Monday, December 16, 2013
In their last meeting of the year and on one of the biggest issues at City Hall in recent months, the Spokane City Council deferred Monday night.
In the other controversial issue of the night, and after extensive public testimony, the council voted 4-3 to extend the hours during which it's illegal to sit or lie on downtown sidewalks.
Splitting along conservative-liberal lines, Council Members Mike Allen, Steve Salvatori, Mike Fagan and Nancy McLaughlin argued that the changes will help address nuisance issues downtown and support business, while members Ben Stuckart, Amber Waldref and Jon Snyder said it was untimely, expensive and potentially illegal. The changes extend the time the ban is in effect from the hours between 7 am and 9 pm to those between 6 am and midnight. The council also amended the law to specify that the ban cannot be enforced when the city's shelters are full.
The changes are the latest in a series of efforts to address concerns about public perceptions of safety downtown.