Monday, May 16, 2016

BRUCE BATES: City's Attorneys are Psychopathic Liars (Letter to the Editor)


The City Attorneys have and continue to lie to the Commissioners.

The City Attorneys lied to the Commissioners on May 11, 2009, the night that the City received Judge Marcia Howard’s order allowing only “painters, photographers, sculptors and printers” to sell their fine art in the public fora.

Instead, five days after Judge Howard’s injunction, the attorneys (specifically Ron Brown) created the “contrived crisis” that allowed everyone to sell anything they wanted to in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Commissioner Freeman specifically asked “Can I set up a soda stand?” Commissioner Chrichlow specifically asked “so I can’t got out there and sell sunglasses?” “No,” just “painters, photographers, sculptors and printers,” said Ron Brown. Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline stated that she felt this injunction allowing only “painters, photographers, sculptors and printers” solved a lot of the problems. Five days later it was a “Free For All in the Plaza” as Leanna Freeman stated at a later Commission meeting. Here is the 11:46 minute video that proves it:

More recently, the Attorneys representing the City told Judge Brian Davis that the artists have “all of Spanish Street and all of Charlotte Street.” Prior to the latest Federal lawsuit one commissioner questioned why they were not including Spanish Street and Charlotte Street in the ordinance banning artists from the public fora. City Attorney Ron Brown, the sidewalks are non-existent or are too narrow, they can't set up there without blocking the sidewalk. Here is the 2:52 minute video that proves that:

And last week, after threatening the artists with arrest in a legal area of the City sidewalks, City attorneys clarified to their police and Code Enforcement Officials that the artists must leave at least 48” of sidewalk space available for pedestrian traffic and people in wheelchairs.

On Spanish Street, the new sidewalk space that was installed only exists on the West side of Spanish Street from Cuna to Treasury. So, of all the potential sidewalk space available on Spanish Street there is only 69 feet available directly in front of the MetalArtz Gallery. When you consider common courtesy and ask the artists not to set up in front of the MetalArtz Gallery doorways and display windows there is considerably less than 69 feet of space available on Spanish Street. The City Attorneys lied to Judge Davis. The artists do not have “All of Spanish Street.”

The same situation exists on Charlotte Street. None of the Sidewalks on the East side of Charlotte Street are wide enough to accommodate an artist and their easel and still be ADA compliant. And of the sidewalk footage available on the West side of Charlotte Street, an artist setting up there would block business doors and display windows. The City Attorneys lied to Judge Davis. The artists do not have “All of Charlotte Street.”

The City Attorneys are well aware that the fine Artists, “painters, photographers, sculptors and printers” have a Constitutional right to sell their artwork. Here is the 2:10 minute video that proves that:

But still, the City Commissioners continue to deprive us of more and more of our Constitutional Rights.

City Voters are taking note. We will rid the City of these “Old Guard” City Commissioners that protect the interests of the 1%, and we install new City Commissioners who will install a new City Manager, and a new City Attorney that will respect their Oath of Office, and uphold the Constitution, and the Amendments to the Constitution, of the United States of America.

Bruce Kevin Bates
St. Augustine, FL 32085

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