Unruly gathering ordinance passes without protest

**EDITORS NOTE: John Ashbaugh and Laura Kiani’s names were misspelled in the first version of this article but it has now been changed to reflect accuracy.

There was no sign of a protest as the unruly gathering ordinance was passed 4 to 1 at Tuesday night’s San Luis Obispo City Council meeting.

Though a Facebook event created in response to the ordinance had 1,814 confirmed guests, only five people spoke against the ordinance during the open comment period. Two of the five were members of the community and two others included Cal Poly Associated Students Inc. member Jacob Alvarez and the person who started the Facebook group, Cuesta student Lara Kiani.

With no appearance of picket signs or a crowd before the meeting, Kiani and Cal Poly art and design sophomore Sabina Miklowitz said they had to call off the march that was supposed to take place from Mission Plaza to city hall for fear of being fined as an unruly gathering.

“We would have had to get a parade license that would cost $70 and then insurance for possibly 200 people. Also, the permits would take two weeks to be approved so it would never work,” Kiani said.

She also said she made sure to ask students who planned to celebrate 4/20, a holiday associated with marijuana consumption, not to attend because it would take away from the intent of the group.

“The type of student that would celebrate 4/20 is the type of student this ordinance was made for,” Kiani said.

Though the meeting was about to begin and no participants had arrived, Miklowitz seemed unshaken.

“To be honest, I am not expecting that many people. A lot of people talk and grumble about it, but I doubt they’ll show,” she said.

Kiani and Miklowitz said they first heard about the unruly gathering ordinance after the council voted in favor of it on April 5. By creating the Facebook event, Kiani said she hoped to see people between the ages of 18 and 25 take more of an interest in local government.

At the beginning of the meeting, San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deborah Linden distributed fliers about the unruly gathering ordinance and asked Mayor Dave Romero to read one aloud.

San Luis Obispo resident Jono Kinkade said the council is comfortable making strict legislation because the five members are trying to be reelected. But by the time the unruly ordinance is passed, he said, many of the current opponents will have graduated and left town, no longer making it difficult if they choose to run for office again.

“It is an attempt at creating this veneer of advancing the publics’ interest,” he said.

Later, when the council deliberated on the ordinance, council member John Ashbaugh voted against it; he said the fine of $700 should be reduced to $500 and charging of the property owner should be reconsidered.

When Mayor Romero was asked about the bill, he said it was only in response to the high number of complaints.

“I don’t think it’s against students. I just think it is meant to keep peace and quiet in the area,” he said.

After the meeting, Kiani said while she was pleased with the speeches regarding the ordinance, the overall turnout was pathetic. She and Miklowitz waited after the meeting to speak with each member of the council individually about their standpoint on the bill.

“Go Ashbaugh! I am glad he is thinking about half the population,” Kiani said.

When Ashbaugh was asked about the four members who supported the smoking and unruly gathering ordinances, he compared them to a scene in the book “Don Quixote” where Quixote attempts to fight imaginary giants.

“I am used to tilting at windmills,” he said.


brigham says:

I wish i could have known about this, I never saw a flyer downtown, and never go on facebook.

Brian says:

Uh yeah, clearly guy! A few months too late to voice your opinion I’d say.

britney says:

$700 is an unnecessary burden to students, and the people writing this bill know that it is only students who will get it. It’s fucked up that they are doing this and acknowledging that it won’t affect their careers because of the fluidity of the campus. I feel like they’re trying to create the Stepford Wives of college campuses

Danielle says:

Although recent articles in local publications about this event have been mired in falsity, I would hope the author of this article would at least check to see that names were spelled correctly. That could have been, by far, the most simple part.