We street vendor artists have been going through a difficult and sometimes daunting legal battle with the city over constitutional rights. It would certainly not be an issue if a modern day Henry Flagler simply purchased the town, or maybe this has happened and we didn't notice it. It would be naive to deny that in city governments there is usually a chummy relationship with the large property owners and employers. People play golf, socialize, share inside info...that's the way of the world. Have your water bills waived....take home a stapler....I don't care. Citizens get upset when no bid contracts are doled out without public disclosure. They resent it when police powers are used to stifle protected Constitutional rights. This is followed up with paying outside legal counsel almost 100,000 to lose a Federal court case to artists. This is not your money!
The solution to avoid these situations would be to "privatize" formerly public properties and services. Be aware readers, this is on the horizon. Our County Commission expects the St. John's Public Libraries to "pay for themselves". My dog and I were evicted from Beale Street in Memphis Tennessee because the Business Improvement District did not permit artists painting or dogs, even on a leash. Two uniformed (not police) twenty somethings escorted Karl and I one block over where the winos habituated.
I'm sure that here in St. Augustine are there are those already soliciting corporate donations for our 450th anniversary fandango. Certain benefits for the sponsor come with this. If we are not careful these benefits could lead to privatization. The corporate motive is rarely altruistic.
I'm of the view that certain parts of the social and governmental terrain should remain closed to market forces in order to protect them from the unpredictability and ruthlessness of the market (such as private prisons, basic health care, and basic education). Some of the utilities which government provides benefit society at large and are indirect and difficult to measure or unable to produce a profit, such as defense.
By the way city leaders,.........in Key West......Leasing out the wharf for "sunset celebration" is "privatization". This is perfectly legitimate for mercantile vendors........not for visual artists. They are in jeopardy of a civil rights trial brought by visual artists. This should not be your model.
A final note to the city.............Your agreement to make the injunction that the artists won permanent, is disingenuous if you create another ordinance that basically continues to violate our hard won rights. Also....stop waffling on paying our attorneys.....you lost.