The ordinance to designate a violent segment of Union Avenue as a high crime zone to force businesses to close at midnight will not be up for a vote before the City Council on Tuesday night.
Council president Maritza Davila pulled the item from the agenda late Friday afternoon. She did not respond to a call seeking an explanation on Monday morning. Last week, her colleagues were divided on the proposal to designate Union Avenue from Redwood Avenue to Kearney Street as the city’s 19th hotspot zone.
“We’d like to explore other options,” said council vice president Michael Jackson. “The decision for the hotspot is a knee jerk reaction. It does not solve the issue.” He said people in the area feel unsafe before midnight.
Jackson has an alternative plan for the area that includes businesses doing more to provide security at the three rough intersections. He will spell out the details of his plan at a scheduled press conference on Union Avenue and Jasper Street tomorrow at noon, he said.
The area is within the 1st Ward that Jackson represents.
Mayor Andre Sayegh, who has pushed for the designation, expressed disappointment at the council president’s move.
“We had been given every indication that it would be up for a vote tomorrow that’s why we’re very disappointed,” said Sayegh. “But no more disappointed than the residents, individuals who are living in fear. Their safety is my priority that’s why I was advocating so vigorously and vociferously for this to be included.”
Police chief Troy Oswald told council members last week there will be a shooting in the area. It’s just a matter of when, he told them. A double shooting at the Union-Jasper intersection injured two men on Jul. 29.
“We cannot put people’s lives at stake,” said Lilisa Mimms, councilwoman at-large. She is listed as the co-sponsor for the ordinance.
Shahin Khalique, 2nd Ward councilman, is listed as the primary sponsor for the measure. He pulled his support for the ordinance on Friday.
Mimms said she was asked whether she would be willing to be the primary sponsor for the measure. She said she agreed to sponsor the ordinance, but later saw the item was no longer on the agenda.
“It’s a no-brainer for me,” said Mimms citing police data. There was a 54-percent jump in calls for service to police — noise and gang complaints — in the area. There were 35 calls in 2017, so far this year, there have been 54, according to police.
There was one non-fatal shooting and a report of shots fired in 2017. So far in 2018, there was one non-fatal shooting and two reports of shots fired, according to police data provided to the council.
“The data for Union Avenue is worse than Main and Weiss. So why are we not supporting it?” asked Mimms.
When asked if his administration is able to designate the area through an executive order, Sayegh said, “That’s something we’re actually researching because the residents need relief.”
Sayegh said the council president still has time to advertise an addendum to the agenda to consider the ordinance tomorrow night.
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