Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"The Four Horsemen", 30"x 40"oil on canvas by Art In The Market artist. Charles Dickinson
Yesterday afternoon, seven Art In The Market artists sat in the city Hall meeting chambers squirming a little after hearing City Attorney Ron Brown and Commissioners refer to plaintiff artists ( Bates vs City of St Augustine) as "The Four Horsemen". This is Atty Browns clever way of describing prints, paintings, sculptures and photographs which are constitutionally protected materials. Painter Scott Raimondo pointed out to us that this is a subtle psychological dig since the Book of Revelation describes the four as Conquest , War, Famine, and Death. The artists do not feel that we are that much of a threat to humanity.
Brown went on and on, citing previous cases involving street vending in other cities. The implication that he made is that the cities win in their quest for stringent regulation. He is correct in that these cases involved merchandise vending but much upheld the protections afforded by the Constitution to artwork. Brown didn't mention that part, expecting the Commissioners to swallow his misleading tripe.
Time and again we have repeated what the courts say is protected (paintings, prints, sculpture and photographs) and they will then ask ,"What about a leather hand tooled belt? ,"What about a decorated candle?" Once again we repeat, ......prints, paintings sculpture and photographs are all constitutionally protected and affirmed in previous Federal court cases. We have no interest in a county decision by Judge Charles Tinlin deciding that framed fabric or Ritual masks are protected (and that's all he said folks) qualified as protected. We knew that all along.
Federal Judge Marcia Howard granted an injunction to stop arresting the so called "Four Horsemen" and this is what we go by. She stated that the ordinance was content neutral while City Atty Brown told the Commission that she stated that she claimed that it was not content neutral.
For those so inclined, read the court order here and then ask yourself "Why does the City of St. Augustine feels the need for a new ordinance when there is an existing one in place that they will not enforce, though it serves the purpose?" Mark Knight city Planning and Zoning Director told a St. George Street merchant, "We are just building our case". They must feel that with a new ordinance they can subvert the intent of Judge Howard's order. Be careful ,City of St. Augustine! The legal bills are mounting.
* No one in the City administration has bothered to get any artist's input into a new ordinance. Public discussion at the "workshop" was closed.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous14 July, 2009

    If the meeting was not up for public discussion, why did Commissioner Jones come to the Plaza to tell you that it was on the agenda? It dosent make sense...I just all seems like rhetoric.

    ...and rewriting a perfectly good ordinance? Propaganda.

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  2. Anonymous14 July, 2009

    Unf_*&'in beleivable! These idiots couldn't find their d^*ks in the dark with a flashlight! They ought to have somebody come film a tv show about all this, but nobody would believe it. They could call it a documentary on how to bankrupt your town.

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  3. silence dogood15 July, 2009

    if the Commission writes a new Ordinance that is an illegal one, I can guarantee you there will be another lawsuit and more attorneys' fees. When will the taxpayers stand up and tell the City...NO MORE... Obey the Federal Judge's order and allow artists selling painting, prints, sculpture and photographs to offer for sale their art in the Plaza and enforce the Ordinance that's already in place... in other words, remove the sunglass vendor, the jewelry salesmen, the snowcone lady, the hotdogger, the Italian Ice, and yes.... Mr. Whetstone's chocolate covered bananas, etc. Why do we have to pay outside Atty. Michael Kahn another $7,000 to $10,000 to write a new Ordinance when there's one already in place that's more than adequate? So, thousands and thousands of more good dollars will go flying after bad very, very soon. Where's the sense in that? The Federal Judge said: THE ORDINANCE CURRENTLY IN PLACE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS IT APPLIES TO PAINTINGS, PRINTS, SCULPTURES AND PHOTOGRAPHS. Artists selling those items are exempt from the Ordinance. Since that Ordinance banned EVERYONE, where's the confusion? It's pretty straight forward to me, how about you?

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  4. Artists and the public were refused the right to speak at the workshop. That's wrong.
    See www.cleanupcityofstaugustine.blogspot.com

    Under Mayor George Gardner, public comment was allowed at all workshops.

    Under Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., public comment is refused in workshops.

    Under Mayor Gardner, public comment was at the beginning and end of meetings.

    Under Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., public comment is a movable thing, moved around by BOLES' whim, manipulating, making up and breaking rules to prevent the public to be heard Monday on the Fish Island issue.

    Under Mayor Gardner, public hearing witnesses were sworn in.

    Under Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., public hearing witnesses are hardly ever sworn in.

    Under Mayor Gardner, public comment was allowed on resolutions, not just ordinances.

    Under Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., public comment is denied by calling a matter a resolution.

    Under Mayor Gardner, the public was often treated with respect, instead of disdain. (But not always -- on the illegal dumping issue, he and his colleagues heaped scorn).

    Under Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., the public is treated with disdain (unless they are "affluent" or "influential," with those two words used to describe the persons our very Republican City burghers want to inflict on a Federal Advisory Committee whose members will be appointed pursuant to Public Law 111-11, Section 7404 ("St. Augustine 4t0th Celebration Commission).

    Under Mayor Gardner, the mayor worked very hard, never leaving town for years for fear our City Manager would do something crooked or wrongheaded.

    Under Mayor JOSEPH LEROY BOLES, JR., our Mayor hardly ever works -- he avoids work, deferring to City Manager WILIAM B. HARRISS & Co., refusing even to read documents Judith Seraphin tried to share with him on E. coli in our waters.

    Gee, I never thought I'd say this, but it's true: I miss Mayor George Gardner. He showed humility, he meant well, he worked hard and he cared about people. I guess that's the difference between a Democrat (Gardner) and a man who caters to the "affluent" and the "influential"(BOLES).

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