Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Editorial by Suvo

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.

Hans Duckett
The recent story in the St.Augustine Record was entitled "Both Sides See Win In Artist Suit". The title perpetuates the impression the populace has of the city administration and vice verso. Is it naive to believe that government and the people are supposed to be the same thing? Can our elected government have direct opposition to the people that they supposedly serve? It can happen when the elected officials and the city administrators decide that it is practical to bow to a minority. This minority is the group that came forth with campaign funds and golf outings and promises to keep the community vibrant with growth and progress particularly in their own interests.

We, the artists involved, have seen this close up. Last year a secret closed door meeting regarding our ouster from the streets was clearly obvious. When the ordinance was passed by unanimous vote to ban the artists the mulch boxes that contained our exhibits were removed the day before the vote. Whoops! The parks department slipped up on that one! No plausible deniability there.

Mayor Boles represents himself as a fighter vs the artists. Local readers, ask yourself this......Is he fighting for your interests? His friend and client, gallery owner Len Cutter is having difficulty selling his overpriced Dr.Seuss prints in one of his four galleries surrounding the Plaza. Look for blame........it must be those street artists....they are taking MY tourist dollar. Handle it Joe! Take care of it Bill! Get them out of there!

A clarification to the news story...........We have no spokesperson. As advocates of free speech we along with everyone else sometimes hold our tongues and clench our teeth when we hear something that conflicts with our own beliefs or philosophies. But everyone has the right to be heard. That said.............this is a visual arts issue not a street performer issue. Those who have spoken before this last City Commission meeting rehashing old narratives and shaking their fists have not been involved in the Federal lawsuit nor have we seen them anywhere near our past protests. Coming out of the woodwork now does not help us. We are leaving this in the hands of the Federal Court for now. Debate now?..........why?

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