Some council members showing support for Occupy TucsonPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Occupy Tucson has gained more support from city leaders, but so far, it's not enough to stop nightly citations issued to protesters who remain in city parks after hours.
At least one council member wants to help the movement in some way.
"I understand the frustrations of Occupy Wall Street protesters everywhere on a very personal level," said Councilwoman Regina Romero
Council member Regina Romero urged her colleagues to make several concessions for Occupy Tucson.
"Mayor and council, request a moratorium on ticketing protesters in Veinte de Agosto Park. I also would request the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation staff waive permitting fees and curfews," Romero said during Tuesday's council meeting.
The idea of establishing a so-called Freedom of Speech zone sparked mixed feelings among council members.
"We haven't had any type of permit discussion with this current situation," said Councilman Paul Cunningham.
"There is a place outside of this arena where you could go and make a demonstration," said Councilwoman Shirley Scott.
Perhaps the most vocal opponent of changing city ordinances, is council member Steve Kozachik.
"We have some cost issues to the city that have to be considered. We haven't mentioned insurance yet. That's a liability issue," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.
A motion to direct city staff to draft a new ordinance failed, with only half of the council in favor.
Occupiers were disappointed, but optimistic.
"Even the council members that didn't vote for the proposal were basically saying what we've been saying since October 15, the system's broke, you know. It needs fixing," said occupier Mike Robins.
"You know, honestly, I think this is a victory for the community," said John Strader from the Tucson Police Officers Association.
The president of the Tucson Police Officers Association says he is pleased to see the council backing enforcement efforts in city parks.
"I think it's a slippery slope when you start to say one group or one organization based on their message is given special rights," Strader said.
The council made no further plans to revisit the issue.
Romero also requested protesters to respect permitted events and she asked the city to switch from big banks to credit unions.