Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA, USA -- In an unprecedented slap-in-the-face to the U.S. Constitution, St. Augustine city attorneys, Ron Brown and Robin Upchurch, repeatedly stated at the trial of the St. Augustine Artists that they intend to ban Free Speech from the city's park altogether.
During the trial, city attorney Ron Brown admitted that he and assistant city attorney Robin Upchurch are currently and frequently "micro-managing" who can and can't exercise their First Amendment Rights in St. Augustine's City Park, the "Plaza De La Constitucion."
Testimony given by police officers under oath revealed that the Police were given directions in the form of a two page memo from assistant city attorney, Robin Upchurch, as to what Upchurch believed to be acceptable art. Upchurch, who has no formal training or education in art, directed the Saint Augustine Police Department in a March 23, 2007 memo, as to what mediums artists could and could not use that would be acceptable forms of art to her, that could be shown in the City's park.
On March 31, one week after Upchurch issued her memo to the St. Augustine Police Department, the police raided the city park and began citing and arrested artists whose art work did not meet Upchurch's standards as acceptable art.
Referring to the artists who show their work in the city park Upchurch stated, "It has become a huge problem."
Confronted by Judge Tinlan that the city's ordinance may be unconstitutional because it is not "content-neutral," Upchurch said that the city was "making an exception" for the artist's First Amendment rights by allowing them to show their art work in the city's park. At one point Judge Tinlan asked Upchurch if she would rather do away with the First Amendment language in the ordinance, what Upchurch called an "exception," to the city ordinances that allows the artists to show their work. "Absolutely, your honor," said Upchurch. At that point, and throughout the remainder of the trial, Upchurch repeatedly said she would recommend to the city commission "First thing tomorrow" that the city do away with the language in the ordinance which allows artists to show their "paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures" in public, effectively banning the artists' Free Speech from the city's park altogether.
Upchurch and Brown, repeatedly made reference to a well documented national case, Bery V. New York. But while referencing the case, Upchurch and Brown failed to acknowledge that in that case the Federal court ruled it is "unconstitutional to require licenses for artists to display and sell their work in city parks." St. Augustine's city ordinances currently require a permit for the artists to show their work, however no permits are currently being issued by the city, and the city has up to now, been "making an exception" for some artists who meet their criteria as "acceptable" artists.
City governments may restrict the "time, place, and manner of speech," provided that the law is narrowly tailored "to serve a significant government interest" and leaves open alternative channels for communication. City attorneys Upchurch and Brown stated during the trial, that the artists have other alternatives channels, other areas in the city where they can go to show their art work, and that they intend to kick the artists out of the city park.
Referring to the city's intent to Ban the Artists, "What good is having a Constitutional Right, a First Amendment Right to Free Speech, if the St. Augustine Government only allows you to speak in a place where no one can hear you," said Bruce Bates, one of the artists who currently shows his work in the city park.
"The city would like us to go to the back of the bus," Bates said, referencing a well-known civil rights case during the 60's, "And we're not about to let a hand-full of neo-fascists roll back the calendar on Your First Amendment Rights, after all, Artists Rights, Are Your Rights Too."
Monday, September 24, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Art In The Market has invited Mr. Tunick to St. Augustine. The bayfront wiould be a perfect setting for his type of work. more on Tunick
Friday, September 14, 2007
Is a tattoo a form of free speech? Is it protected for the tattooist or the tattooo wearer? Excerpt from an article................"For many people, tattoos have important commemorative or even religious significance. Yet despite this communicative purpose, courts have nonetheless upheld many state imposed restrictions on body art. In these cases (none of which have been heard by the U.S. Supreme Court), the restrictions typically apply to the tattoo artist, not to the person receiving the tattoo. .......cont'd.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
"I think that it's a shame that the city won't let you vagrants do artwork". A tourist, perhaps unsure of the word's meaning.
"I didn't know that you were selling books in the plaza". Commissioner Gardner to Suvo when the artist mentioned a criminal charge against him for bookselling. The Commish has forgotten that he and his wife Sally purchased "Ralph Waldo Emerson in St. Augustine" some months ago.
"I always loved the Jackson Pollock artwork that was a tribute to Jimi Hendrix.". A self styled "art expert"from Wyoming
"Does your dog bite ?" We hear this a lot and are always reminded of the film "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" ......after a terrible bite the victim says "Hey !! I thought that you said your dog doesn't bite! Reply from Insp. Jacques Clouseau, "Eees not my dog".
"We have the same t shirt and flip flop stores up north as they do on St. George Street", an observant 12 year old from Cape May N.J.
Laws that are in direct contradiction with freedom should be ignored. The US Constitution, which originated from the foundation of the Britsh Magna Carta, states clearly that any unconstitutional laws are null and void.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
We couldn't say it better. Story
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that artist sales are protected by the First Amendment, she said.
A federal judge in Reno made a similar ruling against Reno in 2003 and approved a
$47,500 settlement for painter White and sculptor Ben Klinefelter.Story
Ringed Turtle-Dove , Black-hooded Parakeet , Frigatebirds • Bitterns, Herons, and Egrets • Ibises • Storks • New World vultures • Flamingoes • Hawks, Kites, and Eagles • Caracaras and Falcons • Rails, Gallinules, and Coots • Limpkins • Cranes • Lapwings and Plovers • Oystercatchers • Stilts and Avocets • Sandpipers and Allies
No one has mentioned the Cockaded Woodpecker or the Kingfisher ! This City Bird thing seems to have been rammed through without input from the citizens. This is another example of the smug callousness of our City officials.
We want an official city soft drink........ here it is Jones' Cane Soda. An official palm....The Sabal aka Cabbage palm because you can eat the hearts. Tuesday should be our official "day" because nothing else happens then and no one else has claimed yet.
So be aware ,do not shoot or otherwise molest our beautiful Roseate Spoonbill wading in the early morning marshes. Audubon and plenty of feather brokers almost decimated them in previous centuries.