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Friday, May 09, 2014

ACLU sues Mpls, says All-Star Game “Clean Zone” is more restrictive than 2008 RNC

What in the Mitterwald is going on?!

The ACLU-MN is suing the city of Minneapolis, Mayor Betsy Hodges, and Police Chief Janeé Harteau for granting Major League Baseball’s request to create a potentially speech-limiting “Clean Zone” around Target Field during a two-week stretch surrounding this summer’s All-Star Game.

The lawsuit’s core argument is that Minneapolis officials have no grounds for essentially granting the MLB veto power over things such as banners, signs, block events, or parades. But an ordinance approved by the City Council in February does just that for a huge swath of the city (basically all of downtown and some surrounding areas) over an unreasonably lengthy period of time.

“All we’re saying is you can’t give away your permit process to a for-profit company,” ACLU-MN Executive Director Chuck Samuelson tells us. “It belongs in the hands of elected officials and they can’t give it away. This is a quintessential government role and the First Amendment doesn’t give private companies the power to decide who can assemble, where they can assemble, and what they can say.”

“That’s not an option that’s on the table, and for them to do it blindly and expect everyone is going to roll over is amazing,” he continues.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of James McGuire and Robert Kolstad, members of the One Day in July Street Festival Committee who plan to hold a public event a few days after the All-Star Game in commemoration of the 1934 Teamsters strike in which two strikers were killed by Minneapolis police.

Though the street festival will require at least three permits—one for a block event, another for amplified sound, and a third for short-term food—the lawsuit says McGuire and Kolstad haven’t applied for them because they “do not wish to subject their speech and expressive activities to Major League Baseball’s review and approval.”

In an ACLU statement, McGuire says, “It’s an insult to me, and to all Americans, that before exercising my First Amendment right to speak and assemble I must first get permission from a private company.”

Repoz Posted: May 09, 2014 at 01:31 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: aclu, all star game

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   1. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 09, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4703557)
Minneapolis agreeing to those restrictions is a disgrace.
   2. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 09, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4703578)
I'm in lockstep with you on this one, SBB.
   3. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 09, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4703598)
But an ordinance approved by the City Council in February does just that for a huge swath of the city (basically all of downtown and some surrounding areas) over an unreasonably lengthy period of time.
Holy crap. I get that MLB wants to make the game a big deal, but temporarily annexing all of downtown Minneapolis seems crazy extreme.

First the podcasts, now this. It's almost like this private company doesn't care about its customers. Who's ever heard of such a thing!
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 09, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4703614)
Bud Selig never should have attended that FIFA seminar on how to conquer the world through the fun and uselessness of sport.
   5. Craig Calcaterra Posted: May 09, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4703623)
Just today the Minneapolis city council amended it from giving MLB "approval" over assemblies, displays, etc. to merely requiring the city to "confer" with MLB on such things.

Also, these are apparently common provisions designed to protect sponsors. Like, Chevy has a huge tie-in with the ASG, they din't want Ford hanging a giant banner from a skyscraper during that weird Silverado parade they do.

Whether this makes it any better I have no idea, but that's the rationale.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4703625)
We should vomit at Twins games in protest.

Oh wait, their pitching already causes that.
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 09, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4703637)
Whether this makes it any better I have no idea, but that's the rationale.

It doesn't. It just means all it takes to quash free speech is a corporate sponsor, which is pretty icky.
   8. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: May 09, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4703656)
It just means all it takes to quash free speech is a corporate sponsor, which is pretty icky.

Confer instead of approval probably means nothing, true.

However, the rationale stated by Craig makes some sense. I don't really care about Ford's "free speech" rights for something like this because it's really just advertising vs. advertising and one side is paying. But of course, how could you write that into a contract? You could ask MLB specifically who they'd want to ban, I guess. Let's say they were worried about the NFL/NBA/NHL putting up signs for their All-Star game. So they put in a clause that says that the NFL/NBA/NHL can't get a permit for a banner or parade. Seems reasonable, although I admit that there may be a downside I'm not thinking of.

But what happens when Rockstar energy drink gets a permit for a banner and puts Rockstar in tiny letters at the top and "Come see the REAL All-Star game in City Hawaii" with an NFL logo on it? So I don't think that specific language will help things.

On the other hand, if you give MLB carte blanche like this, then when someone wants to protest instant replay, you've given MLB the power to shut it down. So that's a worse idea.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 09, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4703657)
ve have ways of stifling your troubling NOISE.

//rubs tip of rollie fingers type moustache
   10. TDF, situational idiot Posted: May 09, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4703724)
I don't really care about Ford's "free speech" rights for something like this because it's really just advertising vs. advertising and one side is paying.
Ah, but Citizens United. If a corporation is a "person" under the law, how can Ford's free speech rights be abridged?

   11. Walt Davis Posted: May 09, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4703732)
It's doubly egregious in that it's over a two-week period. WTF? AS game events are Mon and Tues and that's it.

Something similar was done for the rugby world cup in NZ. I don't know what the legal provisions/rationale were but only official sponsors of the RWC were allowed to advertise within a few blocks of each stadium. This was over the weeks that the RWC takes. This including changing the name of Westpac (a bank) Stadium in Wellington to just Wellington Stadium (I think it was) and hanging something over the big Westpac sign. I didn't go to any of the games but I imagine this was the case inside the stadium as well.

Unless they had been leased to a RWC sponsor, the nearby billboards were also draped over.

But then NZ is a country that was happy to re-write its labor laws in one night when the production company threatened to pull the Hobbit because they were required to pay actual union wages.

Anyway, sure, if I'm Chevy and I've paid millions for the sponsorship rights, I don't want Ford putting up a giant ad just across the street from the stadium. In that case, MLB can buy the surrounding billboard space.

As to free speech -- do you folks think it's still the 20th century or something? Get with the times. Speech is only free if you can afford to pay for it.
   12. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: May 09, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4703736)
If a corporation is a "person" under the law, how can Ford's free speech rights be abridged?

Yes, well a corporation being a person under the law might have its uses, but there's a point where it's too far. Also, I didn't say it wasn't legal, I said I didn't care.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: May 09, 2014 at 10:12 PM (#4703810)
Yes, well a corporation being a person under the law might have its uses, but there's a point where it's too far.

Could you hold a seminar for the Supreme Court on this topic? Thanks.
   14. bobm Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:05 PM (#4703839)
members of the One Day in July Street Festival Committee who plan to hold a public event a few days after the All-Star Game in commemoration of the 1934 Teamsters strike


Maybe MLB will make them commemorate NL starter Carl Hubbell striking out 5 AL all-star teamsters in order in the 1934 ASG (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin).
   15. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 09, 2014 at 11:38 PM (#4703872)
Chevy has a huge tie-in with the ASG, they din't want Ford hanging a giant banner from a skyscraper during that weird Silverado parade they do.

Tough luck for Chevy then. They can't just hire MLB and/or the city government to suppress competitors' expressive communications (assuming they were carried out in a manner that was otherwise lawful). The ordinance is obviously unconstitutional, assuming it's being accurately described - Minneapolis will embarrass itself if it tries to defend it.
   16. zack Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4704005)
Chevy has a huge tie-in with the ASG, they din't want Ford hanging a giant banner from a skyscraper during that weird Silverado parade they do.

They didn't pay for the entire city. If they want that, they should pay for it.

Something similar was done for the rugby world cup in NZ.


Look at the Olympics. If your Greek family has a 50 year old diner named the Olympic, you're covering every public facing mention of that for the entire summer.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4704022)
members of the One Day in July Street Festival Committee who plan to hold a public event a few days after the All-Star Game in commemoration of the 1934 Teamsters strike

Ah, memories!

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