The Ravenstahl administration is anxious for City Council to enact special legislation related to the G-20 summit, and council President Doug Shields has responded reasonably.
He says members, who were to be on recess until next Friday, stand ready to waive their usual rules in order to quickly approve measures related to funding, but that doesn't mean they'll ram through regulations that go overboard in restricting the rights of citizens.
The biggest hurdle to preparations for the Sept. 24-25 event was removed last week when U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle and others brokered a deal for $10 million in federal money up front, primarily for summit security services. Council must pass legislation so Pittsburgh can get that money and use it primarily to pay agencies that will provide police officers for the G-20. Enacting those measures should be routine and present no problems.
But the administration also is talking about banning items such as masks, plastic tubing, plastic handcuffs and other devices protesters have used to disrupt gatherings in other cities. Mr. Shields said when he gets those bills, he first wants to go over them with representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union.
That's a smart course. One of the first things council should consider is whether laws already on the books are sufficient to ensure safety without passing additional measures.
City officials have the best of intentions in trying to limit disruptions, but they need to be careful not to make matters worse by imposing regulations that are too confining and don't allow demonstrators room to present their views.