Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Update 001 -- G-20 Protest Permits Lawsuit -- Federal Court Hearing

[These are my raw notes from the courtroom; they will often consist or keywords and phrases and are not a comprehensive log or transcript.]

10:18 AM Judge Gary Lancaster takes the bench. Notes that parties have been continuing to negotiate in good faith, narrowing the issues. Says some permits have been issued since suit was filed.

Attorney Jules Lobell, Center for Constitutional Rights, says plantiffs want:
-Permits for Sunday eve to Tuesday evening for Point State Park for Code Pink and 3 Rivers Climate Convergence; are no longer asking to camp there overnight.

-A permit for a protest march from the City County Building to 7th Street Bridge and to stop there for short rally, then disperse. He says the city unwilling to grant that; asking they are asking judge to do so.
-the judge to issue a permit for camping in Schenley Park.

Witness: Francine Porter, Code Pink. 10:21AM.
She's a registered critical care nurse and has been a member of CodePink for years. She's a coordinator of the local group of 350 members for past five years.
CodePink founded to speak out against war in Iraq. Focus now is Iraq and Afghanistan.
CodePink applied for two permits in early July for Louis & Clark Parklet, behind convention center for Monday 20th to Friday the 25th.
Aims of their event: to be voice to speak on behalf of refugee crisis brought about by the wars...crisis that impacts women and children.
Later, in 1st or 2nd week in August, applied for permit for Point State Park as well. First request hadn't been granted yet. Thought Point State Park would be farther away and still have good visibility.
Application signed 12th of August, mailed August 14th to city.

City's Special Events Coordinator Nadine Brnilovich told her permits had been denied.

Hoping to create family-friendly non-hostile, non-threatening atmosphere. High visibility area would be good. An encampment with two large tents, lots of literature, speakers on impact of war on women and children.
Would allow people people to become informed on G-20 policy impact on refugees. Have since compacted plans from five days to two days because of restrictions.
When heard PA State Senator Jim Ferlo had been requested a permit for Wednesday, they told city there would be
Asking for early evening Sunday to set up infrastructure of encampment through Tuesday evening, leaving the park at 7 PM each evening.
No longer asking to camp overnight -- but need a way to secure their encampment equipment (overnights).

City said it would be difficult to set up in Point State Park on Monday or Tuesday because of the aftermath of the Junior Great Race.

Lobel: Did the city recently grant you a permit for the Louis & Clark Parklet for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday? A: They did.
Q: Does that satisfy your need for Point State Park. She says it does not.

Lobel: asks about suitability of the Buncher lot on the Strip District. Porter answers by asking if he's ever tried to pitch a tent on concrete. Says would not be a family-friendly location.

10:41 AM cross examination by Assistant City Solicitor Michael Kennedy.
Asks to confirm that CodePink is no longer asking for Thursday and Friday. She says that's because the city says it would not be available.
Asks about her familiarity with The Great Race. She says she's run it thirty times.

He asks if she's familiar with time and effort involved in setting up and taking down event.
Asks her familiarity with the Junior Great Race. Would she have any reason to believe the take-down would not take until through Monday morning.
She says she doesn't understand why the takedown of the Junior Great Race would take longer than the Great Race.
He says her attorneys may put those questions later to other witnesses.

Kennedy offers evidence of city time stamp on permit application -- ten days after it was mailed.
She says the post office told her it would not have taken that long to arrive.

Kennedy asks, establishes that city is making available to CodePink: Tuesday in Point State Park, three days at the Louis & Clark Parklet, and the Buncher lot in the Strip District.

10:50 AM Cross examination by attorney for PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources which actually controls the park.
His questions establishes that securing the tents would require using stakes.

10:53 AM Re-direct by Lobel: if you are not allowed to use stakes, could you secure tents with sandbags? A: Probably.

10:54 AM Porter's testimony ends.

[ Breaking from blogging to prepare for noon report on WTAE Channel 4 Action News.]

No comments: