Fliering to be allowed near UF--but only on concrete poles
People promoting grassroots politics, art, music and commerce through fliers won a partial victory September 8 when the Gainesville City Commission voted 4-1 to allow fliering in the areas which are already heavily fliered near the University, which they call the "context area," on University Avenue from North South Drive to NW 6th St., and on 13th Street from NW 5th Ave. to Archer Road.
Commissioner Paula Delaney voted against the ordinance change.
Unfortunately, the ordinance is written to only allow fliering on concrete utility poles. That's right, those are the same traffic light poles that the City is removing at high speed and replacing with the black mast-arm lights. The street light poles which are concrete are more slowly being replaced with decorative lamp posts. So the Commission is generously allowing us to flier on poles which, when they're done redecorating, will no longer exist. The first reading of the revised law will occur at the City Commission meeting on October 27.
Fliering was entirely illegal throughout the city until this new law was introduced, but for the last year, the police have not arrested people for fliering because three people who were arrested last year, Michael Geison, Howard Rosenfeld, and David Grantham, refused to plead guilty because they believed that the ordinance against fliering was being selectively enforced against them, and that a practice that is as common as fliering is on University Avenue and 13th Street is made legal in fact by the frequency with which the law is broken. The State Attorney agreed, and refused to prosecute the three.
Led by the Civic Media Center, activists circulated a petition which over 3,000 people signed, asking the City to entirely repeal their anti fliering ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The Alligator and the Gainesville Sun seemed confused about the status of fliering in Gainesville when they reported on passage of the new ordinance. Both papers inaccurately described the new ordinance as a restriction of fliering, when in fact it allows more fliering.
The text of the revised ordinance is reprinted below:
"Ordinance No. 0-97-79. An ordinance of the City of Gainesville, Florida, amending section 17-2 of the Code of Ordinances relating to posting fliers on poles, extending the prohibition on fliers to other utility-related structures, allowing exception for concrete poles in an area near the University of Florida; amending section 2-339, providing that section 17-2 shall be enforceable by civil citation...
Section 1. Section 17-2 of the Code of Ordinances amended to read as follows:
Sec. 17-2. Advertising matter; affixing fliers signs, etc., to poles or other fixtures.
a) General prohibition. Except as provided in subsection (b), it It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to affix, or cause the affixing of, fliers signs, or other advertising matter to and upon poles, fixtures and ancillary utility equipment but not limited to metering devices, transformers and traffic signal control devices, erected in the streets or rights-of-way of this city and used by any person, firm or corporation for either telegraph, telephone, CATV, telecommunications, traffic signalization and control, or electric light or power purposes.
b) Exemption. Fliers may be affixed to concrete utility poles located along West University Avenue from the east side of North-South Drive to the east side of West 6th Street and along W. 13th Street (US 441) from the south side of N.W. 5th Avenue to Archer Road, as more particularluy indicated on the map titled "Area Designated for Pedestrian Fliers", dated October, 1997, adopted by reference and on file with the Clerk of the Commission and the Department of Community Development, in accordance with administrative policy implemented by the City Manager or designee and approved by the City Commission."
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