Large RNC 'Event Zone' in St. Pete Planned

The zone is proposed from Fifth Avenue North to Seventh Avenue South and 22nd Street to the Bay during the week of Aug. 26-30. In the zone, what you carry, where you go and what you wear may be restricted.

When the Republican National Convention comes to Tampa Bay from Aug. 26-30, restrictions may be imposed to limit what people can carry, where they may go and even what they may wear within a proposed "Event Zone" in St. Petersburg. 

On Thursday, July 19, the City Council will start discussions about a proposed ordinance to create an "Event Zone" around Tropicana Field. It would regulate a parade route and public viewing area for the opening event, which is Aug. 26 at the Trop.

Within the zone, there may be bans on carrying certain items or on engaging in certain activities during the Convention.

The proposed RNC event zone will extend from Fifth Avenue North to Seventh Avenue South and from 22nd Street to the Bay. 

According to Mark Winn, chief assistant city attorney, the ordinance is modeled after Tampa's. He said in a message to council members that the ordinance would be amended to "reflect our differing situations," between Tampa and St. Pete.

In a memo sent to Council, Winn said, "Masks are prohibited in the Event Zone but allowed in the public viewing area and parade route. There are prohibitions against obstructing or inhibiting the ability of the general public and governmental officials from freely moving about on rights-of-way and rappelling."

The proposed ordinance states the law is necessary because:

"The magnitude and significance of the RNC create unique challenges for the city that require additional regulations to assist in promoting and protecting the general health, safety and welfare of the residents and visitors of the city during the RNC."

Winn said business owners could apply to have fencing put up in front of their business.

"The ordinance would also create a temporary use permit for the installation of security fencing for any private business that deems it necessary to provide that type of protection for their property," Winn added. 

All temporary use permits for fencing would expire on Sept. 1.

Items restricted regardless of intent of use

  • Rope/chains/cable/wire/tape or material in similar nature having tensile strength greater than 30 pounds and longer than six feet
  • Fragile materials such as glass bottles, glass ornaments, light bulbs and ceramics
  • Locks 
  • Material designed or intended to be used as a shield
  • Umbrellas
  • Gas masks

Items restricted with the intent to harm or cause property damage

  • Large pieces of lumber/wood 
  • Metal, plastic or other hard material, whether hollow or solid
  • Aerosol cans 
  • Guns 
  • Knives 
  • Containers filled with human liquids/waste
  • Containers filled with liquid/solid/gas 
  • Any object that shoots/launches/sprays any substance, which includes water guns and super soakers. 

Targeting Protesters? 

In the proposed ordinance, Winn said no outdoor assembly permits or street closure permits will be issued during the RNC. Additionally, no park permit will be issued on Aug. 26 for any activity requiring the city services and until Aug. 30 for any activities requiring police services.

Sec. 5 of the ordinance states citizens and visitors, "should be protected from riots, routs affrays, disturbances, and disorderly assemblies and disorderly parades."

Sec. 8 of the ordinance makes it unlawful for any person to, "occupy any tent, hut, lean-to shack or other type of temporary shelter on public property."

Matthew Miller of the U.S. Secret Service shot down rumors that business access would be limited or that residents would be unable to get to their homes during the Aug. 26 RNC kick-off party. 

“Because of the way Tropicana Field is designed, (security) won’t impact much of the residential or business communities,” Miller said in a meeting with neighborhoods.

Some residents may be asked by police to show driver licenses if they live in specific areas around the Trop, he said.

“We will make every effort to work with folks,” Miller added. “I don’t think you will be that unhappy.”

At the RNC official kick-off party, nearly 20,000 delegates and members of the media are expected at the home of the Rays. 

After approval from Thursday's Council meeting, the public hearing on the proposed RNC Event Zone ordinance is set for Aug. 2. 

CJ July 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Oh boy...I can't wait to read some of the comments this one is going to generate. No locks? Yeah...right. I read ''no umbrellas'' and just laughed so hard I could not read any more... Sounds like I may as well set up cots in my yard for all the homeless they are going to run out of this area.
Philip Penrose July 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Well - as my locked bicycle was stolen last week - I won't have to worry about locking my bike anywhere in "The Zone". Is there enough lock-up space in the jails for all the people carrying umbrellas during the rainy season in Florida within "The Zone"?
Camielle July 18, 2012 at 06:20 PM
The locks and umbrellas seem a little out there. It is Summer time in Florida, it rains almost every day. Locks? Maybe they should be more specific. Does that mean people are not allowed to lock up their bikes? I understand security measures but be realistic.
Gwen Thomas July 18, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I would hope that containers filled with human waste would be illegal anywhere. I also would not want the job of enforcing that violation. However, the ban on deadly umbrellas during rainy season may create a few drenched elephants. The RNC should be an interesting and disturbing event.
Lynda July 18, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Why any city or region would seek these political conventions is a mystery to me. I lived through the traffic jams, the blocking of small local businesses, the total disruption of normal life during the St. Paul, MN convention in 2008. Believe me, it wasn't worth it for the average citizens who paid for the security overtime and the lawsuits. The only people who benefited were the local Republican office holders who got be be part of the "big time" for a week.
kincade727 July 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Can't they just keep them in Tampa? I'm staring to itch at the thought of all the pearls and bad hairdos...
SolarPete July 18, 2012 at 10:40 PM
looks like the men in black will he hanging out among us good luck with that frolks wo like east of 22nd street
Red July 18, 2012 at 10:40 PM
So. .. ... how long will this last? Bet the small businesses are just gleeful at all the profits they'll be loseing.
Bob Watson July 19, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Under Hawaii Revised Statute 338-17.8, a person only has to be an established resident of Hawaii, not necessarily a U.S. citizen, and pay taxes there for one year to be able to register an out-of-state or foreign-born person with an official Hawaii birth certificate.
kincade727 July 19, 2012 at 12:37 AM
"Mommy, Mommy! Why does downtown St. Pete smell so bad, It really stinks!" "It's not downtown that stinks hun, it's the smell of hypocrisy coming from the RNC."
Bob Watson July 19, 2012 at 12:41 AM
What could stink more than a Communist begging for a second term to finish us off? Choirboy could!
Bob Watson July 19, 2012 at 12:47 AM
The Dem convention was cancelled due to a lack of money & interest, sorry.
mikeinstpete July 19, 2012 at 02:04 AM
The RNC in St. Pete, too?!? Why can't they just stay on the other side of the bay and leave us alone!!!
CJ July 19, 2012 at 02:19 AM
During that week downtown should smell better, not stink, after they chase away all the liberal homeless people.
Tonto July 19, 2012 at 02:24 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DlTgrMCxPg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnAcbxZSEzw&feature=fvsr http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hPR5jnjtLo&feature=fvwrel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxoVqMhuzTo
D. C-K July 19, 2012 at 09:35 AM
Sec. 5 failed to protect this citizen: It was a riot just to read this item.
D. C-K July 19, 2012 at 09:52 AM
Anti-climatic reflex: hiding one's umbrella when Chicken Little is screaming 'the sky is falling!'
Red July 19, 2012 at 01:03 PM
CC July 19, 2012 at 01:14 PM
"Mommy, Mommy! Why do we have to stand in this bread line? I'm really hungry!" "Becuse choriboy727 and his friends voted for socialists."
Bob Watson July 19, 2012 at 02:00 PM
If you thought the Republicans came out in mass for the 2010 election wait 'till you see 2012!
Paul Ray July 19, 2012 at 03:08 PM
When it comes to umbrellas for some reason I am thinking of the type John Steed sported on The Avengers, the pointed kind which make a fairly useful weapon.
Paul B. July 19, 2012 at 03:09 PM
What provision of the U.S. Constitution, and what laws permit these outrageous restrictions on our freedom and movement?
Bob Miller July 19, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Hmmm....I wonder who they will arrest, me or my dog, as he gets walked on a 30' training lead and I bought one so tough it could be used to pull a car w/another car. Can we assume all the prohibited items only apply to carry/use on public property? Will my nephew get busted for playing with his supersoaker in his yard?
Paul Ray July 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Bob, if you live in the exclusion area, anything could happen. Although I shudder when I think of the policies, I also shudder at the thought of what would happen if they were not there. I am sure it will be no different than at the democratic convention as well.
kincade727 July 19, 2012 at 10:47 PM
CC, to prevent (ahem) 'bread lines' how about we start cutting that $739 billion defense budget a few percent? Ya'll are [supposedly] all about limited government and responsible spending, then start there. You can thank Bush 1 and Bush 2 for those disgusting numbers. Bush 2 spent $1.469 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - so if you want to talk about debt, why don't you back it up with some data rather than wanton speculation. And let's not forget who finally caught Bin Laden - Answer: Not a Bush, Not a Republican.
Lynda July 20, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Most cities require dogs to be walked on a 6 foot leash. And, yes, in St. Paul, private homes and yards were searched without warrants.
Paul Ray July 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM
These posts do nothing except to justify the founding fathers comments on the evils of a two party system. Derisive comments do nothing but sow more derisive comments. Let’s try and keep on topic and not throw mud back and forth.
Paul Ray July 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I am curious how many of these same comments will be made in Charlotte?


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