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SOAP/SODA alternative resolution

Posted by Maureen Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Labels: , , ,

If you live in or around the Historic Northeast (my hood), then you may have heard of the SOAP/SODA resolution that has been passed by the city council for my neighborhood. You can read it here, but in essence, it intends to place a geographical ban on repeat drug and prostitution offenders, marking them with a felony charge and not allowing them to return to the Northeast area, or if they live here, to be placed on house arrest. As I've learned more about the resolution, I've come to terms with it a bit, however the main problem is that it targets prostitutes, as opposed to the men who enslave them and perpetuate the trade. Being led by some friends over at Cherith Brook and Veronica's Voice, I've become more involved in proposing an alternative resolution to SOAP/SODA which would be more restorative and judicial for prostitutes and drug users, while hopefully placing the targets more on pimps, "johns", and hardcore drug dealers. Last night I attended the Pendleton Heights neighborhood association meeting to discuss an alternative to SOAP/SODA, which you can read more about below.

So, if you're still with me here, read this message from Nick Pick of Cherith Brook, who has been awesome at getting a lot of people involved in this resolution. It tells much more detail about what SOAP/SODA is and what is going on with it as of today. Good news, hopefully!

This has been a good day. I am just going to say that up front. Below are the updates for both neighborhood meetings some of us attended tonight, and below that will be some interesting tidbits of info as well as what's ahead. And hey, i'll throw in some more helpful links to things that are applicable. Enjoy.

Pendleton Heights Update:
Several Cherith Brook residents, friends, and neighbors attended a meeting where Will Royster (who is spearheading SOAP/SODA) introduced the SOAP/SODA resolution to the neighborhood. In the presentation, there was much talk of stopping drug cartels and gang activity in the Northeast, while not initially mentioning much about the prostitution piece of the resolution. He stated that this resolution would crack down on drug dealers and pimps; however, when asked how a geographic ban would affect the drug dealers who never set foot outside, there was some admission to this particular resolution not addressing those specific issues. He also mentioned some other interesting things. Here they are, bullet pointed.

* Royster has no plans to pass SOAP/SODA through the state legislature during this session.
* Royster stated that he has an open spot at the table for anyone who would like to craft this resolution as it moves toward an ordinance
* Royster mentioned that the Scarritt, Independence Plaza, and Indian Mound Neighborhoods all passed this resolution, wishing it be adopted

After the meeting concluded, we were able to talk more with the residents, encouraged them to read our alternative, and went on our way.

Independence Plaza Update:
Largely due to the good name of Kristy Childs and Veronica's Voice, the Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council meeting yielded miraculous results. Several neighborhood residents (and friends of Cherith Brook) who came to the Monday night meeting were present. Together, we voiced our shared concerns, articulated our opposition to SOAP-SODA, educated our neighbors about the realities of women being used in prostitution, and proposed our alternatives (see below). The meeting almost moved on with a simple recognition that there was not a consensus to support SOAP/SODA; Tim Honse suggested we vote to adopt the alternative. To our delight, it passed unanimously! Lee Lambert, the President of the neighborhood, said he would pass along our alternative to city council, city prosecutors, and the neighborhood email list.

The Neighborhood Council was also eager to learn more about Cherith Brook, and hear from Kristy Childs/Veronica's Voice at the next meeting. We briefly brainstormed creative responses to high traffic corners, including being trained by Veronica's Voice to do street outreach at these locations. Watch for more info about this training and outreach opportunity. . .email katebren3@gmail.com if you are interested.

* Will Royster talked of the Scarritt, Indian Mound, and Independence Plaza neighborhoods all having passed the SOAP/SODA resolution while at that very moment, Independence Plaza voted unanimously against SOAP/SODA in favor of the alternative resolution Kristy Childs (Veronica's Voice), Chris & Katie Brennan Homiak (Cherith Brook) drafted. Oh, and the group of 15 present at the Independence Plaza voted unanimously for the alternative resolution as the neighborhood's position.

* Will Royster stated that he has no plans to try and get this resolution passed through the state legislature during this current session (which ends on Friday), which is great news if it is the truth.

* Will Royster stated that he has an open invitation to anyone who would like to contribute to the shaping of the resolution. Let's hold him to it.

Because of the unexpected results of the Independence Plaza Neighborhood adopting the alternative resolution, we are now moving forward to educate and spread the word about this alternative resolution through a variety of means. Stay tuned for more details on what will be happening next. Thanks again for all the support you've shown thus far, and I can't wait to see where this may lead. Peace.

Contact Info for Local and State Reps ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhq8bhvm_22pskdfc6 )
Veronica’s Voice Letter to MO Senate/House ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhtmjn6d_44dfhxpp54 )
SUPPORTER REACTION TO OUR RESPONSE ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dhq8bhvm_7g4ks5ffd&hl=en )
Our Response to SOAP/SODA Resolution ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhq8bhvm_4ds4vhwdn )
SOAP/SODA Resolution ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhq8bhvm_3w3nqn5hc )
Chuck’s Reflections on Legislation for KC Star ( http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhq8bhvm_5hbvtthdh )

PS. An interesting read about the drug trade! Thanks to Billy Brame for making this known.


louann said...

wow. stepping into politics. It WILL be very interesting to see where this will lead. I didn't read all your links, but from your narrative i can tell that the first unanimous support group is major - and a great bounce to the next step. pretty soon you'll be a councilwoman! good job! excellent community involvement! i'm very proud of you.

Amanda Loughlin said...

there's an article on the KC Star web site about this tonight; bet it'll be in tues's paper.