CURFEW, ZOO TICKETS PRICES AND HONORARIUMS AT TAMPA CITY COUNCIL-Andrew Stelzer

11/18/04

This morning Tampa’s city council discussed issues related to tickets prices at the zoo, naming streets signs in honor of people, and the teen curfew in Ybor city. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer has this wrap up from city hall.

ACT �We were hit fairly hard by the hurricanes and ended up losing over 400,000

Lex Salsbury is president and CEO of Lowry park zoo.

ACT for the first time in our history we ended up without a budget, closed labor day….for years we’ve been subsidizing the zoo without fundraisers without cushion

ticket prices at the zoo will be raised 3 and a half dollars for children and seniors, to 15 and 14 dollars a piece, and raised 2 and a half dollars for children, to 10.50. The price of a family pass will go from 75 to 99 dollars.
Councilwoman Mary Alvarez asked if the zoo would reinstate employees that were recently laid off, Salsbury said he would hope to increase staffing, but paying off the zoos credit debt is more important. Councilman Shawn Harrison asked how low-income residents will be able to attend the zoo; Salsbury said that there will still be 2-dollar days, and headstart and title 1 children can attend for free.

Salsbury pointed out that MOSI is still 1 dollar more than the new proposed rates, and the aquarium costs even more than that for admission. He also said that the Lowry park zoo is one of the lowest priced zoos in the country, and was named the best in the country by child magazine this year. Proportionally the zoo should be getting 4 million dollars in government subsidies.

ACT “I think the sustainability of the zoo, MOSI and aquarium are going to need help—they are the best most attended nonprofit activities in FLA, we are the cultural center of the state, we are going to have to look at some ad valorum in the future..they need more subsidies…were going to have to work together to solve that.

Next the council heard from Kevin Howell from the 911 county office, who said that honorariums, or the practice of naming part of a street in a certain neighborhood for someone, is potentially dangerous and should be stopped.

ACT ‘The 9-11 emergency telephone network can only support 1 street name, when you use more that becomes a dull name, and people become accustomed…citizens start reporting 9-11 incidents based on honorary, the call taker has no way of knowing that street name, it causes confusion.

Councilwomen Linda Saul Sena and Mary Alvarez found Howells reasoning hard to believe.

ACT ‘I cant imagine that youve had real life experience with this. Its not credible to me that this is an issue…I can’t site them in the city of Tampa…

ACT “I’m not convinced either, I site the example, does anyone know what Tom Mccuan Boulevard, Frank Garcia, theres no difference, the streets we are asking to be named..

But Tom Snelling, the cities land development manager, warned the council that an increase in honorariums may be creating a dangerous situation.

ACT “While it’s easy to say, while I can’t cite you this or that…you’re laying the groundwork for that to happen, with the increased use of 9-11. that potential was lower, you are laying the groundwork.

Councilwoman Rose Ferlita said she was in favor of eliminating the honorariums, and councilman John Dingfelder suggested that plaques or monuments be erected, but street signs, which could confuse people. The council ended up supporting this suggestion, thus for now, no new streets will be named after people.

And last, the council approved a curfew on Ybor city, from 5th to Palm Avenues, from Nuccio to 22nd from 11pm to 4 am Thursday through Saturday nights. People under 18 seen on the streets on the neighborhood will be warned formally or informally by police; if they receive a formal warning and are caught again breaking the curfew, they can be arrested. There are exceptions for children with parents, of if they are attending an event sponsored by a school, church or government agency. Two weeks ago, the council considered the question of the guavaween festival—today the commission said they did not want a separate exception for guavaween because after 11pm it’s not appropriate for children anyway. Commissioner Dingfelder said he thinks guavaweens organizers will find a way to get around the curfew.

ACT ‘I don’t think we should exempt, but lets not fool ourselves, they will find a church to co-sponsor, it becomes exempt, lets not leave churches out “

Moses Knott was the only person to speak out against the ordinance, which only came to be after there were several incidents involving police and youth outside an all ages hip-hop club “Club Bling� this summer.

ACT “This is the most racist thing..human rights….no one said no kids in the street…its gonna be black children, this is racist, yall tried to pass it all over town….i’m the only black person who’s speaking on this issue.�

Councilman John Dingfelder was the only council member to bring up the issue of civil liberties

ACT “A curfew is a serious infringement on civil rights…�

Police Major George McNamara responded

ACT “You mentioned a curfew, it’s a child protection ordinance…in an entertainment area.�

The city’s lawyers think that unlike a previous citywide ordinance, this one will survive possible court challenges—Coincidentally, today the Florida Supreme Court upheld a ruling that Tampa, and Pinellas previous attempts at citywide curfews were unconstitutional. This time they modeled it after a similar ordinance in downtown Orlando, which has stood up in court because it was narrowly designed for an entertainment district similar to Ybor city.

A representative for Camden Ybor city apartments asked for the curfew zone to be extended to 12th street to include that complex, the council they would look into extending it over the next couple of months. The curfew should take effect in the next three weeks.

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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