[Hpn] Court rules sidewalk chalk not free speech

john macpherson nyceguy50@yahoo.com
Sat, 28 Sep 2002 14:33:42 -0700 (PDT)

 I am confident that the court and defendant were on
the same wavelength as the case continues to the next
level. However, the motions will have to be refined.

How is talc or the powered form of calcium damaging?
Define the freedom of speech, which has in the past
two years included the hanging of dung in a fine art
gallery in New York City as a mixed medium work of
art.  You also need to gather public exposure of other
artworks that might be considered offencive in the
area, like erotica? Are cigars offencive to some
populations, while autos are offencive to others. Why
not just get rid of writing all together and
criminalize all of it, as advertisers are paid to lie
about the products, they represent. That is mor
offencive to me than the rest of it put together. What
right, dose one or a group of people have to refuse a
working citizen to restrict the ability to his

The Italian form of artwork, chalk art is currently
regains popularity worldwide. As long as we can
declare it in relative good taste no offense has been
committed other than potentially blocking the freedom
of another persons right to travel. Though out of
respect of the business owner permission should be
ascertained as a good neighbor, as well as that of the
trusted caretaker of the real estate.

--- Becky Johnson <Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> From: The Santa Cruz Sentinel
> September 28, 2002 
> Court official rules sidewalk chalking not free
> speech 
> Sentinel staff writer 
> A Superior Court officer ruled Friday that writing
> in chalk on the sidewalk is not protected by the
> U.S. Constitution, and in Santa Cruz at least, is a
> crime. 
> Commissioner Irwin Joseph found homeless activist
> Becky Johnson and artist Tim Rinker guilty of
> defacing a city sidewalk. In June the two wrote
> slogans like "Vandals don't use chalk" and "Sleeping
> is not a crime" on the sidewalk at the corner of
> Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street. Both were
> sentenced to serve 23 hours of community service,
> though their attorney, Ed Frey, vows to appeal. 
> The chalking incidents were part of a wave of
> confrontations between police and homeless people
> and activists over chalking on Pacific Avenue this
> summer. Nathan Kennedy was arrested after repeatedly
> chalking in front of Border's Bookstore in a 24-hour
> period. Several other homeless people have been
> cited for chalking. Johnson was arrested in August
> on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism for chalking.
> That case goes to trial in October. 
> Johnson maintains that what she did was legal and is
> a protected form of free speech under the First
> Amendment. 
> "Chalk is cheap. It is readily available, and it is
> a very effective way of communicating short messages
> to the general public," Johnson told Joseph in an
> allocution statement that went so long Joseph
> eventually cut her off. "Chalk is not illegal. It
> does not rise to the level of defacement." 
> Johnson compared the chalking she did on the
> sidewalk to performance art. Rinker said he was
> protesting what he called police harassment of
> homeless people downtown. Johnson said she thought
> the law, which has been on the books since 1964 but
> does not specifically mention chalking, is being
> selectively enforced as part of a police conspiracy
> to harass homeless people, a charge the police have
> always denied. 
> Joseph did not agree with any of Johnson's
> arguments. 
> In his ruling, Joseph said that just because the
> chalk easily can be washed off the sidewalk does not
> make it protected free speech. He said he found no
> evidence of selective enforcement by police. He
> found that their right to free speech was not
> impaired by the ban on chalking and ruled that the
> city ordinance is constitutional and fully
> enforceable. 

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