Council Member John Quincy: MLB "Clean Zone" concerns "out of proportion"
John Quincy photo via Twitter
The ACLU might not be happy about it, but Minneapolis City Council Member John Quincy says granting the MLB's request to create a "Clean Zone" around Target Field during a two-week stretch surrounding this summer's All-Star Game "is something we have to do and should do."
"It's something we've done before for all the other major events we've had in town, like the previous Super Bowl and the NCAA Tournament, and it's typically standard operating procedure for every community that puts together a major bid for a major event," says Quincy, who serves on the Community Development & Regulatory Committee, which was tasked with reviewing the MLB's "Clean Zone" resolution before it was forwarded to the full council, where it was approved without discussion.
The resolution requires additional MLB approval for any block events, parades, temporary structures, tents, signs, and banners that would normally require just city approval. In other words, it essentially gives the MLB veto power.
The ACLU immediately raised concerns about the city's decision to temporarily cede some regulatory power to the MLB, saying that it places "our free speech rights... in the hands of a private corporation."
But Quincy argues those concerns are overblown.
"There's no resolution that the city of Minneapolis can produce that would ever trump constitutional free speech rights," Quincy said. "This is really set up to be guidelines to protect small businesses."
On that score, Quincy said the main goal of the "Clean Zone" is to make sure unlicensed food vendors and merchants don't pop up near Target Field around the All-Star Game and take customers away from legitimate local businesses.
"The reason I think it's important for Minneapolis is because it protects the existing local businesses that follow the rules 365 days a year and deserve to take advantage of the event," he says. "It's appropriate for us to take measures so other companies can't come and swoop in."
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