City 's Response to Bates vs. St. Augustine

Excerpt from Response to plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction.Filed 3-19-2009
Case # 3:09-cv-205-J-34MCR

Special Counsel Michael Kahn

.....there will be evidence of physical intimidation whereby passers by who don't stop at a vendors stand are accosted and sworn at.
There will be evidence of crowds that gather uncontrollably and block pedestrians who are trying to negotiate traversing the Plaza and other sections of the historic district.
There will be evidence of vendor noise and unruliness that impedes tourists and citizens alike from enjoying and, in fact, ruins, the ambience of the Plazaand other historical sites in the quaint historic district of St. Augustine.
There will be evidence that vendors have been observed not cleaning their spaces and brought materials into the Plaza on carts driven across the grass, all derogating the environment.
There will be evidence of vendors abandoning merchandise and personal item (sic) in the Plaza and other places where they ply their trade in the historic district.
There will be evidence of observation of piles of cardboard boxes and trash being left in innappropriate places in the historic distric by the vendors.
There will be evidence that so called vendors have caused disturbances such as battery, threats, arguments and vandalism in the Plaza and other places in the historic districts of St. Augustine.
Rather than a putative history of St. Augustine trying to supress free speech as alleged in the Plaintiff's complaint, thois Court will hear evidence of so called vendors (and street performers) hiding behind the venerated first amendment in order to disrupt law abiding peace loving citizens and tourists who come to visit or live in St. Augustine.

This argument worked for Michael Kahn when he represented the City in the past. He will trot out paid city employees to verify the above "facts".
The true facts are this merchandise vendors have been banned from the historic district for over two years. The "evidence that is referenced to goes back 2 to 10 years prior and NONE of the evidence of criminality and unruliness involved a visual artist. Merchandise vendors and street performers does not have automatic conferral of Full First Amendment Rights. Painters, sculptors, printers and photographers do.