hall, as is legally required in creating such zones.

Yolie Capin says her main objection to the Event Zone remains the size of it. Though reduced from its initial incarnation (when it was originally referred to as the "Clean Zone"), the district still incorporates Ybor City and Hyde Park, both of which are outside of downtown and not in the immediate vicinity of the Times Forum.

"When I voted against the ordinance, I said I voted for every piece of equipment, every uniform, every camera, everything that was asked for. But I do believe that we are leaving ourselves open because of the [Event Zone] area being so large that it's going to be diluted as far as security," Capin told CL Tuesday morning.

She also has concerns about the 3,000 law enforcement officers assisting Tampa and Hillsborough County officers during the RNC.

Mulhern says she had a number of reasons for opposing the Event Zone's creation, but says now it's "done and settled," adding she's not comfortable with some of the regulations for various reasons.

CL was unsuccessful in attempting to speak with Amos Miers from ResistRNC.

  • The ResistRNC letter was addressed to City Councilwoman Yolie Capin.

Nobody has been more outspoken about the security measures being put in place in Tampa before the Republican Convention than Mary Mulhern. But the Tampa City Councilwoman says she has no intention of allowing a single protest group to control the public demonstration areas near the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Mulhern was responding to a letter sent out by Amos Miers with the group ResistRNC. Miers' letter was addressed to City Councilwoman Yolie Capin; she and Mulhern were the only two members of the Council to vote against the "Event Zone" ordinance that establishes specific rules for those protesting in a wide swath of downtown Tampa and beyond during the convention.

In his letter, Miers wrote that "the federal government has made our council members, as well as our residents, scared of the guests coming to speak out for a fair economy, an end to war, and a clean environment. Are these things scary to the public? Or is it scary to the status quo of the multi-national corporations?"

He then proposes that resistRNC be allowed to "manage" the public viewing areas that were announced last week near the Forum. Miers writes, "Of course we would have to reach an arrangement for the conditions of the site, such as the removal of the ordinance in this zone, as well as the removal of the fencing around the site."

But neither Mulhern nor Capin thinks this is a good idea.

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