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Hoop debate heats up at last night’s council meeting

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During the public comments section of last night’s Common Council meeting, Fabrizia Rodriguez, a director at Centro Civico as well as a coach for the Wishful Thinking recreation basketball league, spoke out against the ban on basketball hoops on city streets which was approved 4-1 by the council on July 1st. Fabrizia said that the ban disproportionately affected low-income children who did not have access to a driveway and could potentially put kids in greater danger as they sought out abandoned buildings or other places to play. She also said that the condition of the basketball courts in the city parks were poor. Accompanying her were several girls in basketball uniforms who Rodriguez said were members of her basketball team and representative of children of low-income families would be most affected by the ban.

Later in the meeting, the three council members present who voted for the ban, Ron Barone, Diane Hatzenbuhler, and Richard Leggerio, all defended their positions and reiterated that the children’s safety was their top concern when voting for the measure. Alderman Ed Russo, who also voted for the resolution, was not present.

Barone said that in Ward 3, he was aware of the poor condition of Sirchia Park and was hoping to work with the Recreation Department to get basketball hoops installed there within about three weeks.

Mayor Ann Thane spoke out against the ban, arguing that there were already laws on the books against anyone blocking traffic on city streets. She said that the ban would not inspire people to parent better and that at-risk and impoverished neighborhoods were being unfairly targeted.

Hatzenbuhler said that under current laws, police officers could only take action if they personally observed people blocking the streets. With the new resolution, police officers could remove the hoops before an incident happened. She also said that she believed Thane previously intended to sign the resolution. After the meeting, Thane confirmed that she would issue a veto on the resolution.

Valerie Beekman, who voted against the ban, said that taking away the hoops from the kids would not teach them anything.

Leggerio said that he might be open to allowing portable hoops on dead-end streets, but agreed with the other council members in supporting the ban. He said that increased attention should be paid to fixing up the basketball courts in the city parks.

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About Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of AnthemWebsites.com LLC which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.

7 Responses to Hoop debate heats up at last night’s council meeting

  1. Dylon says:

    After what 4 common councils now and Mayor Thane still doesn’t play nice in the sand box. I read if her veto is overridden she won’t sign the law regarding these hoops that obviously block traffic when being used or a parking spot when parking. Its not just here other communities have passed laws. Shame if people can’t see the problem after 8 yrs. Down with the Imperalist.

    • Tim Becker says:

      A resolution does not need the mayor’s signature to take effect if the veto is overriden by at least 4 of 5 council members. It’s only contracts that require the mayor’s signature.

  2. Diane says:

    On Thursday July 3rd, the mayor in fact did sign the resolution in regards to banning the hoops. In fact, the city clerk even had the law posted in the legal section of the Recorder as a result of the signed resolution. During the weekend the letter arrived from Ms. Rodriquez in regards to opposing the ban. On Monday, the mayor removed her signed resolution from the city clerk’s desk, stating she had changed her mind.

    • Ann M. Thane says:

      Diane, your facts are incorrect. I had mistakenly signed the resolution on Thursday and, when I realized it an hour later, went to the clerk’s office, got it back, and tore it up. The clerk had not yet scanned the resolutions to the council and was out for the day. I didn’t know that she had stopped in during that brief period and sent a notice to the paper or I would have alerted them to this mistake. I was within my rights to proceed the way I did.

  3. Diane says:

    The police are not looking to take anyone’s hoops, they are looking for compliance…….removing the hoops to a driveway or backyard, so it is not in the street, or on the sidewalk. We will have flyers printed in English and Spanish so the officers can pass them out to non English speaking parents, if need be πŸ™‚

    The common council fully intends to over ride the mayor’s veto πŸ™‚

    • Rob Millan says:

      Yes, so the police can hand them a flyer along with a citation that carries a fine up to $250.

      In fact, I’d like to hear what the police have to say about playing babysitters to kids when instead they could be fighting actual crime. I’d love to meet one police officer that will actually pull up to a home and hand a parent a citation that carries a fine that’s more than six parking tickets combined, or a parking ticket, tow truck and impound fees for a day or two that still won’t add up to the amount of that kid’s ticket over what an adult gets.

  4. Fabrizia says:

    Everyone I’ve spoken to does not agree with this ban. All 300 kids on the basketball league do not agree with this ban. In fact no one even knew about it.

    I engage with the community on a daily basis and if council overrides the veto I will begin to collect signatures and make sure everyone is aware how their councilman is representing them. The majority do not support this yet their interests are not being represented by their councilman. Election 2016 will be very interesting πŸ™‚