Most residents understand and approve of the balancing act we go through to ensure that the things we hope distinguish city living from suburban or rural life are encouraged. We have the usual book of ordinances and regulations, a troop of enforcing officials, and a roster of instances that cry out for exceptions. In most of the exceptional cases, a satisfactory outcome is achieved by common sense, good manners, and consensus. Food trucks, beloved by their patrons and hated by their brick and mortar competitors, often vend outside established zones, but are asked to do so with common sense and courtesy. If dog visitors were strictly monitored, three-quarters of the coffee shops in the city limits would be fined. The same with some southside pretzel sellers and open containers during the playoffs.
When common sense and manners break down and when complaints begin to outweigh complaisance, the City has to ask for behaviors to change.
Parks Department officials are doing that with Occupy St. Louis in Kiener Plaza now. It is a conversation, not a confrontation. At the end of it, I expect Occupy to still be in Kiener, but in compliance with a list of ordinances which we have generally overlooked for weeks.
I expect the loudest critics of this measured approach to be those whose political agendas are most opposed to the Occupy protestors and who would love to a provoke a confrontation to "prove" some prejudice about the groups that make up the Occupy coalition. That's not my plan.