A proposed ordinance from downtown Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman provides details on where protests would be permitted within the security footprint around Fiserv Forum and the convention center during the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
Under the ordinance, the City of Milwaukee will issue a special event permit to "facilitate the First Amendment rights of speech and assembly" on designated streets, sidewalks and public spaces on the outskirts of the soft zone, which the city announced earlier this year. Vehicular traffic and parking would also be restricted in those areas.
Broadly, those boundaries run along North Water Street on the east, Cherry and Vilet streets on the north, 9th Street on the west and Clybourn Street and Wisconsin Avenue on the south.
Bauman said the city is required to pass the ordinance as part of its contract with the DNC. It's modeled after those of previous host cities such as Cleveland and Charlotte and drafted in collaboration with the ACLU.
"It's an effort to bring some sense of rationality to a process that could potentially become somewhat chaotic," Bauman said.
The document notes the DNC is scheduled for August 17 to 20. Meanwhile, convention organizers have only confirmed the week of August 17 since rescheduling the event amid concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also still unclear what exactly the convention will look like and how many people it will bring to town, despite reassurance from party chair Tom Perezand presumed nominee Joe Biden that Democrats still plan to convene in Milwaukee this summer.
Bauman said the ordinance has always been a requirement for the city and drafting or passing it is not a guarantee of the form the convention will take.
The RNC is scheduled to take place in August in Jacksonville after President Trump recently pulled out of Charlotte when North Carolina leaders would not allow for an event without coronavirus-related limitations.
While the ordinance is not a direct response to the ongoing pandemic, the document does make mention of the challenges of safely hosting a mass gathering.
It there is a physical convention in Milwaukee, Bauman, said it could bring more protests than delegates.
Protesters will not be permitted within the hard security zone, which is only accessible to delegates, media and other personnel who are credentialed by the U.S. Secret Service. Bauman said the boundaries of that zone won't be disclosed until the days or weeks prior to the convention for security reasons.
The ordinance is set to be reviewed by the Public Works Committee on Wednesday, with final approval from the Common Council scheduled for July 7.