Originally Published: August 2, 2014 5:46 p.m.
Many, even most of us love the courthouse plaza. It is the heart of Prescott.
Having lived in cities and towns where their plazas are dead or dying - lacking a heartbeat of activity - I, like many Prescottonians, have an interest in seeing Prescott's downtown enjoy protections of sorts.
That is why I am not opposed to the proposed rules changes on tap for this week's Yavapai County supervisors' meeting. It is surprising, however, to see the dCourier.com and social media comments the preview article has garnered - ranging from misunderstandings to down-right false interpretations.
Some believe the board is looking to prohibit freedoms - of expression, assembly and speech.
Under consideration are bans of disruptive people, including prohibitions of "fighting, violent or disruptive behavior, unreasonable noise, abusive or offensive language or gestures that are likely to provoke physical retaliation, protracted commotion and actions intended to prevent lawful meetings, gatherings or processions."
Read it clearly: banning actions ... intended to prevent lawful meetings, gatherings, etc.
The article states nothing about banning protests of government actions. In fact, a trip to the plaza often elicits interaction with protestors.
The expected policy changes also will include embargos against acts of solicitation and vandalism, among other behaviors.
Do you want to be walking the plaza or picnicking only to be bothered by someone seeking donations or pushing their beliefs on you?
All of it is a fine line.
At the same time, we're told, the county or one of its committees is revisiting the policy concerning plaza events. That has made news of late, with a band of merchants calling for a level playing field when it comes to arts and crafts events and fairs downtown.
That too makes sense; yet, it also involves a very fine line.
The Board of Supervisors will consider the revisions to the county courthouse plaza rules at their meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, inside the board hearing room, 1015 Fair St. in Prescott.
Will you attend? What are your concerns?
The courthouse plaza is a jewel intended to be a gathering place for entertainment, activities and events - even if that involves a leisurely stroll.
What say you?!
Watch dCourier.com and The Daily Courier for coverage of the meeting. ... Or check back here to see what's driving residents in their own pursuit of freedom.
2:45 PM Aug. 4 UPDATE: The Board of Supervisors tabled the proposed policy changes today; however, the packed room led to a spirited debate. Watch for our follow-up story.