Thursday, November 05, 2015

Oppose City's Tour Guide Regulatory Scheme: Longstanding First Amendment Violation

Speak out at November 9 and December 14, 2015 City Commission meetings.  Yes we can!

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin
Sent: Thu, Nov 5, 2015 1:28 pm
Subject: City's continuing First Amendment violations in unconstitutional tour guide regulatory scheme
Dear Messrs. Litzinger and Regan and Ms. Lopez and Ms. Breidenstein, et al.:
1. Our City's lack of any response, of any kind, to my November 1, 2015 e-mail (below) may operate as an adoptive admission and admission by silence that our tour guide ordinance is unconstitutional and unenforceable.  
2. Please ask Commissioners to consider repealing our City's tour guide ordinance at your earliest opportunity.
3. Kindly place a repeal ordinance on the agenda for your December 14, 2015 meeting, as a public hearing, with public comment.  
4. Otherwise, please be prepared to justify our City's unconstitutional regulatory scheme in federal court.
5.  Please help resolve this issue without the need for litigation.   Our CIty of St. Augustine has lost so many First Amendment cases -- a tribute to our Founders' genius in both the First Amendment and judicial independence enshrined in Article III of our Constitution, and also the direct and proximate result of the courage of so many of our Nation's Oldest City's citizens in standing up to oppression by their government for 51 years.
6. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his June 11, 1964 letter to Rabbi Israel "Sy" Dressner, St. Augustine is "the most lawless city in America."
7. Please cease and desist from all First Amendment violations, from this day forward.
8. Thank you in advance for your full cooperation.
Ed Slavin

-----Original Message-----
From: easlavin <>
Sent: Sun, Nov 1, 2015 10:08 am
Subject: Refund of unconstitutionally collected City of St. Augustine tour guide licensing and application fees, with interest

Dear Messrs. Litzinger and Regan and Ms. Lopez and Ms. Breidenstein, et al.:
1. Please refund my 2006 tour guide license application fee, and my 2006-2015 annual tour guide fees, with interest compounded daily. 
2. Our City's tour guide licensing scheme is an unconstitutional infringement of our First Amendment free speech rights.  See Mr. Robert Everett Johnson's column in today's St. Augustine Record.
3.  I am appalled at the response of our City Attorney, Ms. Isabelle Christine Lopez, to the concerns of Mr. Johnson and the Institute for Justice, misleading Record readers about the law and the facts including her false statements about the meaning of certiorari denial.  
4. This is not the first time that our City Attorney's office has breached its duty of care and scholarly research to our City and its residents.  On September 12, 2015, Commissioner Todd Neville demanded filing of a libel lawsuit at City expense, an illegal Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), incurring City staff time and resources that he has not refunded.  Commissioner Neville has never apologized, and Ms. Lopez did not immediately tell him that it was a private matter and outside her legal scope as attorney for the City.  Only reluctantly did Ms. Lopez prepare a written memorandum at my request.  Then Mr. Neville dropped his illegal. unconstitutional demand at the September 26, 2015 meeting, but never apologized, and has apparently not reimbursed the City treasury for his wasting City funds on his retaliation agenda against an online news service critical of his alleged conflicts of interest.  See, Commissioner's comments for September 12, 2015 and City Attorney report on September 26, 2015; F.S. 768.295.  
5.  Our City of St. Augustine was called "the most lawless city in America" by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Whether arresting civil rights activists, artists, musicians or denying GLBT people our equal rights to fly Rainbow flags on our historic Bridge of Lions, our City's First Amendment violations are a stench in the nostrils of our Nation and contrary to the genius of a free people.  Federal courts have repeatedly ruled against our City in First Amendment cases.
6.  There is ample precedent for full historic tour guide license fee refunds set by the City's reported refund of permit fees wrongfully paid by fine artists.
7.  Please notify all historic tour guides of their right to request refunds.
8.  Kindly provide me with your calculations before writing my refund check.  l will come by the City Manager's office to pick it up
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084

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