Friday, August 24, 2007

Aug 26 - Christmas In August - Running Afoul of the Law

Whoa!

Agent Shannou had her peepers peeled, and found a mention of our next event on BoingBoing... They reference the write up that Scott Beale of Laughing Squid did on our next event. Specifically, there's a comment that surprises me:
I noticed that on Sunday, you’re encouraging folks to go to the Powell Street BART Station to take part in a Christmas in August event this Sunday at 2:30pm. Sounds fun!
There’s one problem though and that is you could face an embarrasing run-in with the BART Police. The reason is that you don’t have a Free Speech Permit, which my department issues. The good news is you can easily get one, and they’re free. The bad news is it’s too late to get one by August 26 because you need to submit your application no less than 7 days in advance. Here’s how you get an application: www.bart.gov/freespeech/.


D'oh!

Well, we'll see what happens... As of right now, the event is still on!

Agent TheBeast

(Image found on Google, and borrowed from: http://www.nobodyforpresident.org/tour.html)

2 comments:

Nick Douglas said...

The BART representative has left a fuller explanation here: http://laughingsquid.com/sfshenanigans-host-christmas-in-august-on-bart/#comment-272743

The rep explains the Constitutional and Supreme Court precedents that lead to this sticky situation. He's friendly enough that I can't imagine him ordering a beatdown, but he could always have cops ready to politely direct people off the platform, since he knows just when folks will show up. Rights or no rights, any violent opposition would be counter to the whole idea of the caroling. Since this isn't a political group, it might make sense to perform above-ground where there'll be less opposition.

It's rankling to think of requiring a "free speech pass," but this seems like a battle for another day, not like a distraction meant for a happy-go-lucky group like SFShenanigans.

That said, if the event's still held on the platform despite the BART rep's wishes, I'm still attending.

Agent TheBeast said...

FYI, we are still planning on doing this event.

*IF* the cops do stop us, we will quickly re-locate above ground, or to some other spot.

*PLEASE* if you are approached by a police officer, please cooperate with them!

We've had some cool support from the SFPD in past events, and besides, they aren't the ones making the screwy laws, they just have the crappy job of enforcing them...

Thanks for all your support!

- Agent TheBeast