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  1. Where can I watch/read Mayor John Hamilton's statements? 
    August 13 • Mayor Hamilton Announces Plan to Reopen Community Farmers’ Market–Click here.
    August 13 • Mayor Hamilton's Video Statement on Farmers' Market Reopening–Click here.
    July 31 • Mayor Hamilton's Remarks on the Farmers' Market Future–Click here.
    July 31 • Mayor Hamilton's Video Remarks at Press Conference–Click here.
    June 17 • Mayor Hamilton’s Statement on the Bloomington Farmers' Market–Click here.

  2. What has the City done to increase public safety at the Farmers Market?

    The reopened market now includes:
    • Cameras to monitor the site to enhance safety
    • Two public streets are closed to traffic during market hours to create a larger comfort zone for the market crowd (Morton Street from 7th to just south of the Smallwood garage entrance, and 7th Street between Morton and the B-Line Trail; 8th Street will be closed west of the market to the entrance of the Cook Medical Center)
    • The presence of police and other professional public safety officers has been increased
    • New "market ambassadors," volunteers with experience and commitment to the market, welcome folks back and be visible embodiments of the inclusive spirit
    • New signage indicates areas designated for flyering and expression and publicizes market rules

  3. Where can I submit my ideas on making the Farmers' Market a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone? 
    We appreciate your thoughtful feedback and want to hear from you. Click here for our online comment form. (Submissions are anonymous unless you voluntarily provide your name and email address.) You can also fill out a comment card inside the atrium at City Hall, or contact the Office of the Mayor at mayor@bloomington.in.gov or 812-349-3406. Mayor Hamilton hosted a Facebook Live event on Monday, August 12 and took questions from residents. You can view the video here.
     
  4. Why did the City of Bloomington suspend the Farmers’ Market?
    The City on July 29, 2019, announced the suspension of the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market on August 3 and 10 out of concern for public safety. Escalating tension and conflict surrounding the presence of a vendor alleged to have ties to white nationalist causes and groups were considerations in the decision.
     
  5. Can the City of Bloomington remove the vendor in question from the Farmers' Market?
    Under First Amendment law, a government agency may regulate only conduct, not beliefs or thoughts. The City is not aware of any conduct by the vendor that violates market rules or the Farmers' Market vendor contract.
     
  6. Why can't protesters have signs or distribute fliers in the central area of the Market?
    Under First Amendment law, a government agency may regulate the time, place and manner of expression in a public forum where the regulation applies to all regardless of the content of the speech or the materials, where there are sufficient alternative channels for communication and the regulation is designed to serve a significant government interest.

    Information Alley was created to give community members and businesses an outlet to distribute information and promote their causes without disrupting the flow of commerce within the central Market area. Since the institution of Information Alley the Market has consistently asked community groups and individuals wanting to protest, distribute information, etc. to join Information Alley when they have appeared in the central market area. Plaza One-A on the B-Line Trail and the sidewalks bordering the Market are also open to these activities. 
     
  7. Why was a peaceful protester arrested at the Farmers' Market on July 27, 2019, and not the people blocking the booth? 
    The people blocking the booth were asked to relocate and complied with the request. The protester was not in compliance with market guidelines, and when asked to relocate multiple times by staff and Bloomington Police Department, the protester refused. The Farmers' Market protocol states that if a person is asked to relocate by staff and the Bloomington Police Department and refuses, the next step is to arrest the person.
     
  8. Why did it take multiple officers to arrest one protester on July 27, 2019?
    The Bloomington Police Department follows nationally established best practices concerning the level of response in the interest of protecting public safety. The size of the crowd that surrounded the protester and the level of tension accruing to this issue warranted sending multiple officers to the site of the arrest. 
     
  9. Why does the Farmers' Market allow those visiting the Market to carry guns and knives? 
    In 2011, the Indiana State Legislature in Indianapolis enacted Indiana Code 35-47-11.1-2, which invalidated all local government regulation of firearms, including prohibitions on carrying firearms on local government property. 
     
  10. Is hate speech protected by the First Amendment?
    Yes. Hate speech can be protected unless it rises to the level of various exceptions that the U.S. Supreme Court has identified over many years. In the case of a government unit, speech may be regulated only under certain limited exceptions, for example, where speech is used to threaten or incite violence or involves obscenity. Click here to read a Free Speech Overview by the Stop Hate Project.
     
  11. Where can people protest or hand out fliers at the Farmers' Market?
    Information Alley, outside the Market boundaries, and in Plaza One-A. Click here for the Rules of Behavior.
     
  12. Can the city put into place guidelines where vendors have to commit to not participating in hate groups and the use of hate speech?
    No. The city may place content-neutral limits on vendors' speech while vendors are at the Market, but not at other times. A provision prohibiting particular speech or association by a vendor while that vendor is not at the Market would run afoul of the First Amendment and could not be enforced in court.
     
  13. Why can't the vendor in question be removed from the Farmers' Market based on the Vendor Etiquette and Tips information in the vendor handbook?         
    The City is unaware of any conduct by the vendor at the Market itself that violates the terms of the vendor's contract or the vendor handbook. As a governmental entity, the city cannot grant or deny space to a particular vendor at its Market based on the vendor's political viewpoint.
     
  14. I want to help the vendors and support the Farmers' Market. Who do I contact? 
    The Farmers' Market is seeking interested individuals who would like to be Market Ambassadors. To apply, click here. As a Market Ambassador you will cultivate and maintain a warm and welcoming environment at the Market. Market Ambassadors will greet customers and vendors, and assist Market staff with events and other activities. Contact the Farmers' Market staff at 812.349.3738 or farmersmarket@bloomington.in.gov for other opportunities.
     
  15. What did the City do over the two weeks while the Market was suspended?
  • Involved individuals and community groups in seeking solutions
  • Developed and installed signage clearly stating prohibited behaviors at the Market
  • Assisted vendors in finding alternate markets for their produce and products  
  • Reviewed current security efforts and improved where needed 
  • Explored installing security cameras (to prevent recurrence of vandalism and/or graffiti)
  • Continued to confer with other law enforcement agencies, City officials, and other national experts to determine best practices applicable here 
  • Increased programming throughout the Market 
  • Established more ways for the public to comment on and make suggestions about the Market

 

I have a question not answered here. Who do I contact?
We encourage you to reach out to the Office of the Mayor at 812-349-3406 or mayor@bloomington.in.gov.