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Once bound to be banned, short pieces of string will be allowed outside RNC after all

Susan Shannon of Tampa mocked the rule at a City Council meeting April 5. She held up a tiny noose made with 6 inches of string.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Susan Shannon of Tampa mocked the rule at a City Council meeting April 5. She held up a tiny noose made with 6 inches of string.

TAMPA — Pity the lowly piece of string.

Longer than 6 inches? Strong enough to lift more than 30 pounds? If so, it was on a proposed list of potential weapons to be banned outside the Republican National Convention.

Weapon?

Try punch line.

Protesters mocked it before the City Council. Rachel Maddow lampooned it on national TV.

But not for long.

When Tampa's revised "Event Zone" ordinance returns to the council on Thursday, the 6-inch standard will be gone, replaced by what officials meant to say:

Six feet.

No strong string — or rope, chain, cable, wire, tape or straps — longer than that would be allowed in the Event Zone.

The 6-inch length got into the draft when someone mixed up the symbols for inches and feet, and it took several conversations to straighten things out. Assistant City Attorney Mauricio Rodriguez hesitated to change it until getting a definitive okay from police, which came Friday.

"The last thing I want to do," he said, "is to change something in the ordinance and limit their abilities to do what they need to do."

Once bound to be banned, short pieces of string will be allowed outside RNC after all 04/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012 4:21pm]
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