Banning Art & Music will not make downtown “safer”

by Becky Johnson

Sept 22, 2013
Santa Cruz, Ca. — Today we gather in protest. Today we gather
to use first amendment rights that will be seriously curtailed
in a little over a month under the pretense of “public safety.”
Next month, we will likely lose vast areas of public space
greatly limiting our right to speak, to set up a political table,
to circulate several petitions at once, our right to seek redress of government
grievances, and our right to peaceably assemble in the center of
our community.
 For years, the City of Santa Cruz, at the urging of the Downtown Association
and carried out by the Santa Cruz Police Department, has continuously violated
the rights of artists & musicians to display & sell their works of art in a public
space. A pushback was made right here on Pacific Ave. by recording artist
& street performer, Mike True, who challenged his citation for displaying
his CD’s for sale on Pacific Ave. in court. He won.
Later, his case & others recently won a further victory which unambiguously
asserts that artists, writers, and musicians can display their works of art in public
spaces without the need for any kind of permit.
As you know, all rights are subject to time, place, and manner restrictions if
the State, in this case the government of the City of Santa Cruz, can prove their
is an overwhelming public health or safety hazard that justifies it.
Make no mistake, the public safety “emergency” that is so horrible that
Councilmembers Cynthia Mathews and David Terrazas have ordered our
government to limit the rights & freedoms of the citizens of Santa Cruz
to exercise our first amendment rights, is to continue to prevent
artists & musicians & political tablers to exercise our LEGAL, PROTECTED
first amendment rights.
The “emergency” is that artists & musicians now have the LEGAL, PROTECTED
right to display their art or music. The HORROR!!!!
People, this is about greed and hate, nothing else. A phony “trip-fall” hazard
was presented to urge the banning of blankets, tarps & ARTISTs.
The ordinance which bans PEOPLE who are presenting art, performing music,
or political tables protects trash cans, fences, and statues!
Please stop this backlash against the color and character of our community.
Don’t make Santa Cruz the City known for “Sing a song, go to Jail”
“Show a painting, go to jail” or “smoke a cigarette go to jail.”
Protect your first amendment….by using it.
Our right to exhibit art or literature, with price tags
posted without the need to ask “permission” from police or other
government authorities.