The Urban Residents Meeting was quite interesting and volatile last night. There were eight to nine council members there and, probably about sixty attendees. The lawyer from the Publisher's Group and Mike Piggott from McNeeley Piggott and Fox were there with their paid defense of the Publisher's turf. Mike Jameson listed off about ten major cities that have legislation like this in place and they have survived constitutional challenges and the newspapers had remained and continued to make a profit. The only councilman there who sided with the proposed agreement and against the legislation was Jim Shulman. He said that, even if the ordinance was passed, he did not think Public Works would enforce it. The lawyer from the Publisher's Group said nothing would change. The head of the URA stated that things indeed would change. First, the Publishers would have to register their media boxes and then pay the fee to keep them on the streets. One of the residents who has been watching the media boxes on 2nd Ave North said he has seen fifty more dropped in the area in just the past week and that the Tennessean had bolted some of their news boxes to the street! The bill is up for third reading tonight, in the middle of the group, so I would say it would be after nine pm before it comes up. Should be an interesting show or showdown.Looks like things are getting nasty what with the print media dumping more and bolting down what are already there. If the bill wouldn't change things as the opponents claim, then why have they wasted so much hysterical ink and so many bytes fighting it?
I'm still awaiting debate on Mike Jameson's bill at tonight's meeting.
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