The Fort Collins City Council is considering an absurd proposal to make it a crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2650 fine, to sit, lie, or kneel in large portions of downtown. The proposal also calls for criminalizing having more "attended property" than a person can carry, like a cart filled with personal belongings, or heavy luggage.
Writing to City Council is an essential way for them to hear your opinions about the proposed sit/lie ordinance. It can also generate some confusing responses, which is why we put this quick guide together.
How to write:
- You can send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it will reach all seven members of City Council
- You can also use this action item from the ACLU-CO: https://ssl.capwiz.com/aclu/issues/alert/?alertid=75859626&type=CU
Understanding the ordinance, and providing constructive feedback:
- We have a description of the ordinance (and link to the text), as well as talking points, here: http://fccan.org/updated-sit-lie-talking-points
- The ACLU link above provides some suggestions for what to write
- A short letter of opposition is better than none! Use the ACLU link, or write your own brief letter, so your opinion can be counted on this important issue!
Key phrases to use while writing:
- I understand the changes to the proposed ordinance, and I remain firmly opposed to it.
- I oppose any form of a sit/lie ban in Fort Collins
- I ask you to vote against the proposed "Shared Use of Public Spaces Ordinance"
You may get a confusing response! For instance, "We are not
contemplating a sit-lie ban."
- If City Council decides to pass this ordinance (in its current draft form), a person could go to jail for sitting or lying in large portions of downtown. That is a sit/lie ban. However, City Staff has labeled this ordinance the "Shared Use of Public Spaces Ordinance," and it is sometimes being called the "disruptive behaviors ordinance," which has caused some confusion.
- This ordinance WILL be discussed at City Council on March 7th.
- If councilmembers respond, especially in a way you find confusing, write back. Let them know that you understand the changes that have been made, and remain firmly opposed to this ordinance.
- Sample response: "I have read the newest draft of the ordinance, and am familiar with the changes. I remain opposed to this ordinance, which criminalizes people for sitting, lying, or having 'too much' stuff."
- Include email@example.com in your response, so that everyone on council can benefit from the exchange