Carrboro Residents To Hold Press Conference Tuesday in Violation of Anti-Loitering Ordinance, Release Letter to Town Board

Carrboro residents will unveil a letter calling upon the Board of Aldermen to rescind the town's anti-loitering ordinance at a Tuesday October 25 11 AM press conference on the corner of Davie and Jones Ferry Roads.  The letter, signed by more than 100 Carrboro residents, business owners, and day laborers, calls for the immediate repeal of the ordinance which "violates the civil and human rights of any person who would otherwise lawfully be present at the intersection."

The anti-loitering ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for any person to "stand, sit, recline, linger, or otherwise remain" on this corner "between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 a.m."  The letter from Carrboro residents highlights that this ordinance violates the First Amendment right to assembly by criminalizing mere presence in a public place.  The ordinance also makes it more difficult for the predominantly Latino day laborers who gather at the corner to find work.  Letter signatories urge the Board of the Aldermen to explore creative alternatives to the anti-loitering ordinance compatible with Carrboro's progressive reputation.  Each of the four candidates running to fill the three open slots on the Board of Aldermen have stated their opposition to the ordinance.

"Carrboro residents are calling on the Board of Aldermen to make the corner of Jones Ferry and Davie safe again for free speech and members of our community trying to make a living," says Carrboro resident and letter author Stephen Dear.  "This press conference highlights just how much the ordinance gets wrong.  Petitioning your elected representatives is exactly what the First Amendment is designed to protect, yet doing so at this corner is a crime under the ordinance."

Speakers at the press conference are expected to include a day laborer, a local businessperson, and representatives from the Chapel Hill and Carrboro Human Rights Center, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the UNC Center for Civil Rights.



Chris Brook
Southern Coalition for Social Justice
919-323-3380 ext. 113
Stephen Dear




This is a great idea. I'm sorry I can't be there, but so glad folks are doing it.

For heaven's sake, there are two bus stops at that location -- the J stop on Jones Ferry and the stop on Davie (used to be the C, not sure what bus is there right now).  How in the heck can you enforce an anti-loitering rule where there's a bus stop?  

The Indy's Joe Schwartz has posted a summary of today's events

WCHL reports that the Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted 4-3 tonight not to rescind the anti-loitering ordinance. The motion to rescind the ordinance was made by Sammy Slade and seconded by Dan Coleman. Lydia Lavelle joined Slade and Coleman in voting to rescind the ordinance.Joal Hall Broun, Mark Chilton, Jacquie Gist, and Randee Haven-O'Donnell voted against the motion.The issue will be discussed further at the board's November 22 meeting. All four candidates now running for alderman have stated that they oppose the ordinance.

The main issue with this vote was procedural.  We told all stakeholders we would vote on this issue on Nov 22.  Last night this matter was not on our printed agenda; a resident petition brought it up.  The stakeholders had no notice and several of us voted against the ordinance change because we want to conisder it at our normal meeting place on the night we had announced in advance that it would be.

Actually, we told folks we would discuss the issue Nov 22, not necessarily vote.Everyone's position is well-established and I seconded knowing the motion would fail. Nonetheless, four aldermen had never had the opportunity to vote on this matter and it can't be a bad outcome that everyone is now officially on the record.

My point was mostly that the result could easily be quite different on Nov. 22. 

"Supporters of the ordinance say it’s needed to address a few people,
many of whom aren't looking for work, who allegedly drink and cause
public disturbances on the corner."Too bad there aren't laws against drinking in public and causing public disturbances. Oh wait, there are. Why not enforce the existing laws against the few people who are breaking them instead of passing a new law that affects many people who are not causing trouble, but simply want to work -- and make lawbreakers out of folks waiting to catch the bus.

I have yet to hear an explanation for why the Town can't just concentrate some resources on enforcement of existing laws. I think it's absurd to make it illegal to stand in a public place.


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