Thursday, August 09, 2007

Small Town Power

Here is an ordinance that is still on the books here in St. Augustine. This remnant of the 60's was an effective and illegal tool to prevent Dr. King, Jackie Robinson , William Kunstler, Andrew Young and other "outside agitators" from holding civil rights demonstrations in the Plaza. The City continues to violate the laws when it harasses artists and forces them to pack up their easel and artwork or face jail.

Sec. 22-4. Parks; holding public meetings.
It shall be unlawful for any person to hold any public meeting of any character whatsoever in any of the parks of the city without permission of the city manager. (italics are ours)

We have requested agenda time at a City Commission meeting to present a draft of a Constitutionally viable City ordinance that does not have a chilling effect upon the free speech of visual artists.

Initially we were told by the City Manager's office that we must request in writing and it will be placed on the agenda "at the discretion of the City Manager". We wrote and Sandy Schroeder at the City office replied that it must be "sponsored" by a City Commissioner. We have sent a draft of our agenda to each Commissioner and have yet to receive a response. The closest thing that might be a reply is that we were told by an elected City official that we can expect no response.

The Bill of Rights
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

We have heard, more than once from City functionaries that "these Federal Laws apply to a different Circuit Court". We ask, Did not the "War Between The States" settle this question at a terrible price?


  1. Just when you think you can't be surprised by the mentality of this city's leaders, they sink to a new depth.

  2. they are all full of $h!t. . .
    if it doesnt meet their personal agenda, expect to be run around like a dog chasing his tail. (which, I have heard Karl NEVER does)

    It is just as bad as the whole mess out here on the beach. The city officials, break ordinances, issue "illegal" permits, and just plain look the other way...if, and only if, THEY have something to gain.

    Someone downtown said to me, something like "You need to walk quietly, but carry a huge legal firm to be taken seriously by this town." Sad but true. If your not with the "in crowd", they think your a joke.

    Soon, City Commission, you will see who gets the last laugh! Art in the Market artists stand tall and stand together...oh and have you heard we also carry a great legal firm?

  3. If you look at the history starting with the street performer ban then the homeless regulations which protect only a certain geographical area and now the artists being harassed you will see a common thread which is a group of St. George Street merchants. They are driving a brand of social cleansing. A local P.I. and merchant set up the site In addition they have without public knowledge placed cameras in the area. Several St. Augustine Police Department officers and a dispatcher were posters on from the beginning. The site started as a way to sway social conscience and to run off the homeless but today has morphed into something else. Added to their mix is a group to people that were removed from the St. Augustine Record site. Many of these posters have connections to the City of St. Augustine. Today this site still creates hate crimes against people in the community. This behavior can be directed towards your issue or any individuals that do not agree with their motives. Anyone that speaks of city corruption becomes a target. Posters there have taken it upon themselves to post links to St. Augustine Record articles and give personal commentary. One poster has gone as far as to use a St. Augustine Record employee’s picture as an aviator on her comments. This they do because they have not been able to control the press on local issues.

    Just remember that St. George Street merchants do not want one cent spent on your art. Their friends are fighting dirty behind the scenes to protect the cash cow.

  4. Be forewarned --

    As if the plight of legitimate artists in St. Augustine was not difficult enough, a loathsome misfit, starved for attention, has infiltrated your web community.

    Although she represents no constituency whatsoever, she presumes to speak for the living and dead as if she were some "authority" ... which she isn't. Before long she will no doubt speak for the members of your organization.

    I can speak for the sponsors of and I reach out to the legitimate artisans who frequent your blog and website to let you know that we share a common concern for the tramps and thieves that have descended like gangs of locust on the downtown plaza.

    We enlist your support in our common mission to improve the quality of life for those living and working downtown and will appreciate your comments which are always welcome in our forums.

    The Authentic PlazaBum
    (Not the imbecile who plays one on ToTT)

  5. This blog speaks for no one and everyone, legitimate artists and non legitimate artists.You are a member of Art In The Market by saying that you are.Each of us may has differing opinions but we support the other's right to dissent and convince. If it is "our common mission to improve the quality of life for those living and working downtown"we include the drug addicted,the alcoholic, the disturbed and those brothers and sisters forced to the margin.

  6. Bad Internet Site:

    From their site

    Description under the Topic
    All the bums are not in the plaza! What is the city and county government doing to eliminate this threat to our tourism industry? Ignoring the transient slackers who scrounge and panhandle puts the image of America's Oldest City at risk!

    That site is not supportive of the artists and street performers. They may allow you to post there but be aware Plazabum is Ray Baggstrom a glorified maintenance man for these properties on St. George.

    106 St. George and 158 St. George, both are strip malls.

    He is against the artists and street performer’s rights and considers them panhandlers because they are not renting space.