Press-Republican

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April 8, 2014

City Council may vote on alternative for vigil location

(Continued)

At that same meeting, the council OK’d a Take Back the Night march through city streets proposed by the SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Womyn’s Concerns. Kasper, Armstrong and Kretser said then that they would be in favor of the Apostles conducting a similar event.

‘CONFUSION’

“Both the mayor and Mr. (John) Clute have assumed that the dissenting counselors objected to the vigil because they objected to the content of the vigil’s prayers,” Armstrong said at the April 3 work session, adding that was not the case.

“This is not an issue for me on my personal stance on abortion rights,” Kasper said. “For me, this is strictly about whether people are entitled to free access to services (that are legal).

“Free speech ought not to impede the ability of people to procure legal services.”

It was Armstrong who first initiated efforts after the March 13 seeking a compromise.

She said Calnon and Clute’s emails confused her, as she had already discussed an alternative plan — for the Apostles to use parking spaces across the street — with the mayor in the days immediately following the March 13 vote.

She said she would be asking that a vote on the compromise be added to the agenda for this Thursday’s meeting.

‘LEGAL ISSUE’

But Middleton told the Press-Republican that he doesn’t feel the alternative is feasible because of insurance restrictions.

While the policy does not specify which three spaces must be used for the vigil, Middleton said, switching the location of the spaces is not a risk he is willing to take.

After discussing the compromise with Armstrong, Middleton met with Calnon and showed him the insurance policy.

“I’m not sure that that’s a barrier,” the mayor told the Press-Republican, adding that the policy didn’t seem to specify which three parking spaces were covered.

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